Manna for the Moment

Luke has been back in school for about a week now.

Experts claim that special needs caretakers often experience PTSD, and I particularly notice this tendency when I don’t have him on my radar for an extended period of time.

Every 30 minutes or so, I ignore the sounds around me – the whir of the washing machine, the chattering of my four year old, the constant buzz of lawnmowers outside – I ignore the background noise and selectively pinpoint my hearing to the basement – listening intently for Luke – listening for either a scream of “ALL DONE!” or, lately “WIGGLES!” which really just means I don’t like what I’m doing or watching so please offer 500 additional options, and then I’ll agree to one of them by telling you – “BYE! BYE!” Or I wander aimlessly to my bedroom where I check the 24/7 surveillance monitor, but there are no screams and the image on the screen is empty.

And every couple of hours I find myself in the basement, lost, having forgotten what I came for, but my body can’t forget the summer routine, and I breathe deeply – quickly checking for any indication that there may be a diaper to change but there isn’t. There are only the remains of Luke’s favorites: his iPad – in need of charging before he arrives home and numerous sippy cups scattered about that need cleaning – the only cups he will drink from.

And like clock work, morning, noon, and night I ask myself “What am I going to feed Luke today, and do we have those ingredients?” Due to sensory issues, I often prepare his meals separately, and due to my desire for him to eat healthy food, I will go the extra mile to hide the zucchini and green beans.

This is the process of PTSD for caretakers – always being on, always having our senses at high alert; always being at the beckon call of another. It is a refining process like no other; a constant laying down of our life and our desires for someone who is unable to care for themselves. It is a holy calling; it is an exhaustive undertaking. It takes patience and self care and sometimes righteous anger and unrelenting faith – faith in meaning beyond ourselves for that’s why we do it, right? Why we rise to the calling and fulfill the mundane and monotonous tasks day in and day out.

And somehow, gloriously – miraculously really – as the sun appears, or maybe it doesn’t some days, we are greeted yet again with the gift of time which will bring fresh grace and new mercies served alongside lots of lukewarm coffee as we hurriedly offer a familiar prayer – “Give us this day, our daily bread” – like fresh manna from Heaven – manna for the moment – and that is enough. It has to be enough.

Just keep livin.

Blessed Are the Meek

August is here – a month drenched in significance and redemption.

A month when Luke was born

And Jason died.

And three of my children said good bye to a mother.

Luke, who was declared terminal at 20 weeks in utero. Luke, who was never supposed to see the light of day & yet defied every odd when he came screaming into this world on August 12, 2004.

Jason, my late husband, a personal trainer and tennis pro- took his last breath on August 24, 2010 & entered the most beautiful light of day when he won his eternal race and accepted the crown of life.

Tate, Mya, and Jada – four days later, August 28, 2010, mourned the loss of their mother – a deep ache that no child should ever have to bear.

Three stories.

Each one intertwined to form a bigger story.

The eternal symbolism is never lost on me.

His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

A strong father who fought for three years – gone.

A young mother full of life and four months later – gone.

A little boy, the meekest of the meek, declared dead and 15 years later, living and thriving and spreading the message of hope with every step he takes.

His ways are never our ways.

“For I am God and you are not” thus sayeth the Lord of Hosts.

Blessed are the meek
And the weak
And the lonely
And those gasping for one more breath
And those with IV’s in their arms
And those swallowing big pills
For even bigger problems
And those seeped in depression
And those on food stamps
And those writhing in addiction
And those who aren’t sure they can make it one more day
Blessed are the single moms
And the dads too
And those crying out for relief
And those living in the shadows
Or those weeping beside a grave
Blessed are all of the Luke’s who came defiantly screaming into this world
With a gigantic F*#% YOU!
PG version –
Of course
And blessed are YOU
And you
And you
And you
The meek of this world
The lost
The forgotten
Blessed are YOU for you shall inherit the earth.

Just keep livin.

10 OCD Steps For Great Sleep

Hello!

As promised last week, I’m going to share my extensive sleep routine. I have numerous OCD/Obsessive/Type A quirks (that’s what we’ll call them) and have never been a great sleeper until I stumbled upon these options and then slowly added them until I was miraculously sleeping throughout the night.

Ok, here goes.

1.Hug and kiss all of the kids good night at 8:00 p.m. Yes, ALL of our children retreat to their areas of the home at this time. Most (none) go to sleep immediately but instead read, draw, play Legos, watch television (the boys) – you get the point but our point as parents to 8 children is this, mom and dad need two hours of alone time to decompress, regroup, and relax before the circus begins all over again at 6 a.m.

2.Draw the room darkening shades and room darkening curtains.  I need pitch black without a trace of light in my room in order to sleep.

3.Watch Netflix with Ryan in bed until 9:30

4. 9:30 – take 1/2 a Unisome.  I started this when I was pregnant for Mabel and have never stopped.  Honestly, I’m not sure I actually need it anymore but who wants to take that chance?

5. take 1/2 tea magnesium calm in water

6. Make Yogi Sleepy tea and add 1/2 tea Reishi Mushroom.

7. Take CBD Tincture

8. Rub Hemp Balm wherever there’s pain (usually my feet and hip)

9. Drink tea while falling asleep to Friends (Yes, it has to be friends)

10. 10:30 – Fan on, lights out – Ryan’s job because I’m usually already asleep.

 

 

There ya have it! Yes, I’ve tried Valerian and Melatonin.  Both give me weird dreams. Maybe this routine will help someone else in need of a solid night of sleep.

On a different note, I really should have affiliate links for all of these products, but I don’t.  I’m horrible with details, and I don’t have the time to mess with it.  It’s been suggested on a number of occasions that I should pursue a marketing specialist and/or blog manager for monetizing options, SEO, picture layout, etc.  I’m open to this idea; however, the right person would have to be content with primarily working for a percentage of the profits at this point in my career. Maybe a stay at home mom who wants to make a little extra cash? A college kid who knows his stuff?  A retiree? Some thoughts. If you know someone who would be a great fit for a position like this, please send them my way at jessplusthemess@gmail.com.

Just keep livin!

(This post does contain affiliate links that I may receive compensation for).

A Birthday Wish for Luke

It’s Luke’s 15th birthday exactly one month from today. August 12, 2004 he came screaming into this world as he was gently lifted from the gaping hole in my belly. I held my breath & desperately prayed that he would defy every odd and please dear God, let him LIVE and he did! Hallelujah! and he not only lived but he thrived and progressed for almost 15 years! Praise Jesus! And as thankful as we are for his life and progression, the simple fact remains that as Luke ages and gets bigger and stronger and goes through puberty with lots of pent up testosterone flowing through his body, his needs have become quite intense, and it’s difficult to keep him satisfied, entertained, and at times, safe.

Continue reading “A Birthday Wish for Luke”