The gang is back from their trip. Oh, the fun they had with their first time tubing, trip to the sites around the Twin Cities, a little gopher hunting, and lots of laughs with their cousin Lachlan! (Thanks to Emily and Abby for the photos.) My story of being without electricity over the weekend paled in comparison to their adventures. I was well taken care of by neighbours and friends, but it was good to welcome both the power and the rest of the family back by Saturday night.
Yes, it was a different kind of week. Another reminder of how sometimes we function as two families: one parent with the two older girls and one parent with the two younger girls. Ralph took Emily and Sophia (with his brother Bernie and daughter Abby) out to see family in Minneapolis for the week. I stayed home with Rachel and Janneke (and the nurses and respite staff).
We are thankful for the support in place, so one of us can take Em and Soph out. As siblings of sisters with special needs, their day-to-day routine is affected - and somewhat limited. Yet, when I think about other families with "normal" children whose ages range from 15 to 3 yrs., planning family outings can be complicated for them too. A teen and toddler do not necessarily choose the same fun.
We are conscious of how our family circumstance plays a role in what Em and Soph perceive as normal or possible. We don't want our girls to grow up with a bitterness about their sisters, nor do we want them to feel guilty for wanting some of the same plans as other families around them. People often tell us that our older girls are going to grow up so compassionate because of their sisters. I don't buy that theory as solid. I hear all kinds of perspectives from adults who grew up in homes with special needs. The disability may play a role, but there is so much more: anger, grief, denial, acceptance, divided loyalties, resiliency, perseverance, creativity.... all these factor into the big picture.
In the end, we know we are not perfect. We've made mistakes, and we will make more. We are thankful for the grace from God that enables all of us to keep moving forward, forgiving each other and reminding us that joy is a choice.
This week? Well, the trampoline is up again. After a summer off (due to last year's renovations), we are back to bouncing. Who says you can't bounce with a feed pump?
Rachel is dealing with an ear infection, but she is mending. She visited the doctor earlier this week, and I was saddened/encouraged by her cognitive development as shown in our visit. When we pulled into the parking lot of the clinic, she began to panic. When we pulled into the clinic room, she stiffened up, made distressing sounds and kept turning her head to study the ear/nose/throat tools that were hanging on the wall. She knew why we were there and what was going to happen. The doc on call was super with Rachel. She saw the distress in Rachel's face and spoke directly to her, in a soothing tone. I am thankful when the disability plays a positive role in the girls' treatment, reminding people that the girls' cues may appear different, but they are still responding.
We welcome the cool weather of this week, and we continue to enjoy the opportunities this season gives of being outside.
Peace to your homes this week,