Warning: There is Joy Ahead...and some Pizza January 20 2017, 14 Comments

I crawled in bed to go to sleep, but I can’t.  It’s not because of worry either.  It’s because I have so much joy pinned up inside, I must let it escape through my fingertips.  So here I am with an open laptop, a blank page and a smile.

First, let me caveat this by saying, Remy and Sander bring me equal parts joy.  I just don’t write about them as much here because it would feel more like bragging or something rather than sharing?  BUT don’t think for a min they don’t make me sentimentally or bust-a-gut teary multiple times a week  They have my heart just as much as Bryer and Arrow.  That probably should go without saying, but just in case, I wanted to say it anyway:)

So much good stuff went on tonight that I want to document.  The first good thing was Justin asked Remy and Sander if they wanted to go with him to worship team practice.  They accepted and soon after dinner the three of them scooted out the door along with 2 of 3 bedtimes (fist bump).  That left me with a messy baby who with Dyson like force was inhaling the frozen pizza dinner as if it was his only meal of the day. Let’s pick it up from there.

I sprinkle an array of cut up fruit to suffice until more pizza cools.  He sees me testing a bite and his squeal went up 3 decibels and his feet start kicking like an excited dog’s tail.  I dump the small pizza bites amongst the picked over blueberries and raspberries. Fist over fist it goes in.  

I watch him pick it up, shove it in and chew.  Never does he accidentally pick up a blueberry, leftover grape or raspberry.  He only has eyes for the pizza.  Pretty soon all the pizza bites are gone and his feet kick and the squealing starts up again.  He looks around.  He finds a small lone bite stuck to the side of his chair. With precision he grabs it and victoriously lands it in his mouth.  He looks at me happy and proud. “Da DaNa DAAA ahhhhhh!” He finds another stuck to his bib.  In it goes.  He is so pleased.

And I am more than pleased.  Besides the fact that he is feeding himself, chewing and swallowing, my mind notes that he is showing preference. He is communicating he wants more.  He is being demanding.  He is grabbing for his drink.  Thank you, Lord.

Time for a bath.  The water turns on and he’s squealing, jumping out of his skin to get in the tub. He’s curious about the water as it falls from the faucet and tries to grab it as it slips through his fingers.  There are giggles when I squirt him with the toys.  He turns in circles on his bottom following the tug boat that I swirl around his back.  The best part…. he throws a fit when I lift him from the water and into his towel jack-knifing his body because he wants more bath time.  Thank you, Jesus.

Diapers and PJ’s are next.  He easily squirms away from my lotion slathered clutch.  Bare tush in the air, he crawls away to pull up on the chair.  He looks over his shoulder and smiles.  I wrestle him into his PJ’s all the while he is playing peek-a-boo with his green dino towel. "Where’s Arrow?  Oh there he is!" Belly laughs follow.  To most, it’s a seemingly elementary baby game. But to me, it’s way more.  Praise you, Lord.

After two failed attempts at putting him down to sleep, I go in for the third time.  I lift him from his crib and try settling him in a cradle hold while patting and singing. It’s not working.  He whines and pushes himself up and away, twisting himself outward.  I sit in the chair trying a different position.  He’s not having that either. There we wrestle for a few more minutes in the dimness of the night light. Suddenly, he is quiet and begins babbling as he reaches across my body to the side table and grabs a book.  Happily he babbles something and pats the book. “Oh you want to read a ba-ba-ba book??!  Ok!”  I pull the small lamp cord and we begin turning pages.

Next, he wants down, so I just give in entirely and decide to throw bedtime to the wind.  Let’s play, bud. For the next 30 minutes or so we play.  Hard.  He is louder than loud.  We wrestle.  He “gets” me.  I “get” him. I see glimpses of a baby Sander reaching for the spotlight.  I match his squeals and delight, then I quiet and play “dead”.  He matches my quiet and then suddenly screams in my face and I react.  He belly laughs. He dives into my neck for hugs and plants wet kisses on my check over and over.  In the excitement, he starts to bite my arm.  I react quickly, sternly saying “Noo.  No bite.”  He has the tendency to bite me while nursing and I have said this to him often.  But this time, he stops immediately, looks at me and his smile falls away into a pouted lip.  He begins to cry.  He feels scolded for the very first time ever.  He puts his forehead down on my shoulder, then lifts up again looking at me in the eyes.  His lip pouts again.  I have hurt his feelings.  Thank you for this progress, Jesus.  

Finally, the eye rubs begin and I know it’s time to try bedtime again.  He’s pats my face and grabs my bottom lip as he drifts off to sleep within 5 minutes.  

I stand there next to his crib before I lay him down and say a version of the prayer I say over him every night.

"Lord, thank you for this sweet boy. Bless him with deep, sound, restorative sleep tonight.  Keep your hand on his little brain holding back the seizures to allow growth and development to flourish.  Continue to make new pathways and re-work around the tubers. Make new connections.  Thank you.  Thank you! Thank you for the joy of this evening!  You’ve encouraged and continue to settle my heart. For this answered prayer, I am so grateful. I am humbled by the blessing that is Arrow."

I sit on the couch for a few quiet minutes before the others come home. My eyes are lifted to a leftover Christmas decoration that sits in our built-in shelves.  In red block letters it spells out J-O-Y.  I smile. Yes. I notice the figure that sits on top, an Angel that embraces a baby in the same way I embraced Bryer after he left us for heaven.  It is a treasured gift.  I remember that moment.

And I wonder...would I have taken as much delight and experienced the depth of joy that I just had with Arrow if not for Bryer's life?  If not for this affliction of Tuberous Sclerosis on Arrow’s life? I’d like to think I would, but I can’t be certain.  

So, I will soak up the joy of today and I will remember when the trials of tomorrow come, there is also wonderful joy ahead.  1 Peter 1:6