Grief

Hallelujah, Jake is on break for Thanksgiving! Our family dynamic changes so much with him home and we get to tag team parenting.

Speaking of turkey day, I left the house early this morning and rounded the corner of our road to find a flock of 14 wild turkeys in the road. Watching turkeys fly is highly amusing and it made me smile thinking about how grateful they must be to have survived Thanksgiving 2020 without ending up on a table. I never imagined I would be rooting for a group of wild turkeys, yet here we are.

Ahh the majestic flying turkey. I snapped a picture to show Jake and seeing their awkward bodies trying to fly brings me joy, so I can only assume it will make you chuckle too. By the time I got my camera out over half had cleverly escaped into the woods.

I have come to the conclusion that if I were a bird, I would most definitely be the turkey in flight- awkwardly trying to act like I have the skill mastered but very clearly stumbling and falling my way through life.

Levi is changing by the minute. He is rounding out into a perfectly chubby little boy and he has such a creative mind. The weather is getting cooler meaning we are spending more time in the house, which really gets Levi’s creative and mischievous juices flowing. More on that one in a minute.

He has been taking it upon himself to do regular temperature checks and it oddly good at it. Whenever I ask him what it says he tells me “three”, so I guess we need to work on reading numbers haha.

And Malachi is perfectly content when we are all home together as a family. He likes going on drives and adventures, but is also happy at home watching a movie. Malachi is also growing, and with his increase in diaper sizes we are having trouble finding pants that fit him well. We ordered some adaptive pants for him from Kohl’s special needs line and I figured I would share it with you in case anyone else reading this could benefit.

They have velcro at the bottoms for easy AFO access and they have zippers on each hip so we can get them over his bulky diaper. They also have a higher waistline and roomier booty to accommodate a diaper.

This week I was feeling the walls closing in and took a drive up the river road to a small town in Georgia. We visited the apple orchard and went for a walk down a small town street, making sure to keep our distance from everyone else. Levi’s orthotics came in the mail and it seemed like a good opportunity to try them out.

But the most exciting adventure this week was an early Christmas present from a relative- a full size trampoline! We told Malachi about it when it was ordered but told him he had to keep it a secret from Levi- a job he took very seriously. When it arrived he was giddy with excitement, patiently waiting for daddy to put it together but oh so excited.

Since he is the oldest we let him get on it first, and as we walked down to the basement to go out to it Malachi was giggling with sheer anticipation. He has never been on an actual trampoline so we weren’t sure how things would go, but his reaction just blew us away.

He LOVES it. He engages all of his muscles in the sitting position with very limited support from one of us, and holds his entire body upright in a way we have never seen before. We didn’t even know he was capable of sitting like that. He loves when you really get him flying off the surface, enjoying the rough play.

Here is a sweet video of Malachi mid bounce:

The weather here has been beautiful so we are hoping to get a few more weeks of trampoline time before the cold weather hits.

Alright, now back to the mischievous Levi. There are many times throughout my day where he makes my heart race with his antics. Like this week when he shoved two goldfish crackers into Malachi’s mouth which he inhaled deep into the back of his throat before I could grab them. It was a scary few minutes but all is well.

But then there are times where he truly warms my heart. This week I heard him saying “Go” while I was cleaning the kitchen and I glanced over the couch to see him playing with Malachi. I filmed it to show Jake later, so I will share the tender moments with you:

He was playing catch with Malachi the same way Jake and I have modeled time and time again. My heart swelled with pride watching him show kindness to Malachi and engage him in a game. I took this video and praised Levi for being so sweet before I went back to doing the dishes.

But as I did the dishes I felt the grief start to creep in.

This week I spoke briefly with a college class in a Q and A special needs parenting session and one of them asked the question: “How did you grieve when you found out that your children would have challenges?” It is a great question, and takes some deep processing to pinpoint the answer.

For Levi we most definitely grieved when we received the diagnosis. We just had so many built up expectations for normalcy and when our steps led us off that path we grieved intensely.

But for Malachi the grief didn’t start manifesting until several years in. We just felt so lucky that he survived against all odds…instead of grief we felt so incredibly blessed! And we still feel so blessed to have such amazingly unique kids.

But the grief started sneaking in after a few years as the reminders became more obvious that our journey wouldn’t match everyone elses.

The grief tends to hit at such weird times. As I did the dishes thinking about Levi’s game with Malachi I started to think about future conversations I will need to have with Levi about his brother. Will he ever mourn that his brother can’t throw the ball to him? Will he ever play the comparison game with his friend’s siblings and start his own journey of grief over the differences?

After dwelling for a few minutes I realized how foolishly I was wasting my time imagining something that may not ever be an issue. The devil is a thief, and he loves to steal my joy from beautiful moments like this one.

And as I often do, I had to make the decision to turn my dark thoughts into an opportunity to grow closer to the Lord. Whatsoever things are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, praiseworthy, excellent…those are the things God’s Word tells us to think on.

I started to think about those future conversations and realized that Malachi will help bring the Bible to life for Levi! When we talk about the lame man, the blind man, the mute man- those characters will be brought to life, and their miraculous healings will speak so much to his little heart as he can imagine his own brother receiving his healing.

I think about the talks we will have about heaven, and how Levi will grow up in a home where death isn’t feared, but rather it is celebrated as we get to rejoice in total healings!

The Bible tells us in Revelation 21:4 “‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

We have a very unique job of parenting in such a way that we prepare Levi’s heart for the day Malachi will be called to heaven. And we have the ability to lay the groundwork for that day being a huge part in his testimony and journey with Christ.

Oh how real God and His mighty hand are going to be for our little Levi. And yes, there will be some hard conversations mixed in where we get the chance to remind Levi of Isaiah 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, declared the Lord.”

But what a beautiful and powerful testimony Malachi has, and watching it intertwine with Levi’s is a beautiful gift.

When you refocus your thoughts a bit, even moments of grief can be much needed reminders of hidden blessings.

Much love,

Leah

3 thoughts on “Grief

  1. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for continuing to write. It’s like you’re speaking exactly what I need to hear. You’ve helped me more than you can ever imagine. Much love and prayers from the Bibee’s!

    Like

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