16 May 2011

Our first day at the Feeding Clinic

I had that feeling once today.  The feeling of your past and projected future being flashed through your brain.  "What am I doing here??" I thought for a split second.  "Am I seriously admitting my special needs child into a four week hospital stay while my family stays at the Ronald McDonald House?  Is this really my life?"  It's a sorta odd but normal feeling to be a parent of a special  needs child.  All my life was considered "normal" and now my "normal" is not actually very normal.  I imagine this might be what someone who was seriously injured in a car accident might feel - waking up one morning with everything being very normal and waking up the next morning when nothing is normal.

But those feelings left me quickly as I stepped back in my now familiar role as Bennett's mother and advocate.  I'm here to see him through this program.  I am here to care for him while he's in the hospital.  Nothing new to report.

I stopped myself from getting nervous or excited.  There is nothing exciting or worth getting nervous over.  I realized from the beginning that this hospital stay might offer some really sweet surprises while also offering some depressing moments.  This has been my previous experience in the hospital with Bennett. It can be interesting and fun at times.  But it can also be terribly lonely.

I read a book recently called, "One Thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp.  It's an excellent book by a very poetic writer.  I requested a copy to review for free after hearing much buzz about how great the book is.  But I would have bought it.  It's one I'll keep.

My favorite thing about the book, outside of Ann Voskamp's honesty, is her description of the dare she was given to come up with one thousand things she was thankful for.  One thousand thank-yous to God for goodness he gives. 

Voskamp writes, "Thanksgiving is the evidence of our acceptance of whatever He gives.  Thanksgiving is the manifestation of our Yes! to His grace...I learn how to be grateful and happy, whether hands full or hands empty."

I want this too.  I want to be able to be grateful and happy, whether hands full or hands empty.  Voskamp explains "practice is the hardest part of learning, and training is the essence of transformation" as she inspires readers to do what she did.

So, after reading her book, I wondered how I too could start my own list of things I am thankful for.  I held this idea in my back pocket and have sat on it for a while.  But last week I decided, the Feeding Clinic is the best place to begin my counting my own blessings, one by one.

And so, today, after our first day at the Feeding Clinic and as the boys turned into their second night at the Ronald McDonald House, I am ready to write my reasons to be thankful. 

I doubt I'll make it to 1000 in thirty days.  But I'm not trying to write a book so what number I land on doesn't really matter.  The point is that I want to learn to be thankful, even in the moments when I find giving thanks difficult.

1.) I am thankful for the beautiful refuge the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas offers us.

2.) I am thankful for having an end room down the hall (with no occupant across the hall) at the Feeding Clinic.  It feels like living in a cul-de-sac where the boys can play in the hall and they don't bother anybody.

 3.) I am thankful for Target.  Our room, as pictures will show, is less than inviting.  It's cluttered with furniture, surrounded by soft beige walls and hard tiled floors.  Target offered wrapping paper to cover our bulletin boards, a darling mat to cover the floor space (so all of us could play on the floor) and an-ever-so fun whimsical triangle hanging banner.

 4.) I am thankful for no-flame candles, which offer the space a bit of calm, and gifts from a friend who knew I needed to decorate this place.

 5.) I am thankful for diet cokes.  Diet cokes always seem to make me feel better.

6.) I am thankful for our hospital room view, the only one over the darling (albeit small) outside courtyard.

7.) I am thankful for a sweet volunteer who randomly offered to run to Jimmy Johns to pick us up dinner, after she could tell how disappointed we were that they didn't deliver to the Feeding Clinic.

8.) I am thankful for the table near our room that allows us to eat one-by-one nearby since none of us can eat in front of Bennett (too tempting for him and cruel since he can eat only during his "feeding sessions.")

9.) I am thankful for the public computer that sits at a desk right outside our hospital room (which no one uses), especially since the hospital's Internet isn't connecting correctly on my laptop which, when I found out, almost sent me into tears as I knew I would not be able to blog (pour my guts onto my keyboard) and answer emails.  Thankfully this computer, at the end of our hospital floor "cul-de-sac" works just perfectly!

10.) I am thankful for my husband who patiently balances all of our needs, serving us tirelessly through changing diapers, playing cars, running errands and listening to my fears, hopes and dreams.

I have alot to be disappointed about when it comes to the Feeding Clinic.  It looks like I'm going to be in a cast and on crutches come Friday.  The playroom here is hardly much for the kids.  The playground here is also left to be desired.  And we don't know our way around this area which means we're forever driving around one way streets trying to find our way.  But I refuse to let these things bother me (at least not that much).  I want to be so focused on what is going well and what God has given, I am less tempted to ask God for what he has not given.

"One act of thanksgiving, when things go wrong with us, is worth a thousand thanks when things are agreeable to our inclinations," writes Voskamp.  This is my desire.  To thank God even when things go wrong...because my God is a God of good things.  It's just that sometimes I'm too upset to even notice the good things he's placed around me.

My time at the Feeding Clinic will be my time to stop and focus on those things.  The good things around me all the time.


  1. Awesome Breck, just you sweet friend and so glad for all the little comforts and blessings of your room's location and the computer and table encouraged by your resolve to keep your eyes on the good things...may God bless you each day as you do!

    Carol :)

  2. I'm thankful for knowing you and having the ability to be with you along the way of this experience. Please know I am quietly behind you, offering you cyber hugs and love and I've asked my my web friends to send you love as well. You are an awesome mommy.

  3. Wow. love this post. You are amazing to look at all the great things around you. It will help you and Bennett get through this time. We are cheering for all of you!

  4. Loved reading your heart here, Breck. Thanks for updating us all and for your insight and ever true reminders. xo


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