Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Darkness of Winter

I realize with much trepidation that I am beginning to resent the Winter months. I ask myself why I have struggled with living here, and though many things come to mind, and many things I have learned to overcome, the one thing I just can’t shake is the darkness of Winter. And, oh, how it looms over us as I write! The sun sets earlier and it rises even later, and the grey clouds hang close over our heads, wanting to tear open and dump gallons- excuse me- liters on us as we try to manage our daily lives. So, we put up Christmas trees, light warm apple cake candles, sing holiday songs, cuddle up for movie night, make gifts for friends, talk on the phone more, leave messages on facebook all too often; and if all goes according to plan, we come out alright on the other side of winter.

Such a struggle indeed. And I know my dear friends and acquaintances on this side of the pond are having a rough time of it as well. So, how do we solve this impending dark pit of the winter months? I’ll paraphrase for you a little something I read from Eckhart Tolle: “It is not the situation in life that causes our unhappiness, but rather the way we think about it.” I know there are many things we need to do in order to stay motivated, sane and happy through these next few months: exercise, eat right, share with your spouse and/or partner, get some sleep if your kids will allow it, write it down, make a friend, do something kind, connect spiritually, keep active…The list goes on. Implement your own plan of action and follow! But I think the number one thing to keep happy in hard times is the power of your own thought.

It’s not an easy task keeping up with my mind, but I know I am making progress. I wanted to say, “Ugh, snow, cold, shoveling…” Instead I said, “ The peace of the white covered earth will only last but a moment, I will enjoy winter’s little celebration!” I thankfully had no where to be this weekend, so for two whole days I watched the best snowfall we’ve had here yet, all from the warmth of my home. And I even let the boys go out and get wet and cold…and they loved every minute of it!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Perfectly Perfect

When my third son was born in early spring of this year, he arrived not quite properly put together. He was born with a dilated left kidney. It really shouldn't have been a surprise, but the Ob minimized the situation during my pregnancy. At the last minute I found my self expecting a baby with a condition that did not "go away before he was born". I had so many questions, and so few answers; my hospital was located in a small Belgian town where even the "translator" only spoke French! What do we call this thing? What tests will be done? Can he urinate properly? Will he need surgery right as he's born? And still no answers came. What a lesson in patience!

Eventually we had a few tests done, some more invasive than others. We saw a specialist in Brussels and we saw a specialist at John's Hopkins in the U.S. We did a little research. We got frustrated by the language barrier in Belgium, and frustrated at the cost and speed in which things are done in the U.S. We waited for the possibility of an infection to occur. We wondered oh so many things about what was happening. Finley is now eight months old. Today we went back to the specialist in Brussels and he said "I am happy today about the progress of the kidney". A positive outlook! There has been a significant change from when he was born, in fact it is looking more normal every time we go in for a check-up. This summer, the specialist from John's Hopkins was ready to slice him open! But alas here he is now, a picture of health. I wonder if we hadn't have taken a look on the inside with these handy dandy ultrasounds, would we have ever known?!

So, I say Finley is perfectly perfect! And I'll tell you why: Two days after he was born I was holding him tight and overwhelmed with emotion. I was so grateful to have another beautiful redhead boy, but not certain what significance these health issues meant. I called my Dad to confess that everything wasn't ok as I led him to believe, that in fact Finley was born with a health problem. I could hear his sigh; he deflated. This is his grand baby! But he has never been one to dwell on the negative. So when I said to him it's just hard because I wanted Finley to be born perfect, he stopped me then and told me "But, he IS perfect." And there it was sinking into my soul, what do I know? But, of course! And I have believed it ever since. The course is till undetermined with this little one's kidney - and surgery is not ruled out yet. But for now. I just know that no matter what happens he came to us just as he was meant to come. Perfect!