26 May 2017

The calm after the storm

Finally, our family's "chaos knob" has been turned waaaaay down. Quiet. Calm. Predictable. That's the way I would describe our family's life right now.

Most children like predictability.  My kids seem to love it more than most.  They prefer doing the same thing over and over again.  Not changing the schedule.  Fewest interruptions as possible.

It drives me insane.  But there's no doubt that my kids prefer the chaos knob on low because CF typically keeps the chaos knob turned up high.

Thank goodness that after months and months of wrestling with the knob, we were finally able to gain control again and turn the volume down.

Bennett is doing remarkably well right now.  He has had no issues with his bowels since his colostomy reversal.  He reports his tummy feels good and he is having no pain.  Frequent use of the bathroom is no longer a problem.  And he's gaining weight.  Personally, I think he's looking healthier than I've seen him in a really long time!

One of the ways our family gained control of the chaos knob was getting Bennett the right care with the right team at the right time.

One of the other ways we have worked to gain volume control over our lives is that Brian and I have decided to make significant life changes in benefit of the health of our family.

Since Brian's job requires him to be away from our family and Bennett's health demands constant vigilance, I have chosen to scale back significantly on things that don't directly involve caring for the kids.  This has been a personal challenge for me as I tend to be pretty ambitious. It's hard when my heart wants to do so much but my circumstances dictate the time is not now.

This year, Brian and I found our relationship stressed to a place we never have before.  The children's needs, both health-wise and educationally, have required of us more than we were prepared for.  But, the process of finding balance has taught us the value of perseverance and commitment and have asked us to tease out those things that are life-giving from those things that take more than they can give.

We recently went on a vacation as a little family.  I'll share those pictures in an upcoming blog.  But I can share that taking a break from life was a tremendous blessing to us all.

We've decided to withdraw the boys from school for next year and homeschool them (Avonlea will continue preschool at her school as planned).  This is a bit of an extension that was already happening with Bennett this year.  But, it feels a bit more rogue than I like.  I love my boys.  I love teaching my boys.  I also love sending my boys to school. :)  But, in our process of wanting more peace for our family, we realized we need to get a better handle on their dyslexia needs.

The idea of homeschooling my children feels a bit like moving to a farm.  There is something so joyful about wide open green space.  No more hustling and bustling, meeting other's demands, worrying you're not measuring up.  Instead, there's an embracing of the quiet, slow experience of just being you and meeting the needs of your own.

But going off the grid, as exciting as it is, still feels a bit terrifying.  Will the quiet become too quiet? At the end of the day, will I miss the big city noises?

Thankfully, God has been really present in this decision for our family. Waco has a lot of homeschool co-ops made up of people who homeschool for a variety of reasons.  I have a Masters in Elementary Education so I feel confident to teach them.  Neighborhood children who we didn't know existed several months ago have turned up next door and down the street.

The best part is we will have so much more time to care for Bennett and do the things we want to get done.  Instead of having to keep up, we'll get to slow down.

Even though they acknowledge they will very much miss their friends, both boys are very excited about this decision, which was half theirs to make.  Bennett described it to his friend who was sad he wouldn't be back next year: "but now, we'll get to have double the playdates!"

More changes may be in store for our family as we continue our campaign to bring peace and balance to our home.  But, right now, the chaos volume is low once more.  The calm after the storm.

The winds are gone.  Rain has stopped pouring.  Things are still wet but rebuilding has already begun.  We still feel a bit shaken up but we've never been so thankful for peace.  God is near.  There's a rainbow in the distance.

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