Wednesday, October 19, 2011

a bit of plain old life

I'm officially tired.  Miss E. is still wheezing and coughing every day.  The nights are the worst.  My latest (and probably not the smartest) plan has been to stay up until midnight and give her her medicine so that I can sleep 5 hours straight without waking up to give her the albuterol treatment.  The alternative would be to fall to sleep (hard asleep) exhausted at 10ish and wake up at 12 midnight.  And the idea of waking out of a dead sleep sounds harder than staying awake until midnight and sleeping for five straight hours.  Except when I do this day after day after day, I become cumulatively very tired.  Especially when there are break-through attacks and when you fall asleep before 12, forgetting to set the alarm and are awoken to your little girl coughing and gasping frantically for air.  Then I run around in a half awake sluggish state in the dark trying to find the nebulizer treatment (as quiet as I can as her twin sister, M. is asleep in the same little room), grab the child and find her face and start the machine.  Even asleep she knows the drill and helps me put it on.  She starts breathing so much better and we both fall asleep to the hum of the machine in the rocking chair by her bed, her heavy weight fully on mine.  Then I put her back in bed.  I stumble back to my bed but I am scared to go back to sleep.  I'm so tired, but what if she struggles again and I am so tired I don't wake up.  I consider sleeping on her floor so that I will hear her, but give in to my big comfortable bed.

All of this means that I am one tired mama who is shuffling through each day in a bit of a fog right now. There is much I need to do and little of it seems to get done.  I'm not a coffee drinker so I consume large amounts of Kenyan black tea (with sugar).

Life is good though.  But even as I write all of this, a familiar feeling of discomfort and angst comes.  It's because right now, children are dying of asthma around the world.  Right now, many more children are dying of malaria.  Right now there are mothers who eat so much less than me, who are in generally worse health than me, who work much harder than me, who take care of more children than me, who sleep in one small bed with their entire family, who stay up with their sick children at night, and know there is little they can do.  This feeling, it rarely leaves me.  I can't seem to rid the reality of life elsewhere (nor do I want to get rid of this conviction, this accounting, this stark memory).

And life goes on.  I have three "two year olds" in essence.  And an almost five year old.  Technically, I will have three two year olds on Nov. 9 (the twins birthday) and will have three two year olds until Dec. 15th (Isla's birthday).  It means my life is challenging.  I pray constantly for patience and love.  I change a lot of cloth diapers.  I beg my almost 3 year old to please please use the potty.  She laughs at me and dances away.  I do more "it's not okay to....." than I do anything else.   I break up lots of fierce battles (usually ending in lots of crying and hurt feelings, I do have four girls).   My oldest daughter asked me the other day, "mom, do you still like having four kids?".  My heart broke and I did more praying.  Since then she has been saying, "mom, it's hard having four kids that are so little, but we love it too, right?".  I think my prayers are being answered.  She also said, "mom, we fell in love with Ellie and Mia right when they came home didn't we?  And we still are in love with them!".  The three two year olds love, love each other.  They kiss, hug, hold hands.  Fierce in battle they are also fierce in love for each other.  Often the oldest of the bunch will say "Mia, play with me?!  or Ellie, play with me?!".   I think she truly thinks she is a triplet.  I didn't expect that she would so fully become their sister in such a deep way.  That she sees herself as a part of them and them of her.

Ellie, Isla, and Mia

The hard, harsh parts of life in Congo for so many, has left me struggling to find beauty and joy.  My faith in a good and loving God is constant, yet it is wounded.  I am still recovering.  And it is very hard for me to explain- that it is less about the external and more about my heart deep, deep where only God sees.  I somehow sense there is a waiting.  A patience with me, grace to let me heal.  Mercy when I don't deserve it.  Covering our family, our children.  There is another me I see, that I want to be, but there is so long of a journey to be there.  Yet.  It is okay.

It rains a lot here.  A rainy season to help ease the ache of my lonely heart.

I still very much feel like a fish out of the water living here.

The kids love our lives here.  Natalie will talk about Congo.  She jumps into the hard parts.  War, suffering, poverty on a child's level.  Real and true, close to the heart of God, I treasure these talks.  She often talks of the day when we will all be with God and how very happy He will be to have us all there. How He will hold His arms out and reach for us all and be so truly glad.  And then she laughs a happy laugh.  I stay close by her.  Her faith begins to help mine to heal.  Her faith in a loving, good God who welcomed little children.  Children who sometimes understand better than we do.

They were in heaven!

It's hard to give attention to so many little ones.  I sometimes feel guilty that I don't give enough attention to them all.  I try to let that go and do my best.

I go back and forth about how much I am okay with sharing on the blog (in terms of my kids pictures and names), today I am feeling okay about it all.  Tomorrow I may change my mind.

I could write an entire post (and maybe I will) about choice and the amount of choices we have all day long, every day living here.  And how it still practically paralyzes me.  (The only way I can cope with the grocery store is I shop late at night and I buy the same thing every week only once a week.)  I really think wealth equals more choices.  Or more choices equals greater wealth.

I'm really excited about my guest blog series which will start soon.  I'm going to call it "Walking in Congo" and it will feature stories from people who have walked or are walking in Congo.  

We are almost fully sponsored!!  There are only six babies left who need sponsors (and two of those only need partial sponsors).

I'm excited to start writing about Tumaini again and the future....hopes and dreams.

Well, it's about time to wrap us and get ready for tomorrow.  Then give another breathing treatment and off to bed.

I'm having a hard time convincing Isla that "corn on the cob" season is really done.  
And obviously, one must always use safety gear when eating it!


Rachel said...

thank you for sharing Holly. I loved this glimpse into your life and your thoughts.

Shauna said...

I really appreciate your writing and your honesty. We are praying for you and the girls. It is weird to me how life can be so beautiful and so very hard at the same time.