Sunday, February 18, 2018

State of My Mind

It's all over the place.

My mother's health.

My health is ..not improving. I had a torrid time recently that forced me to a doctor when my back pain would not allow me to sleep at night. He agreed that my pain would be caused by degenerated disc height and my scoliosis. But then had a different trigger to the pain this time, or different area to what the other doctor had said a couple of years ago. And he also said that if it does not work, I need to go for more x-rays to see what the damage is NOW seeing as we're basing all of this on x-rays taken in 2011.

And now, hip bursitis has joined the attack on my body.

I have not slept since 2am thanks to it, worry over Ammy and IBS.

. The best way to get over bursitis pain is to do nothing until it's over. I can't do NOTHING! The house will fall apart, and I love exercising. So next step..taking Ammy to doctor, confirm it's nothing serious that she's dealing with, then take myself to the doctor yet again.

2018 is not looking any better than any previous year. So much for restoration, renewal, joy, good news etc that I'd hoped for!

Pain causes fatigue. Mental and physical. I've suffered painful chronic conditions for 31 years now. I'm always faking strength. Faking smiles. Mainly because people can't help. And they find the wrong things to say unless I'm talking to a fellow sufferer.

That is the state of my mind.

Tired, sad that the suffering only gets worse. Needing space and time to just be on my own, resting. Tired.

But still a prisoner of hope. That will never change.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Roadtrip with SPD

Yes, our boy has made progress. But he's still very obviously dealing with SPD. New places are discomfiting. New people..depends. New situations..depends.

Add thunder, and you have a problem!



We didn't have space for his cot on our ten day travels, so he had to deal with new homes (Plettenberg Bay, on a rural farm outside Humansdorp, and in Jongensfontein) with new layouts, new furniture, a towel that took the place of his 'blankie,' an overcast sky which already sets him on edge. And as soon as we arrived..thunder. Lots and lots of thunder. It was all going to be too much for tiny two year old with SPD, so he clung to me, asking me to pick him up. And when we had to leave them to go buy supper in the pouring rain,thunder and lightning, he was inconsolable.

That was two Sundays ago. Today is Wednesday, and yesterday when he noticed the overcast sky he came to me saying, "Dunder. Boom. Boom. Don't be scared. Don't be scared." While heartbreaking that he gets so scared, it is a wonder and a joy that he is able to verbalise not only his current situation and requests, "Pease pick me up," but that he can recall something that scared him in the past.

So, we had a very dysregulated boy. Drooling increased. Eating became more difficult as he just could not swallow anything that was not dry and/or crispy with gusto. He wasn't crying. He wasn't spitting it out. He just wasn't swallowing unless you added something like corn puffs then he'd chew those and swallow everything in his mouth. The rest, just stayed in there.

It feels weird. I always knew he struggled with textures, but seeing it and thinking of all the other bloggers who talk about their SPD kids struggling with certain textures makes it more real. My son has SPD. And though we've gone through as much therapy as he can handle right now, he will need more as he grows older and is able to understand more. (I know for sure he'll need help with spatial awareness. He's just not aware, and runs or jumps into the edges of counters or walls with an almighty bang and wail of pain.)

Anyway. So, we travelled. He was quiet on the road. Didn't sleep unless you begged him to. He was dysregulated but was able to sleep at night. He went on a roadtrip with SPD and survived. He was much better than he used to be, and he greeted people and made eye contact with them. He survived his first ever road trip.

Next week-aeroplane. *gulp*

Monday, January 15, 2018

Your Presence Matters

Job's friends were so grieved that they had no words. For a week, they sat there, with Job in his pain. Their presence was so welcome, their grief palpable. They came together. He was so important that they took the time to go and see their suffering friend.



And then they spoke.

And by their speech, they increased his suffering a hundredfold.

Words have power. And sometimes though we plan for them to heal, we are but making the wound deeper.

Sometimes it's our presence that matters more than our words. Advice does not heal, it only solves a problem. Advice does not comfort. Presence does, even if that presence is silent.

Sometimes we can be blessed enough to know what kind of silence is necessary. I was not wise, not mature, just a 19 year old. But when I went to visit my friend upon hearing her mother had died, somehow God whispered to me what she needed. Not what I felt she needed in that moment, but what she needed.

My presence. Silence regarding the grief. Just presence.

And later she told me, "I am so grateful you did not come in crying and making me cry too. People had come and gone the whole day and I was tired of their tears. Yet you came and treated me like you normally do. And it was a breath of fresh air. The grief was too heavy for me to bear. Thank you for knowing what to do."

I hadn't known. The whole way there my heart was burdened, heavy and I honestly had no clue how to act, what to say. But God sometimes takes our stupidity and adds His wisdom to make something beautiful out of a horrendous time.

As I think of the hug I received from a sister after many losses in 2009, and how its impact remained with me more than the words that were spoken in that time of grief, I remain convinced. Sometimes our presence -perhaps accompanied by a plain, "I"m sorry for your loss"- is everything someone needs to actually FEEL comforted. The honesty and vulnerability in saying, "I don't know what to say. Please may I hug you?" go a long way in confirming that indeed, one is suffering raw pain. Pain that renders one speechless.

We need to sit with someone in their suffering, as uncomfortable as that is. It's easy to tell someone what to do. It makes the speaker feel better. But it's time we made the grieving one feel better. Our discomfort is nothing compared to the situation they are facing.

May we desire to be present even when we fear that our presence is inadequate. God can cover our weaknesses and fill each moment with grace.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Ha!

Last week I was put to sleep in order to have a quick surgical procedure. I woke up after they'd moved me from theatre...

Or so I thought.

My specialist, who is much older than me walks in and tells me, "You know! When you woke up you said to me, 'I'm very disappointed in you! You woke me up too early! I was having a nice dream!'"

