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Posts Tagged ‘healing’

Just when I think I’ve got this whole motherhood thing figured out (which usually lasts about four point three seconds), one of my three throws another curve ball. This time it was my oldest.

For the majority of her seven years of life, my oldest has been my easiest- compliant, mature, helpful, gentle, trustworthy. She is big sister to two brothers (ages four and one) and exhibits first born qualities through out the day, every day. She is my helper, my sidekick, my shadow. So when, on a now forgotten date, some weeks ago, she began exhibiting behaviors I had never seen in her before, I quickly became more than a little perplexed.

Dark was her mood for many of those days, and not in the way of a young child, not in the way of her brothers when they pout or whine or lash out. This was different. This was new. -Honestly, she reminded me of my darkest days as a teenager, days when I was sullen and brooding and weepy with no idea why or what in the world to do about it. (“Can a seven year old be hormonal??” I kept thinking. “Surely not!”)- Many tears were shed over those few weeks (most of them hers, a couple mine), as I wondered what was happening to my girl and what was I, her mama, going to do about it? But it wasn’t until last week that I became alarmed when she not once, but twice within a few days time, was physically unkind to her brother.

Now I realize that in many households this is normal- siblings fight, siblings hit and push or worse- and would not necessarily be cause for alarm. But this has never been the case in our home. (ok, I take that back, my one year old hits when he is mad -or frustrated or whatever it is that one year olds get- and that was probably the case when my other two were that age as well.) But now, and for as long as I can remember, Meadow and Granite do not and have not been siblings that physically fight. So last week when one argument with Granite led to her angrily pushing him off the bed with her foot and another involved her hitting his leg in response to something he said, I knew something just wasn’t right. (Both times I happened to walk in the room right as she did it, allowing me to observe and understand in a way I could not have had I only learned about it through Granite telling on her. I think that was a God thing.)

So last Thursday night (after the morning that Meadow hit Granite’s leg, her second “offense”) we were in the car on the way home, Meadow and Granite bickering in the very back seat of the van, Chaz and I talking quietly in the front as I tried not to overreact to the bickering, and Canyon observing it all from his carseat in the middle, when I brought up the hitting incident and expressed my concerns about what was going on with Meadow. I had mentioned her behavior several times prior but not with as much emphasis or concern. “I don’t know what to do with her. I don’t understand where this behavior is coming from.” were some of my words to my husband. And it was right around that time that the bickering in the backseat escalated (once again, as had happened so many times that week, thanks to Meadow) to the point that Meadow was told by her father not to speak again until we got home (about five minutes away).

“You guys go on inside. I’m going to stay in the car and talk to Meadow.” were Chaz’s words to me as we pulled into our driveway. I gathered the boys and their bags, headed inside and began getting them both ready for bed, all the while thinking about my girl and wondering what was being said in the van sitting under our carport.

About fifteen minutes later father and daughter entered our back door and Meadow quickly, quietly headed to her room to get ready for bed, Granite following her close behind. I greeted them both from the couch then watched Meadow walk away, noting that I would talk with her after talking to my hubby. Standing, with Canyon on my hip, I asked my hubby how the talk went, what was said, what was her response to him. Almost immediately his eyes filled with tears. Alarmed and surprised I waited for him to speak. He recounted their conversation, speaking the words that brought his tears-

“A few minutes into the conversation it dawned on me to ask, ‘Has someone  been treating you that way?’ (referencing her hitting and pushing her brother), to which she immediately answered, ‘Yes, Amaya next door hits and pushes me sometimes and she yells at me.'”

At that point he paused, giving me a chance to gently ask, “Why the tears?”

“It’s just so pitiful. She’s never been treated that way by anyone. And you know it’s been on her mind by how quickly she answered me. Just picturing her dealing with that and thinking about that…” he kind of trailed off at that point, tears still filling his eyes.

We talked for a minute more before the older two ran back into the room, then decided to continue the conversation later, after all the loud short people were in bed. I hugged my husband fiercely, so very grateful for his care and concern for our daughter and our family, and kissed him goodbye as he headed back out the door to return to work for several more hours.

And for the rest of that night and for the past week since, Meadow has been back to her usual self- chipper, talkative, helpful, occasionally emotional, sometimes selfish, silly, gentle and kind. Her mood has been joyful, her aura light, her energy pure. Our home has returned to its usual state- quiet and peaceful, full of chatter and laughter, with a bit of arguing and bickering mixed in.

And all this week I have asked myself: How could one conversation with her daddy release my girl from the torment that was causing such ugly behavior, such emotion, such a dark mood for so much of those three weeks?

