Cloudy days and silver linings…

I'm so sorry about the dead air of late.  Or would it be dead screen? Either way, it has not been my intention and it makes me sad to have gotten so behind. (Still working on that epic birth story which seems like it was years ago even though it has only been 3 weeks-I’m almost there).
For those of you who don't keep up with me via facebook, we've had a rough week in these parts. Our precious little Ellabeth has been very sick with the dreaded RSV so we have been spending some time in the hospital with her (until we checked her out because, as a sad commentary on the hospital, it turns out we can care for her better at home with the help of a very kind friend with just the right expertise for her particular illness).
We are now at home, watching her vigilantly and hoping she will soon turn a corner. A very tiny sick baby is a sad thing indeed.
I'm not going to lie. I don't deal very well with my babies being sick, particularly when it comes with profound sleep deprivation, separation from my family, a propensity for depression, lack of sunlight,exercise, routine and rampant post partum hormones.  It's been the perfect storm for mental instability and I have had a scattered showers (of the tear variety) and a few nervous breakdowns for good measure (one of them, In Which I Broke My Baby Out of the Hospital- Aaron wishes most earnestly that he'd captured on video tape-he feels it would be Oscar worthy).
I admire and sympathise more than ever parents who care for children with serious and/or chronic illnesses. I say a prayer for all of them many times a day.
I can’t even begin to express what a strength and comfort my family both immediate and extended and friends have been through this trial. In the scheme of world hardships I know  it is a tiny blip but in our little world it has been quite difficult. I’m so incredibly grateful to all those who have prayed for us, who have reached out with kind, sympathetic words, advice and offers of assistance of all and any type from those in the midst of their own serious trials.
Feeling remembered and cared for when you are tired, scared, alone and isolated in a hospital room with your sick baby at 3am is like gold.  I often fear that we are too connected as a society but at times like that, facebook, texting and email can feel like (and be) an absolute God-send. I know God most often helps us through others and because of the many angels in my life I have felt His comforting arms around me. 
Today I was going through the back-log of papers from Finny’s school folder and I found a letter written in Gracie’s writing. When I asked Finny about it he said he had asked her to write him a letter. ( I sometimes write him a letter to take to school to read when he is feeling anxious but I was in the hospital with Ella so he asked her to step in. Finny is my 6 year old and Gracie is my 9 year old.) I could tell she had scribbled it hastily before school but she had even added little smiley faces.  So sweet.
This is what it said

