A day of calm, mixed with kid chaos…

Today was a full and busy day…at least for me. With two little kids, there is no stopping to reflect on all that is happening. They have me up and going through our morning routine before my brain even has a chance to realize I need to brew some coffee…

Allison and Asher have been the absolute high points for us in the past week. Kids don’t stop. They don’t stop moving, playing, thinking, smiling, or (at times) tantruming. Waking up each morning to Allison’s sunny smile as she says, “Mommy! I just woke up!” and Asher, who wakes up on full throttle and ready to ENGAGE WITH LIFE, have really kept our days feeling somewhat normal.

People ask me how are the kids doing… Do they know? How much have we told them?

We’ve pretty much included them on the journey as much as we can. Asher is almost 3, and to him, it just means that Daddy’s not up to playing much. He knows he’s been spending a lot more time with Bitsy (my mom) and at preschool than normal. He’s missing us and being home quite a bit, and is acting every bit his age these days. I remember when Allison was his age, she went through a particularly tough time of testing limits, throwing tantrums to see what effect they have (not much!); and trying to be the boss of things. We’re experiencing this once again with Mr. Asher. For him, it makes perfect sense that a 3 year old should rule the household…

Allison is 5, but often has the comments and observations of someone much older than that. On the way to Fresno last week for Asher’s appointment with the pediatrician, I realized that the kids were hearing conversations between Rich and I, and between us and our friends. Before someone else pieced it all together for them, I wanted to tell them about Rich’s diagnosis…that it is serious, but we can trust that God is watching over us.

So, I said, “You know what guys? They have a name for daddy’s sickness now. You know what it is?”

“What?” Allison was instantly intrigued.

“It’s called cancer,” I said.

“Cancer?” She paused…”I hope Daddy doesn’t die.” She knows that Rich’s dad died of cancer before she was born.

“Yes, honey. Me, too.” I said. “But you know what God reminded us of the other day? That he loves us. And he knows how many days you and me and Asher and Daddy are going to live on this earth. And I hope it’s a long, long time. But however long we live, God has a plan for all of us. He loves you and Asher and me and Daddy even more than we love each other. Can you believe that? And He has a plan for each of us, and He promises to take care of us no matter what, if we stay close to Him.”

We’ve been having a lot of conversations like that…and Allison has been saying lots of prayers for Daddy. It’s certainly not the only topic of conversation, but it is definitely on her mind. I heard her go up to another child at preschool and randomly say, “My daddy has cancer!” as if she were telling about a lizard she caught on the porch last night…it sort of makes your heart sink…but then…God is working in her, too. We’ve seen her faith grow. We’ve seen God working in her heart, and giving her peace where there could be so much fear. The same faith Rich and I are experiencing seems to be duplicated in her heart…and that’s a wonderful thing to see.

Both kids have been interested in reading their Children’s Bibles more…asking questions…trying to distill this idea of heaven and earth and God into something tangible. Tangible like a hug, or a kiss, or the strong smell of lupine that wafts into our home each afternoon. But God is so much bigger than that. You can study and discuss, and theorize and pontificate…but at a certain point,  it comes down to trusting God, and having faith…that’s why it’s called faith. And we are called to have faith like a child… Looking at my kids, and their understanding of all that is happening is an encouragement to my own faith. And fuel for my days.

Today was spent taking care Rich, who is doing really well. He’s a great patient, and very cheery and thankful for the assistance…which makes it much easier to want to help him! He says his incision feels less painful than yesterday, though he’s been taking the maximum dosage of Vicodin. Between the tumor in his back, and the incision, it can be hard to get comfortable. He’s taking it in stride. I am so amazed by him…by his attitude, by his faith, by his acceptance of all that is happening to his body.

Today was also spent taking care of the kids, who I’ve been missing. It was a treat to wake up, and stay in our jammies for awhile.

To keep the house quiet, I ran some errands (with my cell phone anchored to me, in case Rich needed me). We went to a children’s fair at the local park, where they had fire engines they could sit in (big news when you’re a 3 year old boy)! We went out to lunch with a friend. I mowed the lawn and weedwacked a bit, which sounds crazy at a time like this, but I actually find yardwork to be therapeutic…I made dinner…did dishes…did about a million loads of laundry…and our house almost feels back to normal. It almost feels like we’ve been here all week. It almost feels like life is routine…but then I see Rich on the couch, who needs water, or an ice pack…and I realize that it’s not normal at all. These days of calm are so welcome, when we are in the biggest storm we’ve yet to encounter. Thank you so much for your prayers, your love, and your support. We need them, and we are certainly feeling them.

Love, Susan

PS – Asher is cutting a tooth in his palate, which is common in babies who were born with cleft palate…it’s right behind another tooth, near where his cleft was. It is very painful for him, and he woke up last night inconsolable until I dosed him with Tylenol, then bribed him with a half hour of Blues Clues at 1:30AM. Pray that the tooth would stop bothering our little guy!!!

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