My sister, my father and I managed to catch my mom completely off guard on Saturday with a surprise party at my parent’s house. After standing slack-jawed in the kitchen doorway for a full two minutes, my mom enjoyed visiting with friends and family who came to celebrate her upcoming 60th birthday.
It was the culmination of lots of frantic phone calls, last-minute errands and hushed reminders to the children. Once my mom had arrived, I could finally pour myself a glass of wine and visit with loved ones and acquaintances I haven’t seen in months or years.
These conversations reminded me that some of you might want to know what’s going on in these parts sans Fulton’s nurse. When we left off, I was a hysterical mess, frantically asking for prayers and practically penning my obituary while the evil insurance company sat, twisted it’s mustache and laughed maniacally.
It’s high time for an update which will foray briefly into a meditation entitled “Why I need to shut my yap and simply pray ‘Thy Will Be Done’ like I mean it” and hopefully alleviate all your fears that schooling around here has been reduced to costume design and party planning classes.
The good news is, not only are we getting by without a nurse, things have actually improved. (Yes way!) But let me back up a bit.
About a year ago, I started our school year with a clingy, fussy almost one year old who still woke up several times a night and screamed most of the time he was awake. Fulton also woke up most nights to be rolled over or due to medical equipment alarms. Tony and I were the most sleep deprived we’d ever been. My mornings were spent trying to homeschool while groggily bouncing between the little boys. I knew Fulton needed stretches, time in his stander, medicines at regular intervals but I couldn’t get in a routine. His twice weekly therapy appointments were during the morning hours and I just couldn’t do school in the afternoons; no one had the energy for it. After only a couple of months, Tony said he feared school was suffering. I saw the stander getting dusty and I knew things needed to change.
By February, we got nursing care, for three days a week. But after moving Fulton’s therapy sessions into the afternoon, we had a nurse here five days a week. And it was better than I hoped for. Within a short time, Fulton had a regular routine. I knew all his needs were being met and I could stop worrying and feeling guilty if I didn’t get to something. Teddy was getting older, sleeping better, playing better without my constant presence and school became less stressful. Everything became easier for a while, from day trips to doctor visits and our entire family, not just Fulton, came to view our nurse as a part of our family.
So you can understand why losing Fulton’s nurse so suddenly was so devastating. I’d created, what I thought was a pretty good daily routine and I’d quickly come to depend on that extra set of hands to get me through. My prayers in those first days were for an insurance miracle, a loophole, some fine print an extra form, anything that we could fill out and immediately get nursing back. All I could think of was the previous year, when meeting Fulton’s needs and homeschooling seemed to contradict one another, causing everyone to suffer.
I quickly decided that from now on, my primary job in the morning was to be Fulton’s nurse and that I would keep him on the same schedule as the nurse had. I was a teacher second. School became reading and online activities; as a temporary measure of course. This worked. Very well in fact. There was no stress related to schooling. I didn’t feel guilty because I wasn’t neglecting Fulton’s needs and the older kids had plenty of free time, and were happy to help with Teddy when I was busy.
After pouring through paperwork and making phone calls we started thinking in terms of what would happen if we never got nursing back. Fulton’s needs always came first. School had to come second. We reevaluated our goals and what we wanted to accomplish. We let go of what wasn’t essential and gave the kids more freedom. The result? For the last several weeks, school has been more enjoyable than it was when I had a nurse. The kids are happier. Tears and sass mouth are down 85 percent. I find I’m worrying less and I feel at peace with how things are around the house, even though they’re still far from perfect.
I prayed, you prayed, lots of people prayed and God didn’t answer my very specific prayer. He did something greater than I could even imagine. I didn’t know I needed to pray for school guidance. I didn’t know I needed to pray for a curriculum overhaul or attitude adjustment. I prayed for 35 hours of daytime nursing and instead, God gave me not only the strength to be the nurse I needed but the grace to do it joyfully and become a better mother and teacher at the same time.
My prayers were shaped by what I wanted, and what I thought was best and in the end, I see how limited my view was compared to that of God and his plan for my family. It has been no small thing for me to have a prayer answered in such a completely different, yet exceedingly better way.
For all the prayers, through all the years, that I thought went unheard this experience has reminded me that God always comes through. It was the jolt of hope I needed and the reminder that I was a fool for ever thinking otherwise.
For now, I’m trying to be thankful; for the prayers, the people, for my life in general-all of it. To quickly, I forget my joys and move on to other sorrows. But now is a time for rejoicing in little things often overlooked and making happy memories to save for another time.
“This is the day that the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.”