“Hi Finny!
I’m sorry you’re having a hard time! I know how this feels. You feel lonely and scared. And tiny. You pretty much feel invisible. It’s very hard feeling like this.
I just know you need to pray and have faith. I’m always right there for you. Heavenly Father hears your prayers. He’s there for you.  He sends His help through Mrs. B (his teacher), Mommy, Daddy and even Ella!  When  you are happy, He is happy. When you are sad, He’s sad. Just pray and ask for help. I know he loves you. Just have faith and hope. I love you and mommy does too! She misses us also! Just believe in what she says. These are what you should remember: Pray+Faith=Happiness.  Pray+Faith= Happiness.  Pray-Faith=More Saddness . So pray and have faith! I love you and mommy does too!
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SayerFamily001 bw
I have so much to learn from my children and I am constantly humbled by them. They are old, wise souls and I am so blessed that they were sent to me. I know I learn more from them than I will ever teach them.
Two more super sweet faith stories which I do not want to forget:  Last week, Benj and Gabe went with some friends to the local coffee shop to watch a band perform.  Gabe soon found the noise level to be too much so a friend of ours offered to walk him home.  Benj did not realize they had left. When Gabe got home, we offered to accompany him back to the coffee shop, he said he’d feel better having us there. When we got there, Benj (our 12 year old) rushed over and told us that he had been “frantically looking for Gabe!”.  Benj is always very understated and a low reactor. This has become even more pronounced since he became a cool preteen, so I found his grave concern sweet and amusing. When we got home he confided in me that he’d become so worried that he went to the bathroom of the coffee shop because “it was the only quiet place”, knelt down and said a prayer that he would be able to find Gabe.  (My immediate reaction was that  he needed to wash his knees pronto-but then he told me that he’d knelt on his sweatshirt-so we washed the sweatshirt pronto :D )  The image of Benj leaving his friends to go into a dirty public restroom to kneel down and pray for his brother will always leave me with a happy lump in my throat.   He told me that he’d received a peaceful feeling that Gabe was alright and when he came out he discovered us.
The other sweet story. Aaron told me that Benj had confided in him that the other night when Ella and I were in the hospital, he had felt anxious about us and could not sleep. So he turned on the light, and opened his scriptures. He said he remembered that I’d said that sometimes I opened my scriptures to a random page and found an answer to a problem I was having.  So he opened his scriptures to a random page and his finger landed on a scripture in Psalms which said “trust in the Lord” .  He said that it even said something about being able to sleep :) He was very impressed.
Last night I found myself in a profound depression. I texted an SOS to my sister Shona who called me. I told her that I wished I could cease to exist without anyone remembering that I ever did. I felt so useless to everyone, that they would be better off without me.  She said just the right thing. She told me that she knew I was not just saying that, and that I really felt that way but it wasn’t true.  I really appreciated that validation because it is hard to express those feelings knowing how melodramatic and “fishing for compliments” they sound, but at that moment, and for most of yesterday actually,  I felt as though I was nothing but a burden to my family and the world in general.  
More than once in the last week my two younger kids have walked in to discover me sobbing hysterically on my bed. I am appalled by this but strangely, this is when Finny is in his element- as a comforter. Gracie seems very sympathetic, but she also seems understandably worried about me. But Finny just transforms into a calm, soothing adult. Just like when he was tiny,  it does not seem to alarm him at all to see me like that.  It’s almost as if his mission in life kicks in. He came right over smiling sweetly and calmly, kissed me and stroked my head and said over and over tenderly and confidently, “you’re going to be fine, everything is going to be fine”. Then he reminded me that Gracie had RSV as a baby and “look how she turned out, mommy!” How could I help but smile.
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While I am so deeply touched by my children’s compassion and loving ability to comfort me when I am so vulnerable, it does make me feel as if I am a burden, a bad mother, and not the rock that they need right now, a time which is somewhat scary and unsettled for them too. But seeing how they turn to God in their trials is such an example and a comfort to me.  Maybe having a mom who falls apart from time to time has brought them closer to the One who will always be there and strong for them. I hope so.
I want to make it clear before I get a slew of concerned/outraged emails, that I do not plan to make a habit of falling apart in front of my children, or use them as a resource for comfort on a regular basis. I have a wonderful husband, parents, sisters, brothers, and friends who look out for me and will make sure I get the help I need if my sad days become more prevalent.
On a much happier note, here are some of the zillions of photos we had taken of Ella on her 2 week birthday. It’s so hard to choose which ones to post here, so I may just post a few every day for the next couple of years ;)  I am so happy to have these lovely shots of her especially since she broke out in baby acne in a big way the next day and looks somewhat atrocious right now. Poor little girl.
Even though she is sick, she continues to be so incredibly sweet, low maintenance and stoic. We just adore her and truly can’t imagine life without her. It feels like she has always been here.
I love that she is tiny and although I am thrilled that she is putting on weight it is hard to see the tiny baby phase passing right in front of my eyes. At the same time, I cannot wait to see her personality emerge more and more. I know it is going to be amazing. She already looks at me with such intensity and recognition and (I swear it is true, even though she is just 3 weeks old) she smiles just when I most need to see that glimmer of pure radiant sunlight. I can’t wait for the smiling to become regular and to discover more about her. She is an angel.
I am a blessed mommy.
Ellaandmommy SayerFamily037
We continue to ask for and thank you for your prayers and positive thoughts for our sweet baby girl. We know they work.

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Peg said...

love and prayers to all of you.

Ella looks just like Finny in that first picture with the hat!

Michelle said...

My friend - I understand you're feeling useless/burdensome/depressed. I am devastated that you feel this way though, because you are anything but.

If you only knew how much you have affected my life. You have changed the way I parent my kids. Your kindness and your faith are inspiring and I regularly look back on your blog on days when I feel like I need guidance.

You worry about letting your kids comfort you. Please don't. Where do you think they learn this compassion? It is your and Aaron's parenting that gave them this amazing character. It's you. They see you do it for them, their siblings, your friends. Kids role model their parents' behaviour. Don't you see that all the beautiful little anecdotes you wrote about in this post come from something you have taught them?

Not only are you NOT a burden - you carry so many people. Not only are you NOT useless - you have lifted my heart and my game time and again.

You don't realise what a beautiful affect you have on the world. Yes, you are a blessed Mommy. And your kids feel that love, appreciation, respect and dedication. And they feel blessed.

Love and prayers to you all and I just know precious Ellabeth is going to be better soon.

Toad said...

Hang in there Frog! x

nyn said...

I love you Kirsty. I understand how hard and horrible the time you have been going through is. My heart is with you and I hope that all will be well soon and the sun will come out and warm your soul.

being bartholomew said...

I KNOW RSV sucks! My son, Kale, my youngest as well got RSV at 4 weeks of age. It was terrible, and stressful, and exhausting. I pretty much told the DR. that unless it was dire, I was under no uncertain terms taking care of him at home with any equipment he or I needed. Being a nurse I knew that I would be more watchful than having him in the hospital. I would be doing all the care there anyway, plus I would have a hefty bill for doing all the work! :)

Good luck, and I hope recovery is quick.

being bartholomew said...

By the way that last comment was from me!

Kristen Bartholomew