When I get mad, thinking about this fall (and winter!) and all of the moments that leukemia stole from us, I have to remind myself that leukemia also gave us a lot of moments. It's far too easy to overlook those gems in the face of all of the memories you planned to have. But the forced pause, the non-negotiable shift of focus opens the door for things that can't be planned. Things that wouldn't be noticed or experienced were it not for the new set of eyes gifted to you by something like leukemia.
This fall was to give her a 'breakout role'. She was supposed to go to school two time each week and, pardon me, kick @$$. She just was. And I was going to enroll her in swimming and gymnastics to work on PT things. I had it all planned out...
Instead, we got to see the amazing heart of a school that had only just met us. We got to receive love from them in ways we never could have expected, and Ruby still did flourish this year, even though she was only there 1/4 of the time, at best.
Instead, Ruby and I got to spend a lot, a LOT of time, one-on-one. That is true for most of our days, but this was hospital time, without me being distracted by piles of laundry or making dinner or photo edits or the other kids. That made my girl and me able to communicate without words even more than we were able to before.
Instead, Ruby got more speech therapy with Mommy than she could have ever hoped for. Being hooked up to chemo or fluids or both makes many PT things hard to do, and my skills in OT are limited. So I started up yet another speech program with her while we were hanging out at the hospital, and a friend made us more flash cards, and every day afforded us at least two (if not more!) dedicated 30-60 minute windows to work on speech.
This was going to be the fall that I slowed down and focused on Maddie to see what she's passionate about. I was (am!) determined to find something that she really wants to do and help her in that area. This was going to require some good one-on-one, and it was going to require me to stop being 'mom' and just listen to my girl.
Instead she didn't do any team sports or music this fall. Instead she did *just* a laid-back art class after school one day a week. Instead she continued to flourish in the area of making things for people that she loves. Instead I got to see her heart shine through in every project she creates. Instead, I got to find more notes and drawings left for me every time I came home, whether it was from the hospital or from the store.
Instead I jumped at every chance I could to read to Maddux before bed when I was home from the hospital. Instead of defaulting to Lehr for that, since he typically gets less time with them, I started book after book with her, trying to soak up precious minutes of just Maddux and I together. (But I still never found that one thing for her.)
Oh, the fifth grade year. Many potential moments for this fall. I planned to grab this boy once every two or three weeks before school and grab breakfast, just the two of us. I planned to become more involved in the older kid group at church (to be with him). I planned to spend the fall completely immersed in all things Middle School to not only figure out where to send him, but how to properly prepare all of us for that.
Instead I got many before bed chats with Eli. Just as I did with Maddux, I stole moments with Eli, reading new books together and doing some devotionals. We even read through another one of those books that helps you talk about that, one that went beyond the preliminary stuff. One that is probably more on par, unfortunately, with what he's about to be exposed to through his peers, if he hasn't been already.
Instead, Eli is involved in an amazing 5th grade group at church where he's without any of his family. It's a place he gets to go for an hour on Sunday and hang out with a few cool adults and other kids his age, about to make the same jump into tween-hood.
Instead, I had to 'let go and let God' with so much of the Middle School decision. Our focus had to be narrowed and we had to sharpen our senses to take in more in smaller chunks, as that's all time afforded us. Instead, I had to sit back and notice the maturity that I'm seeing emerge from Eli.
So thankful that my plans don't usually line up with His plans!