I hope that you are all home with your families today enjoying this Christmas Day. Last year at this time, Zack was a pretty sick guy. We are thankful to have him home and FULL of energy and excitement this year. While we are thankful to have him feeling better this year, we are mindful of our friends who are not home. We are praying for our friend Logan and his family today. Logan is spending his Christmas in the hospital fighting Neuroblastoma. We hope next Christmas will find him healthy and strong. Until then, we are praying for him every day.
Zack has been doing well. It feels amazing to write that! He has color in his cheeks, energy in his body and a smile on his face. Since having his NG tube placed, he has gained about 4 pounds. It could be more than that because nobody really knows how much of his pre-procedure weight was really poop. Seriously. We are still having some lingering pain and stooling issues which continue to frustrate us, but we are working on a plan to address that with Z’s doctor.
In other news, Zack is thrilled to be back in school. He just completed 2 1/2 weeks of being back for 1/2 of the day. He loves going to school and riding the bus. He says his favorite part of his school day is math. Hmmmm. Interesting. I’ll take that answer. I would have guessed P.E. or recess. What do I know?
On this Christmas Day, I thought I would take a moment to update you on life. Sometimes life throws things your way that you never expected. Being a parent should have clued me in….things are going to be hard. Jim and I are no different than any other family. I don’t know why I would expect to escape hard times.
I purposefully do not write much about our other kids. They are mostly grown and do not need their “stuff” broadcast. I did ask permission to write this much, however, and they graciously agreed. This year has brought some pretty hard things into our lives and some days have been really tough. Just because Zack has some serious health issues doesn’t mean our other kids don’t have serious problems as well. Our boys will try to handle things themselves not wanting to burden us. We can be tired and worried about Zack and not as in tune with our boys’ problems as we should be. I think it is a common problem for families with a child who requires lots of special care. While I do not plan to expand on that any more than this, I mention it today on Christmas because people often say to me, “I do not know how you do it!”
That statement is meant to be kind and uplifting, of course, but it assumes that I am somehow stronger than others. When your child is sick, you do what you have to do. There is no other way. Our family is no different than any other family. Our struggles with Zack are more visible, while others are more private.
Even though my circumstances may not be what I would choose, my answer to that statement is simple. Faith. Without faith, life would be overwhelming to me. Sometimes it still is, but then I remember whose I am and that my strength does not come from myself. I love Carrie Underwood’s song, “Something in the Water.” I think it summarizes how I feel pretty well. AND the dancing is totally amazing, which is an added bonus. Come on, dancing in water? So cool.
Today we celebrate Christmas. The birth of Jesus. He is the reason I can be strong when life is hard. Christmas is a great reminder to me:
“And now I’m changed
And now I’m stronger”
I am not going through life on my own. I am not strong on my own. I am strong because of Him. Some days I get it really wrong. Some days I am a real grinch and not at all the person I want to be. Some days my life does not reflect my faith, but guess what? I’m not perfect, just loved right where I am….and when I remember that I really am changed and I really can be stronger. Hopefully that is what people see in me…. most of the time.
I know that this time in my life will pass and hopefully, when all is said and done, I will be stronger, my family will be stronger and our faith will be stronger. That will be a beautiful story.