This is what I have come up with, these are the lessons I have learned (or relearned maybe?) from the kid next door:

1) Learn to ask good questions. I think sometimes our children/the people around us are hurting or thinking/feeling things that they need to express and just don’t know how to without a little prompting. Learn to ask good questions. And lots of them.

2) Don’t always take a child’s/person’s behavior at face value. Children/people are selfish creatures and much of their ugly behavior stems from this. But other times they are only reacting out of the hurt that they are experiencing or feeling. Don’t assume their bad behavior is just them being “bad”. It could be from them feeling hurt.

3) Don’t be naive and assume that the children your children are playing with are going to treat them with respect and kindness. Be observant. Be vigilant. Be appropriately protective, especially until your children are old enough to protect themselves.

4) And lastly: There is power in the spoken word. I have learned (relearned) this for myself recently as I have fought some ugly demons (another post for another time) and watched the stronghold that these demons have had on my heart loosen each time I confess/express/speak them to a friend or family member. I saw that same power the night Chaz talked with Meadow. So speak, my friends, speak! Find someone you trust, someone who loves you and speak your truth, speak your struggle, speak your demons. Find the faith, the humility, the guts, and speak! And if you have no one, no one in your life to listen with compassion, please, please message me. I know an incredible counselor and would love to pass along his number. I am also a willing listener myself. Speak what weighs on your heart and watch as the load begins to lighten.

I hurt when my children hurt. I so much want to protect them, protect myself, avoid any and all hurt as well as I possibly can. But I am also learning that life’s hurts usually lead to life’s greatest lessons. And that that is one small/huge piece in our story of redemption. So I  am also grateful. Grateful and learning and hurting and laughing. Thanks for reading, friends. Let me know if you need me.

Sincerely Yours,

~Echo~

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“I was young and pregnant by a guy I’d only known a few months. I remember crawling into bed between my parents one night, about three weeks before my wedding, and begging them both, “Please don’t make me marry him. I don’t want to get married. I don’t want to marry him,” and my mother patting my knee and saying, “It will be fine. It will all work out.” Much sadness and disappointment and neglect, many fights, some abuse, several children and a dozen or so years later we divorced.”

“I tell my wife I love her everyday. My family didn’t do that. My grandfather was the only one that I felt any love from as a kid and when I was a teenager he left my grandmother for another woman and denounced my grandmother, me, my entire family. So I wasn’t really sure what love was until I met and married my wife. I tell her that I love her everyday. I don’t want my children to grow up in a home where no one says I love you.”

“I moved here because I am going through a midlife crisis of sorts. I’ve been taking care of my parents for the past thirty years and they both died recently so I am looking for a fresh start. I have eleven siblings. They all figured that since I wasn’t married and didn’t have any children and thus “didn’t really have a life” that I could just live with mom and dad and take care of them. I had the honor of being the last person that my parents spoke to before they died. “Thank you and I love you.” were both of their last words to me. They had never said that to anyone or to me before that. Those two moments were the greatest gifts I have ever been given.”

“Her husband died suddenly a few weeks ago. I’m not sure exactly what happened. She is in her mid-forties. He was too.” another mom told me about the teacher in the classroom down the hall from my daughter’s classroom, the teacher who always has a smile on her face and a kind word for each child that passes her doorway. My shock, that such a great tragedy had occured in the life of someone I see and speak to every week, without me having any idea until a month later, was apparent. It is a moment I have thought of often since.

“I had several one night stands while my husband and I were dating. I was young and stupid. I don’t know what I was thinking. Sometimes I can’t even believe that I actually did that, that it actually happened. That was a decade ago and I’ve never told anyone until tonight. I’ve been so afraid that people would judge me and reject me. I’m afraid if I tell my husband, he will leave me. But I can’t live with this guilt any longer. It is eating me alive.”

“My second miscarriage was at sixteen weeks. We discovered at my doctors appointment that the baby had no heartbeat. They sent me home. I spent several days waiting and knowing that the baby inside me was no longer living. I never did go into labor. I remember laying in bed beside my husband, that last night before I was to be induced the next morning and thinking, “This is the last time our baby will lay between us.” My heart was broken that night. It took a lot of years to mend it back together.”

Listen…

Such a simple word. Such a simple act. But with the power to transform a life.

So let us slow down. And listen. And have compassion.

Because everyone has a story.

They just need a chance to tell it.