He he he. I guess it could have been worse. But ja, I've never told anyone except my children that I was disappointed in them. To tell a grey-haired doctor that was crazy.

There.

Just a slice of randomness.

His response was that it wasn't his fault, it was the anesthetist who woke me too early. 😀

Friday, January 12, 2018

I Am South African

I have written extensively in the past about how I always viewed myself as purely a Sabbath-keeping Christian. If any extra labels were to be added, it would 'mother, mother of four, adoptive mother..." My role of daily and hourly mothering was my label, my title.

But besides the 'small' things that have happened since becoming conscious of how apartheid didn't mean people's mindsets suddenly changed, it was 2014-2016 that showed me that my chosen identity didn't matter to certain people, only my colour.

From then on, I became Black. Not because they saw my colour and hated me for it, but because the only way I could recover from the wounds inflicted was to love my blackness. It would have become too easy to curse it. I've heard enough of us lamenting, "It's so hard being Black" when they get passed over for promotions despite people in the workplace vouching for them being better candidates than the pale folk that got chosen. Better workers, and more qualified. We say it when stats reveal that even in the corporate space and the business world, Black people earn less than White people while performing the exact same job. It's just how it is. You are disadvantaged if you're black. They complained about BEE but look at most board rooms, look at the people at the executive level and only one colour (especially in the Western Cape) dominates yet they don't even comprise 10% of the population.

Point being, being Black actually has an impact on my life, and the life of others. I cannot pretend not to be Black when it has an impact on my life.

Mine is an impact resulting in visceral fear. Fear from age 11 when government schools were opened up for Black children to also attend them. I was terrified that the angry White people who did not want 'us' at their schools would kill me. I walked to the Mowbray bus station from Rondebosch terrified that a gun would be aimed at me. I walked where there were cars parked on the pavement so I could duck down should I be attacked.

We've always heard of what happens to black farm workers on too many farms. Mark Scott-Crossley just happened to be caught. It feels physically unsafe at some points, being Black. And the adrenaline that courses through the body at verbal racial attacks cannot be described. You feel the hatred, the anger, the venom, the way they deem you to be sub-human.You feel dirty.. It's hard being Black in a 'White' world like the Western Cape. Long time readers know our trials and travails house-hunting. You cannot ignore race when your race means people think you aren't worthy to live next to them or in their homes.

I'd decided I'd not comment on race stories. There are so many that it becomes tiring. And who wants to dwell on how they're hated? But the Mthunzi Sibuyi thing has rocked me mainly because IF THE ACCOUNTS ARE TRUE-all he was doing was having fun with people of all races. He is in ICU because he dared to look beyond race and see the humans within, and some guy didn't like that. Fear. How many others are out there, wishing they could also knock me to the ground and cause brain injuries? How many are there who I really did need to avoid like I used to in Moorreesburg when I'd walk far away from the road in case someone felt like driving off and smashing into me as has happened to others?

Fear of what those who hate me are capable of doing to me even when I'm minding my own business.

And so I want to share something that was posted on a friend's blog HERE. He asked some of us to write a "Dear South Africa" letter. Needless to say, being loved is what came to mind. In it, I beg for us to be loved. Not hated, not villified, not negatively stereotyped. Just loved.

And PS, before someone starts to tell me not to fear. Growing up with police casspirs and tear gas and huge guns and news reports and current racist crimes means you have no choice but to be vigilant. They may hate me only with their words and attitudes and behaviour today, but I do not know that tomorrow they won't come at me physically. It's just the way it is. Do I live every day fearing people? No. But it's like when there were lots of Blacks being killed by police in the USA. My friends' children, their husbands, sons..were scared. Just like jhijackings and car accidents can happen. I do not fear per se. But I do stay vigilant. And that is sad and wrong. Just like all crime is sad. And wrong.

May our Sabbath be filled with love. We are fearfully and wonderfully made. All of us. All loved by God. May we love each other as He loves us.

Friday, January 5, 2018

The Appointments Begin..Soon

Each pair costs R3800. My boy has already outgrown the first pair. He's two years old, he's going to wear orthotics till he's 5 at least. Growth is always good. But not when it comes at such a high price! His toes are over the front edge so it's time. We were meant to go on the 16th but I received an email today asking us to move it to the 25th. I don't know that we can wait that long without causing him discomfort. Maybe he'll take a break from them till then? Hopefully it won't set all the progress back. I did ask if there was no sooner date available, will see.

But that will be it. Just appointments for feet. Measuring and casting, then the fitting and finally the collectiony, though the first time it was perfect so we took them on the day of the fitting. Good thing we don't live far away from the city!

That's where we are today. In 22 days' time we'll be recalling the day he joined the family two years ago. Time flies! He's such an integral part of the family and my older children STILL beg us to adopt again, they just love having little ones around. Diaper changes included :-) It really warms my heart. I pray they'll always deeply love their siblings and never harbour any resentment. I also pray that the adopted ones will be 'ok.' There's a lady I know who has two children, and then took on her niece and is basically raising her as one of her own. A couple of years ago she had to chastise her for something, and the girl felt as if she was being singled out more than the others. And so the question came, "Is she treating me like this because I'm not biologically hers? Why is she nicer to the others and not to me?" The teen years are tumultuous, I'm bracing myself for such feelings, if not already coming in the primary years.

As for Amarissa, there was a time she asked for her adoption story every night. Now it's all distant and unimportant. For now. Who knows what the future will hold for her and how interested she'll be in her full story? Let's hope she'll get everything she needs to thrive.


Sunday, December 31, 2017

Goodbye!

                                       

I am grateful for life.
For progress.
For full tummies and happy smiles.
I look forward to more of that in 2018.

Peace, contentment and sweet moments to you for the coming year.