Spring is here which brings quite the mix of emotions. I love this time of year when God’s creation comes back to life as perennials peek out of the ground, and the trees start to bud again. I love to open windows and bring some fresh air back into the house after it has been closed for many cold months. Yet this spring, not only is another school year wrapping up, the boy who made me a mom is graduating. I still remember following behind Travis and Brad as we walked him to school on his first day of kindergarten. Travis’s big strong hand wrapped around Brad’s little fingers as a brand new backpack rested on his back. I was pregnant with Ryan and pushed the middle two in our double stroller wondering how we got to this day already – and he was only five.
Golf season is in full swing – literally – and the first tournament is in two days. Both boys are playing this year which is fun, but it makes for a crazy schedule with lots of tournaments. I love that they get to share this year together.
The decorations are partly constructed, the food list is written, the invitations are ready to be addressed, but this momma’s heart is no where near ready to face what is coming. I just cannot wrap my head around the reality of graduation. This boy, this sweet, fun loving, laid back, generous, God fearing young man is ready to close this chapter of his life. And I am not ready. Oh I am excited for him as he moves from high schooler to college student, but the thought of not finding him in the kitchen every morning before I step out the door for work just crushes my heart. I loved walking in the door Saturday just after 1 p.m. to see him standing in the family room watching a golf tournament on TV in his pajama pants with his hair sticking up all over as he practiced his golf swing. That is so Brad. And I love it. I will miss these moments that have become routine in our home. He is a talker, and I have come to absolutely cherish the conversation and connectivity we share. He chose Missouri Western in St. Joe to spend the next four years. It is a great, small school where I know he will thrive. I remember my college years so fondly and know he will have an amazing experience just like I did, but the thought of him not being in our home every day brings me to tears. So for today I am going to choose to enjoy the golf clubs taking residence in my family room, the constant friends eating up all the food, and the endless hours of Family Feud on TV that makes him laugh.
Sidney is doing well and has made some very grown up choices this year. She has never cared for gossip, girl drama and cliques. Having had her share of struggles in the friend department, Sidney prefers a small handful of close friends over a large group of many. Her closest circle are all older than her with her best friend graduating this year. She has always been a bit more grown up than many of her peers and part of that is more than likely because of her life experiences. Last fall she came to Travis and me with a proposition. She had already spoken with her counselor at school and let us know she wants to graduate as a junior. It took us by surprise but in true Sidney fashion, she already had the plan laid out. After much prayer and thought, her plan is in place, and she will graduate from high school next year. My only worry was she would some day look back with regret over the decision, but now that it has been several months in the making, I know she is making the right choice for her. There are plenty of people who have voiced their opinions against her decision, but Travis and I support her completely and know she will thrive no matter what her future holds because of her determination and strong will. Otherwise she is busy working and being social which is exactly what a 16 year old girl should be enjoying.
Trevor chose to forgo Zoo School this semester and after Christmas break ended and the kids were back in school every day, he turned into a new kid. We did not realize how miserable Trevor was until he was back at Southeast all day. Zoo School was just not his thing and that is OK. He is doing well and has a great group of friends. It amazes me how much he has grown in the past year. Not just physically – he is six feet tall – but in his character and maturity as well. It is fun to watch each of the kids develop into their own grown up personalities. Trevor seems to be enjoying golf and is looking forward to his first tournament. His friends take up the majority of his time as it should be at his age. Speaking of age, Trevor turns 15 this week but is going to wait until golf season is over to get his permit. I can hardy believe we will have three drivers! How did they all get so old?
Ryan has been fairly stable for a while. Everyone knows he does well then declines then does well then declines. Overall we have been more than blessed to avoid hospitalizations for the last year except for surgeries to replace his feeding and cecostomy tubes. His seizures are still rampant which will never change, and he continues to sleep a lot. Unfortunately Ryan stopped walking about ten days ago, and we do not know what is wrong. He has done this in the past but only for a few days at a time. This is the longest he has gone and refuses to put any weight on his right leg. Travis took him to the pediatrician last week, and an x-ray was done which was negative. He does not have any issues bending his leg; he just won’t walk on it. We cannot get him into his orthopedic doctor until April 19th which is disappointing but typical. With Ryan not weight bearing, we have been carrying him all over the house and to and from the car. Needless to say, it is a difficult task because he is at least 5’1″ and over 100 pounds. I would be lying if I said it has not been a struggle. But you do what you have to do when you have a child who cannot take care of himself. Even on a good day when he does not appear to be in pain, we still have to lift him in and out of bed, in and out of the bath and the same for the van. Ryan simply cannot do those things so we have been used to heavy lifting, but that is much different than physically carrying him around the house. Travis ordered a walker with a seat on it, and it just arrived today. It is a godsend as it is easy to maneuver around the house, and it does not wear on the carpet like his wheelchair. I would be lying if I said I was not concerned. I think back to four years ago after Ryan’s fourth and last brain surgery when his GI system shut down from his stomach to his rectum, and he was hospitalized for a month on TPN. During that time he quit drinking and has not had any oral fluid since. And now in the past few months, maybe close to a year, he has stopped eating all together. For a long time he only ate when we would go out to eat, but now he really does not eat at all except for very occasional moments which are becoming few and far between.
It is disheartening to watch Ryan decline and move farther and farther from my ideal of healthy, but this not walking business has really taken hold of my heart and simply broken me where words escape. Yet I cannot spend my time worrying over events that have not happened or ruminate over situations out of my control. The simply truth is God holds Ryan in the palm of His hand just as He holds every single one of us. And no matter what the future brings, no matter the circumstance, I trust the Lord will give us whatever we need to handle each moment of this journey. Please pray with us over Ryan’s health. We know he continues to very slowly decline, yet the joy he brings to our family is overwhelming much like the love we share.
Spring brings refreshing rain, cool breezes, bright sunshine and hope of new life. Much the same, seasons of change bring hope and sorrow, laughter and tears, growth and unknowns. Only the Lord knows what our futures hold, and I am at peace knowing I do not need to worry. Ecclesiastes 3 –
For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
4 A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
A time for war and a time for peace.
What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.