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It started out as a mild ache, contained to a very small spot between my two back molars. And that lasted for a couple of weeks. (Yes, I know, I should have dealt with the problem sooner. Hindsight…)  Then out of the blue, on Friday night, the pain suddenly and swiftly increased dramatically and by the end of the night I could no longer chew using the left side of my mouth. By Saturday morning I was popping pain pills as frequently as the bottle deemed safe (or maybe a little more frequently, truth be told). By Sunday I struggled to see or hear anything past the pain and by Monday morning I could barely speak without tears springing to my eyes. Waves of nausea continually coursed over me, as the pain shot through my face. Every movement of my jaw had become exruciating. In fact, every moment had become painful, movement or not.  The entire left side of my face, head and neck seemed inflamed, it felt as though someone had stabbed me in the jaw then punched me repeatedly in the face. From the time I woke up Monday morning until sometime around four o’clock that afternoon, I ate as little as possible and stayed as silent as is possible when you are the mother of two small children. Not the best day I’ve ever had…

By Sunday night I knew I had to do something about the pain. And as has been the case on more than one occasion, I debated who to go to for help: Ed Mikrut or good ‘ole Doc Western…Doc Western or good ‘ole Ed Mikrut

Here is where I will try and explain who Ed is and what Ed does. Simply put, mainly because I don’t know that I can explain it any other way, Ed has a lot of experience with and is incredibly knowledgeable in dealing with physical and emotional illnesses and problems using natural (a.k.a: eastern/homeopathic/alternative) methods. He also encourages natural methods of pursuing general physical and emotional wellness. He has been an incredible blessing to me and my family on many occasions, and in spite of my initial skepticism, has produced results time and time again. If this at all sounds like something/someone you are interested in/have been looking for, you can call 615-593-1855 to make an appointment with Ed. Or if you just have questions or need a better explanation first about what it is that he actually does, he can do a much, much better job with that than I ever will.  I highly, highly recommend him and he offers many other references as well.

So anyway, back to my debate about whether to see Ed or a “regular doctor”. I had been to Ed for sickness before but never for pain. And with my experience with western medicine, I knew that a regular doctor was going to offer me what I was oh so desperate for: fast relief. However, I also knew, or believed, that what Ed offers is safer/healthier and more conducive to long term health and wellness than filling my system with antibiotics and prescription strength pain killers every time I develop an illness or infection. Sooo…

I decided to call Ed. I decided that even if the relief took a little longer (oh but hopefully not too much longer!), that I would feel better about that decision in the long run.

I contacted him the moment I woke up on Monday morning and prayed that he would have an opening.

Three o’clock today, was his response.

Wonderful, was mine.

The hours couldn’t have passed fast enough as I waited for three o’clock to roll around. Finally the clock said 2:30. I gratefully and hurriedly loaded the kids and myself into our car.

The trip across town felt like an eternity. But eventually we arrived at his office, where I dragged myself through his door and plopped myself down in the chair across from where he sat. Meadow and Granite, and a handful of toys, found a seat somewhere beside me, and though I struggled to speak, I told Ed everything that was going on, beginning with the discomfort that had started almost a month before. He listened quietly at first then asked a series of relevant questions. I answered best I could. Within a half hour of arriving I was tested, imprinted, given a concoction of goodness in a little brown bottle, and handed a long list of herbs, vitamins and ideas for ways to help the problem once I got home.

The relief was quick and complete. Within an hour of being imprinted the pain had diminished slightly and every hour after that I could feel noticeable improvement. By the time I went to bed that night the pain had shrunk to one little spot in my mouth (the spot it originated in a few weeks before) and by Tuesday morning there was absolutely no pain anywhere. A tenderness lingered until Wednesday but by the end of the week there was no sign that there had ever been any problem at all. No pain, no tenderness, no sensitivity. I could even chew using that side of my mouth without an ounce of discomfort.

I was a believer in alternative medicine before I walked into Ed’s office that day. But if there was even an ounce of disbelief or skepticism lingering in my mind before the day my tooth was treated, it has disappeared as completely as the pain I walked in with that day.

P.S. It has been three weeks since I woke up pain free. And I am happy and very thankful to say, as I sit here eating these crunchy tortilla chips, that that status has not changed in the slightest.

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12/31/10

Tomorrow marks four weeks since my first full marathon, four weeks since I’ve run a single step. The marathon was incredibly brutal and completely amazing all at the same time (I am working on a blog post about it…will hopefully finish it within the next year) and left my legs in such a state of disrepair that I haven’t run since.

But today was warm. And sunny. And gorgeous. And I just couldn’t say no to another run. So after getting way too little sleep last night and cleaning six houses in as many hours, and while knowing that I had a late night ahead of me (New Year’s Eve, after all!), I came home near four o’clock, changed into a pair of running shorts (yes, running shorts! at the end of December, imagine that), laced up my running shoes, marathon tag still wrapped around my laces, and bounded out the door. A short stretch at the end of the driveway later I headed west on Garrett Drive.

