Saturday, January 23, 2010

Attitude of Gratitude

I asked for help this past week from church and other resources. It took me a while to do it; I actually felt a bit guilty for doing it since I had already received so much help with dinners and emotional support when Olivia came home. I know there are other women in our local community (Parris Island and Tidal Creek) that have some big needs also, and I didn't want to be greedy.

My mom was going to come out at the beginning of January again for 2 months to help with Olivia's therapies, give me a break, and just generally provide moral support. But a funny thing happened on the way to South Carolina - my very dear brother in law had a serious sledding accident during a visit to Kansas City. They have a grand total of 10 kids; one of whom was due only 3 days after Olivia was due and is cute as a button. So my parents are down in Texas helping out for a while as my BIL was in the hospital in KC.

The hardest part is not the individual tasks; it's the constant repetition of it all. I'm motivated by the army of therapists who show up at my house 6 days a week and who individually tell me they see a difference and an improvement from their previous visit a week earlier. I know that early intervention is the key and all this hard work will pay off for my little girl's future success at being able to walk, talk and move like everyone else. But it can be exhausting to be "on" all the time. Sometimes the simple mommy things fall by the wayside (singing, relaxing, playing, reading stories, cooing) because I can't muster one. more. smiley. face. after pumping my own milk, doing her therapies, trying to feed her, hooking her gtube up to the machine, and keeping her upright while she's on the enteral pump. I hold her and fall asleep. I know that those playtimes are equally as important therapies as all the physical and motor therapies, but by the time I get the "time" for them, I'm out of emotion. Then Amelia comes home from school (Thank goodness for Montessori and Miss Isabel who takes her!) and she needs just as much interactive play with Mommy after being away all day.

It's difficult to ask for help partly because of the restrictions - we can't have other children over to our house to play until RSV season is officially over (she gets shots every month), I can't send Amelia to any house that has had anyone sick in it for the past 7 days (and which mom of a preschooler doesn't have a sick kid! That's what they do!), and anyone who wants to hold Olivia needs to have had their flu shots, including swine flu; wear clean clothing (as in a fresh shirt if they have been around a crowd of people), not be a smoker and wash/sanitize your hands before holding her. It just seems like an onerous list of do's and don'ts.

As a mom and a wife, one of my most important goals is to have my home be a peaceful sanctuary for my family. In the midst of all this, it becomes an even more important goal; almost a need. While I can do the individual tasks, I can't do them all well or all the time and still have my family thrive. I know this is only for a season, and if I have the resources available to us to reach that goal, then I am going to accept any help that comes my way.

So this week I am SO very grateful for any words of encouragement, dinners dropped by, and offers to hold and play with Olivia or Amelia. They are and will be appreciated more than you can know. If you have dropped by food and are still missing a dish, I promise I have it but haven't had a chance to get it back yet. And I have only been able to send out about half the thank you cards for the meals or help we've had in the past. But please know that if you are one of those people who has volunteered your time, energy, prayers or support that I am extremely grateful. If you know us and wish to help, please contact Leslie from Tidal Creek Fellowship. Their office number is available online (not sure I should post it on a blog); or you can contact me directly via this blog or my personal email.


Christina Kebry said...

Laurie- It will get easier I promise. Each day is a new one and a brighter day. Reading your list of do's and don'ts about Olivia is so true. A year leater we are still doing it with Jerome since he was the sicker of the two. Early intervention is the key and I wish we had it sooner for him. Just know that I am only a phone call/email away if you need anything.

Paul said...

I think many people have been in your same shoes - thinking about it, but unable to muster the courage, or the humility, to ask for help. I've always thought the reason for this was the lack of direct "quid pro quo". You may never meet another person in your exact situation, and you're reluctant to ask for their help if you can't help them right back and make the tables even.

That doesn't stop them from genuinely wanting to help. Think of it from your perspective. What would you do in a similar situation? You'd be cooking meals, babysitting, whatever you could do to ease somebody else's burden. And you'd be happy to do it. In general, people WANT to help people when they can. If they don't need a return favor from you, the odds are, they're going to need it from someone, someday.

You're in a tough spot. You may very well be "Superwoman", but you can't maintain that for long until you flame out. But this isn't all about you. Take advantage of what you can, when you can and don't worry about giving it back. You'll give it back in spades when you can sometime down the road. Anyone who knows you and Rafe knows this.

Oh yeah, and "camera" - find one, or learn how to use it... :)

Paul said...

I agree with Paul. I have always believed it takes a village to raise a kid. A kid with average needs. Olivia has a lot of special needs right now in addition to her average needs. And Amelia's. Not to mention you have a house to run. And you have your own basic needs (sleep being one of those). You need help and I'm glad you're asking for it! - Mandy (sorry I'm signed in as Paul)

Cori said...

Asking for help is hard....really hard. Even though Kira is 6 years old, I'm still not good about asking for help but it's amazing the relief that comes over me when I DO ask!

One thing is for sure...people WANT to help but often don't know what to do or how to help. It's hard but I'm willing to bet that once the help is there, you'll feel a HUGE wave of relief!

Hang in there and know that you're doing everything you can for you family and even the best, most organized, on-top-of-everything Mommy needs help once in awhile!!