As I sit here and dwell on how to begin this entry I can’t help but get distracted by a very active and feisty Levi who is currently kicking the fire out of my ribs….but praise the Lord for those aggressive jabs! His new favorite activity is kicking at big brother Malachi when he is resting too snugly on momma’s belly.
Levi passed all of his tests this week. He was reactive in his non-stress tests on Monday and Friday and his cord blood flow and fluid levels checked out well in his ultrasound on Wednesday. We are at week 34 (which was the shallow end of our 34-36 week goal). We will take measurements on Wednesday and determine if he was able to hit the gains we are hoping since his last measurement check. We should also be setting a date for delivery at my appointment tomorrow.
I figured it was about time for another awkward baby bump picture…
Malachi made it to school on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday this week. There was some sickness in his classroom so we decided to keep him home on Friday to play it safe! Instead he and mommy went to the doctor and then on a Panera date where we shared some broccoli cheddar soup and a big cookie. He haphazardly threw the first cookie onto the ground (his new favorite game which he thinks is hilarious). Momma was tough loving him explaining quietly into his ear that when we throw cookies on the floor we don’t get to eat them; that’s when a very sweet elderly man nearby came and handed him another cookie. Malachi grinned at me sheepishly….little stinker haha.
Speaking of cookies, I made some pumpkin cookies this week and thought I would see if Malachi could eat them. He absolutely loved them and had one each morning for breakfast. This was his first bite…
The truth is that I am already having some major sadness spells when it comes to picturing the six weeks post-op. While I will absolutely cherish my bonding time with Levi, being “unavailable” to hold and care for Malachi is just going to break my heart. I was explaining this to a friend this week and couldn’t stop tearing up just realizing how confusing that time will be for him.
Goodness how I love his sweet little spirit and his cuddles. We have been spending most of the week banking snuggles and rocking on the front porch- his new favorite place.
We did, however, have one moment this week that bothered me more than it should have! I went to pick Malachi up from school and when he heard me walk in he closed his little eyes tight. He clearly did not want to leave school and figured if he couldn’t see me then I couldn’t see him and take him home. At first I thought it was funny, then after a few minutes my sensitivity sparked when he wouldn’t look at me. I asked him if he wanted to go home and he said “no” with his frown/no face. I had to bribe him into leaving by telling him we were going to see daddy, to which he opened his eyes bright and indicated he was ready to go. Ouch!
Malachi has been such a big boy lately. He is sleeping better than ever, praise the Lord! He has been sleeping 6-7 hours straight and then laying in the bed with me and watching cartoons, more often than not drifting back to sleep for another hour or so. The new house has made all the difference as he has his side of the house to himself and no street noise. He is also eating ferociously making us think he is going through a growth spurt.
Malachi is also desperately seeking his own levels of independence which is amazing and heartbreaking at the same time. He wants so badly to sit up and stand unassisted but just can’t physically do those things. Anytime he is in his wheelchair he is trying to figure out how to get out of it, and has been throwing his body into dangerous positions attempting to be big and independent. When Jake or I are holding him he wants to stand up but still can’t support his body. We are trying to encourage those attempts as much as possible but it can be heartbreaking to see how much the desire is there but the ability is not.
There is so much of a typical four year old boy trapped inside that body, and it is such a parenting challenge to try to find ways to help him be the big boy that he wants to be.
He is continuing to ride his horse each week, which I think has been great for his level of independence. Yes, he has a therapist on there with him at all times but he gets to do something without mom, dad, or a piece of equipment supporting him and I think he cherishes those moments.
As our countdown to Levi ticks on, Jake and I have been making arrangements in our other duties to make sure that things can continue without us for several weeks. We have found church friends who are willing to cover the youth group through the new year and I have been cramming in some final lessons that the Lord has placed on my heart for the kids.
I started a new study with them several weeks back about the providence of God- something that completely fascinates me. God can take any situation, no matter how terrible, and use it for His glory.
We have been going through different stories in the Bible where God’s providence is clear as day- like the stories of Esther, Naomi/Ruth, and Jacob. For the last two weeks we covered the story of Joseph and looked at all the ways God’s hand was on Joseph’s life; even in the times when horrible circumstances surrounded him.
It has been a great opportunity to teach the teens about mountaintops and valleys, and the importance of trusting God regardless of where we find ourselves. Sometimes those valleys that we despise are preparing us for a coming mountaintop, more glorious than we could ever imagine.
The story of Joseph frequently uses the phrase “…and the Lord showed favor on Him…”
This line stopped me in my tracks as I reflected back on the many times in my life that I have seen the Lord show unmerited favor on Jake and I. There have been so many times that God’s providence appeared in Jake and I’s lives in such obvious ways that we couldn’t ignore.
I often times wonder to myself why God chose us for this daunting task of raising Malachi…a job we are so ill equipped for. And truth be told, I may never find the answer to that on this side of heaven. But my prayer is that regardless of our circumstances and trials in raising Malachi that the Lord will continue to show favor on our family, as He has repeatedly done in the past.
I say this often in our home, but we are uniquely blessed. So many people tend to look at our family with eyes of pity, but through our son we are able to see a love that not many get to experience. We are able to see a pure joy that the world can often taint in others. We are able to see so much of the character of Christ through Malachi…and he challenges us daily to put aside our selfish wants and desires and love the way Christ does.
A high school classmate of mine has five daughters of her own, all under the age of 6. She uses a hashtag in her social media posts that I have grown to love and it is #graceonrepeat.
I love that mentality as I see it daily in my own life. Grace on repeat. Daily I find myself disgusted at my selfishness, and daily I find God extending his grace to me. We are not called to a life of perfection, but rather called to a life worthy of the calling. A life that constantly grasps at Christ…never fully perfecting or mastering the role as a child of God.
As I think about my life with Malachi I get excited about the ways that God’s providence will manifest itself throughout his lifetime. And I look forward to those Ah-hah moments that remind me that He was working behind the scenes the entire time…making certain that His will would prevail.
May we always remember to be grateful for the many times the Lord has showed favor on the Carroll family.
Jake, Leah, Malachi, and tiny man Levi