I began with a brisk walk to warm up and took an assessment as I went: left knee- fragile, both hamstrings- tight, i.t band- unpredictable, toes- good, spirits- high!

Within two minutes my excitement and curiosity about the run ahead and the restlessness that had been building within me for four weeks, had taken over and my brisk walk had turned into a brisk run. My plan had been to walk awhile, then run a slow steady pace with intervals of walking. But I must confess that in my moment (by moment, I mean around twenty-seven minutes) of weakness, I abandoned this plan and ran, with no walking, the rest of the three miles around the block and back to my house, averaging a nine minute mile. Oops.

The first few steps were stiff and awkward- like my legs had been incased in concrete. For several minutes each step was a struggle- a struggle to move my joints enough to propel myself forward, a struggle to lift my feet high enough to leave the ground. My legs felt as though they had been filled with lead, felt as though it had been years since I had moved them. I began to wonder if the entire run would feel this forced, wondered how long my gait would feel so…unnatural. My hips and glutes ached with every step, as though someone had taken a baseball bat to them moments before I began my run. My lungs were about the only thing functioning properly, the only thing not in suffering as the miles added up behind me. There was no gasping, no heaving, no burning chest or aching side or churning stomach. To my surprise, they felt as though I hadn’t missed a beat.

So cardiovascularly the entire run felt great, muscularly though…ugh.

Eventually most of the concrete got chipped away. And by the last mile the tightness in my hamstrings had diminished, the deep pain in my hips and glutes subsided and my gait felt at least a little closer to what I would consider normal.

What a thrill to be running again. Inspite of the physical discomfort, my mind stayed in a very positive place before the run, during and for the rest of the night after- my knee hadn’t given out, my i.t band hadn’t locked up, and after the first two minutes, I had run without walking…what more could one ask for? 🙂

As I closed in on my last half mile the road said to me, “Welcome home.”

“Thank you, old friend,” I said in return. “It is good to be back.”

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I remember this night, July 17th, 2001- my heart was a mess of emotions, my head, a murkey lake, darkened by sadness and confusion and dread. It was a year filled with change and loss and unknowns. I remember sitting down, so desperate for relief, and hoping that if I could just get the words out of my head and onto a piece of paper, that maybe they would stay on that paper, and leave me the heck alone. And so I wrote my first (and only)  poem (of sorts).

—————

Shadows

As the shadows swallow my tears

The darkness echoes my cry

And I ache

Drowning in a sea of pain

My heart is exhausted

My bones are weary with sorrow

As the shadows swallow my tears

And the darkness echoes my cry

Is this the end?

Is this the beginning?

I am terrified of the answer

Time is a thief

And it is stealing all that I love

All that I love and all that I have known

Leaves fall

And with them my world

Falling, crashing down around me

I am helpless

Unable to stop the falling of the leaves

Where will they land?

Why must they fall?

I am broken and bitter

Tired and terrified

Angry and alone

Every moment is bittersweet

—————

I also remember (on this same night, after writing my poem, having more thoughts still) placing my hands on the keyboard of my computer and typing any word or phrase or sentence that entered my brain. No order. Not a lot of thought. Just writing and writing. Unloading some more of my sorrows onto my tear stained desk, the clackety clack of my fingers on the keyboard, a steady, soothing sound to my achy, tormented soul.

—————

Why

what

I miss them

I miss it

I don’t understand

I hurt

I cry

I weep

Who can stop the hands of time?

When will the pain subside?

Who needs these thoughts?

Will life ever settle down?

I am so tired

Tired of feeling

Tired of grieving

Tired of breathing

Tired of struggling

I am mad

Mad at time

I am unsettled

Who am I?

What is my purpose?

What is my path?

Why must I struggle?

Why must I grieve?

Why must I feel?

What happens next?

I breathe emotion

I am at war with the world

Unsettled

Never satisfied

It’s just a melancholy day

Lord deliver me

Lord deliver me

—————

And when I read these words tonight, having not read them in many years (perhaps even, since the night that I wrote them) all I could think was- Thank you God for Your love and Your grace and Your faithfulness. Thank you God for the ability You have given us to grow and change and be healed. Thank you God that even in our darkest moments, when our hearts hurt so much they feel as though they will break, there is always hope for tomorrow. Thank you God for the peace I am living in today.

