seeking sleep and watching penguins

Sleep has evaded me as of late. Often, both Rachel and Janneke do not sleep straight from 10-6, but when they are dealing with teething or colds, their sleep patterns are even more complicated. Simply put, there is no pattern. There is no sleep. Instead, there are German penguin songs and Eric Herman (children's singer) videos on YouTube. Yes, the screen seems to distract both girls enough to prevent the crying and the fussing. But, how does a mom sleep while her little one is surfing the Net?

Nothing like the love of a big sister to comfort you
when you are not feeling well.

Today, Janneke seemed to settle more, and she has been sleeping most of the day. That does not necessarily mean she will sleep through the night, but it is a great sign that she is mending. Meanwhile, Rachel is also quite tired because she wakens each time Janneke cries out. In fact, she was trying to nap while we swam in the very warm NPCC pool as part of her preschool program.

So, in the middle of the night, while Janneke surfed YouTube, I would split the screen and look for special needs resources. Hey, I would have rather read a book, but that would put me to sleep while trying to console Janneke. There are some amazing websites online. There are also a lot of blogs. It is interesting reading the perspectives of other parents who are raising children with special needs. Some parents' views made my heart ache, particularly those who seem so angry or bitter.

I can't imagine their journey, for their childs' needs are different from mine. I do know and am reminded that we are blessed with an incredible family and community. A community of which many share the same faith in the same God. We are carried by prayers and encouraged when we feel so crappy. Sharing the struggles divides the weight of the burden. So, I guess I am saying, even when I have a lonely day, I don't know what it is like to walk alone. That's why I ache for these parents.

But I wonder too if the bitterness happens so gradually over time that you don't see it in yourself. Will I become bitter? Our journey has only just begun. Where will we be 10 years from now in our perspective?

In my daily routine, I go back to the prayer of serenity often. A copy of it sits above my sink, and the lines I find myself rereading are - Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to his Will (and it continues).

The whole idea of surrendering to God's Will seems backwards or even absurd in this time of "seeking and using the power within" or "harnessing your spiritual energy." It is not easy to surrender. In fact, it's very difficult.

But, when I trust that our future is in God's hands, the pressure is off of me to make things work. Amen! I make too many daily mistakes to even imagine succeeding in managing my future.

I still remember my dad encouraging me with the words found in Power of the Powerless (Christopher deVinck) -

I asked my father, "How did you care for Oliver for thirty-two years?"
"It was not thirty-two years," he said. "I just asked myself, 'Can I feed Oliver today?' and the answer was always, 'Yes, I can.'"

So, we take the days one at a time. We can make the most of our excuse of sleeplessness - comes in handy when I forget family birthdays or the meat frying on the stove while I have Janneke at the doctor.

While the meat fried innocently on the stove,
I was on the other side of the city at Janneke's umpteenth hearing test.
She was able to have one ear tested.
We return in a few weeks to see about the other ear.

There is always something to laugh about - "Mom, when will I NOT have a milk moustache after drinking a glass of milk?" [me] "Well, maybe after lots of practice." Pause. "Actually, I am okay with a milk moustache. It looks cool."

Our kids keep us dancing. As desperate and crappy as I might feel during sleep strikes, I keep looking ahead for that better day. I anticipate the love from the girls, and both Em and Soph keep us hopping. Thanks to them, "Dynamite" (Taio Cruz) was blaring the other morning when I stepped out of the shower. And, I can't seem to forget the German penguin song either.

Cousin Aleah, six months older, asks, "May I have this dance?"

Puzzle time with Uncle Tim, Caleb, and Nella

Aleah was fascinated with our equipment -
How do I make this work, Janneke?

Peace to you for the moments of restlessness and patience to you when you are frustrated with life. As I publish this post now the day after I started it, Janneke did sleep for six hours straight. A gift, indeed.