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my second born

By the time Granite was five days old, I knew my children were very, very different. This realization occured to me after a loooong, sleepless night spent with my second child. As the sun rose and I realized I had not slept at all I thought, “Oh man, what have I gotten myself into?” In fact, most of Granite’s first year, I am sad and slightly embarrassed to admit, was spent thinking that. As I dealt with his nursing problems, his eating problems, his digestive problems, his sleeping problems, his illnesses, his two hour screaming sessions, his defiance, his fussiness, his restlessness, his anger issues and our major communication problems, I could not help but think, “What have I gotten myself into!?” It was a rough, rough start to say the least.

Then spring rolled around (at this point Granite was somewhere around 12 months old). Things had gotten a little better, now that he was weaned and mobile and sleeping like a champ (twelve to fourteen hours every night, with a two to three hour nap every afternoon!). But things were not what I would describe as ‘good’. We still had huge communication problems; him trying to communicate and me not understanding and him getting furious that I didn’t know what he was wanting or saying. And me telling him what to do and him reacting in anger to any suggestions that did not one hundred percent agree with what he was already trying to do. And he could still be very fussy, restless and tempermental. So, our life had improved but there were still many, many moments of desperation, of unhappiness, of general overwhelmedness.

Until one afternoon when everything changed for me, and my life course, my perspective, my reality was changed forever.

We (Granite and I) were sitting in Ed Mikrut’s office. He is the “eastern/alternative/voodoo medicine man” that we have been seeing for well over a year now. (I’m not sure of his actual title, so forgive me, that may be a misrepresenation of him. Basically he encourages natural/alternative methods for pursuing wellness and dealing with physical and emotional illnesses and problems.)

Anyway, so we were sitting in Ed’s office again dealing with another sickness that Granite had picked up and come down with. Ed had finished testing Granite, given me what I needed to take care of Granite and I was about to gather our stuff to get ready to leave when Ed said, “Let me see him for a minute.” (note: Granite had been either fussing, crying, or screaming pretty much the entire session.) I handed the kid over, happy to not be holding a squirming, screaming child for a moment and watched as Granite slowly calmed down and got quiet in Ed’s lap. My jaw hit the floor (at least I think it did) and I stared in awe at my quieted child.

As this developed, I remember Ed said to me, “Something isn’t right here. Something is off with this little guy. I don’t think he’s just a fussy baby…I think there’s something going on inside him. Maybe if we figure out what it is then we can deal with it and make it better.”

After Ed made this statement he proceeded to ask me many, many questions; questions about my pregnancy, about Granite’s birth and about how I have dealt with and interacted with Granite, questions about Granite’s behavior at home, his interactions with other people and his reactions to different environments. And he listened. He listened as I answered his questions,  as I said things I’d never conciously thought about before, as I shared about all of the overwhelming emotions of the prior year. And he listened as I confessed that……I didn’t…really…like…my son.

And when I uttered these words, words I had never spoken out loud or even been willing to conciously admit, he waited. He waited as I cried. And cried. And cried. Cried because I was ashamed of my feelings towards my son and because I was sad that my son, who didn’t ask for any of this, had a mother who felt the way that I did.

And then he listened again as I, through my tears, realized and admitted that I wanted my second born to be like my first born- quiet, compliant, calm and easy going -and that when I had realized he was not, I had become so overwhelmed by, resentful towards and frightened about having to be his mother forever, I could barely function!

And then Ed spoke, or the Holy Spirit spoke through him, about taking it one day at a time, about embracing the challenge of being the mother of a spirited child, about me being the one to break the cycle of emotion between Granite and I, about Granite needing my acceptance and about what an incredible man Granite’s strength and spirit and passion, would one day make him. (and he said more but I cannot remember it all nor do it justice, though my memory is of him saying exactly what needed to be said, exactly what I needed to hear)

So I don’t know if it was the power of confessing these things that changed me, the words of wisdom that followed, or the combination of the two, but I left Ed’s office a different woman. And I swear, Granite left a different boy.

The moment I realized this difference was in the car on the way home. Granite was sitting in the seat behind me as I drove and I was lost in thought and still somewhat emotional. I pulled the mirror down to look at him, he was being quiet and I wanted to see what he was doing. And when I looked at my son through that mirror, I saw a different child. It was like I had on a new pair of glasses and, for the first time, was seeing things clearly. Instead of seeing a difficult, tempermental, anger filled wild child, I saw a precious boy who, while spirited and energetic, was just emotional because his mama did not accept him for who he was…and is. And my heart melted as I begged God (and Granite, though I’m not sure he really understood it) for forgiveness.

Our days have been different ever since. We still have our bad moments. And he will always have an energy and spirit that I don’t have or understand. But I have learned to appreciate him, enjoy him, even adore him. He brings so much life, so much hilarity, so much preciousness to our home and I thank God for the grace and wisdom that made it possible.

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