Saturday, September 19, 2009


Sometimes I just have to laugh at myself. You'd think I'd be used to this by now, but it never ceases to amaze me how quickly I can zoom from the depths of despair to the heights of happiness (and back to despair again, but let's not think about that now). ;)

Although it's hard for me to objectively judge the overall tone of this blog in recent weeks, I think it's been obvious that this hasn't been the easiest time for me. With titles like Worse and Hard Times A-Comin' and with other posts that might not state it so blatantly but nevertheless reflect discouragement, I've tried to stay honest--sometimes painfully so--while at the same time balancing my forthrightness with the immense gratitude I have as I consider how extremely blessed I am. I often feel like a juggler, but these days I have felt like a tightrope walker, too. A juggler on a tightrope. Not an easy place to be, not one in which I've felt successful. When I wrote yesterday's post, I felt like in my role as juggler, I was dropping balls all over the place, and in my role as tightrope walker, I was losing my balance and about to fall myself. What a difference a day makes!

Last evening was Jeff's family night, and he wanted us to go over the mountain to the Treasure Mountain Festival in Franklin, West Virginia. At one point during the afternoon, I considered asking him if I could just stay home because I was SO TIRED. (How many times have I written that recently?) I quickly talked myself out of that however, but my expectations were still fairly low for the evening. I was so wrong. A few things happened that dramatically changed my outlook on life.

First, when we got to Franklin, Shav was ready to eat so I sat in the van and nursed him while Jeff and the other boys played on a playground right beside where we parked. The peace I felt as I fed Shav and watched the others playing was sublime. The evening was beautiful with the golden sunshine lighting everything up even as long shadows were being cast. Josiah and David scampered like young, happy goats around the park and over the playground equipment. Jeff cared so tenderly for Tobin (who ADORES Jeff more than ever before and gets so excited when Daddy is with him). I loved watching them and thought again how precious these years are when the children are young and so easy to hold close to us. A rowdy group of young teenagers came around then, reminding me all the more how much I treasure my sons and this phase in their lives. These are golden days, and I will not let fatigue blind me to that fact.

Second, the very best part of road trips is the time to talk with Jeff while we're driving; and yesterday was no exception. Not surprisingly, we've both had our parenting hats so firmly on our heads during the past two months that it's been hard to remove them so we can wear the spouse caps for a while. While the boys listened to children's CDs or fell asleep, Jeff and I were able to talk and talk about many things; and that connection was priceless.

Third, we just had fun! It was so pleasant to be out together as a family, doing something different, visiting a new place, exploring uncharted territory, making a fresh memory. The boys were generally cooperative as we ate our carnival food and wandered through the craft fair, and we all had a great time. I was surprised, by the way, at how many people commented on our little band of boys. I don't know if it was because we now have four children...or because they're all boys...or because everyone could see how wonderful they are ;)...but for some reason, quite a few people wanted to draw us into conversation about our sons.

All in all, it was a fantastic evening with only one drawback: that mountain gets me every time. I was feeling so carsick by the time we got home and could hardly wait for the car to stop--just stop!--so I wouldn't have to feel motion anymore. Riding home over those twisting roads in the dark made me feel like I was going through one very long tunnel on a roller coaster. Ugh. Anyway, back to the good stuff... :)

During the car ride, I had shared with Jeff some of my frustrations: obviously, Shav not sleeping long stretches at night was at the top of the list, but besides that, I was also a little discouraged that Tobin wasn't really walking yet. Lo and behold, in both of those areas, we had major turn-arounds today!!

Shav ate last night around 10:30 or so, then slept until close to 3:00 AM (I think...the exact times are fuzzy in my head). I let him fuss some, but his crying was never constant or the hysterical, hard crying that indicates he's either in some kind of distress or just plain mad. :) After a while (can't remember how long exactly), he stopped crying! I waited...held my breath...listened to him slurping noisily as he sucked and gnawed on his fist (hooray for self-soothing!)...and finally concluded that he had gotten himself back to sleep. Wow! I heard him fuss for an even shorter time soon after 5:00 AM, but he again settled himself down. Finally at 5:55 AM, he cried again; and I got him up to feed him (and you nursing moms know what a literal relief that was to me since the first night with no feeding in the middle brings a peculiar kind of pain!). So about 7 and 1/2 hours from one feeding to the next. Yippee!!!!!!!!!!! I'm fully aware that we may have setbacks along the way as he continues to work on his sleep habits, but this was a huge step in the right direction and I couldn't be more thrilled--and thankful.

The victories continued today as Tobin surprised me by walking more than he ever had before--and with no coaxing from anyone. This morning, he just decided to stand up and walk around! His steps are still fairly slow, but it was definitely better than he's ever done before--much, much better. I was so proud of him! Just last night I was questioning Jeff, "What am I doing wrong that he's not walking? When will he ever walk? Do you feel worried about it?" And then today, Tobin proved that he's doing just fine--simply developing at his own pace. Why was I concerned? :) I think that he's been helped in this area by us spending more time holding his hands and walking with him and--even more--by the new-to-us walker that Julia brought the other day. Tobin has really enjoyed that thing, and I think it's helped his confidence tremendously. It's so much fun to see him walk! :)


Before I end for tonight--and before I forget these things--I want to make note of a few inspirational items that have encouraged my soul during these past few weeks. God is so faithful to provide spiritual food; even when we feel like we're too tired to do much preparation for the "food," He lavishes us with a feast of words of truth that bring life to our spirits!

I've been lifted up by...

~ this post from Theresa at Heavenly Glimpses: she writes about the importance of God's Word, and then asks, "Have you actively gathered your manna this morning?"

~ manna on one day: I Chronicles 16:11, "Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always."

~ manna on another day: Deuteronomy 33:12, "Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him; for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders."

~ this post from Polly at The Trinity Chronicles included this quote from Nancy Leigh DeMoss and was particularly helpful when I felt like all I could handle was my at-home duties but I wanted to do so much more and serve in so many other ways: "Frustration is the by-product of attempting to fulfill responsibilities God does not intend for us to carry. Freedom, joy, and fruitfulness come from seeking to determine God's priorities for each season of life and then setting out to fulfill those priorities, in the power of His Spirit, realizing that He has provided the necessary time and ability to do everything that He has called us to do."

~ another post from Polly, this one having to do with the very important idea of living faithfully a hidden life


Just for fun, here's a picture of a scene in our kitchen recently. One of David's daily responsibilities is putting away the clean silverware from the dishwasher, and not too long ago, Tobin decided that he wanted to get involved, too. Great! Start training them early to help is what all the "experts" say, so, by all means, Tobin, you can certainly take part in this! :) He sits on the floor, picks up the various pieces of silverware, then hands them to David who puts them away in the drawer. This sounds so simple and wonderful; but in reality, there's a lot of "No, Tobin, don't put the spoon in your mouth" and "David, take the forks gently from him" and "Clean silverware does not belong on the (dirty) floor" and "Don't use your feet to pick up the silverware!" But this is where the training begins: teaching such important lessons as the need for each person in the family to be involved in helping out and the best way to cooperate when two or more people are working together on a task. With the way time is flying by, it won't be more than the blink of an eye before Tobin will be the one standing there and Shav will be sitting on the ground giving him the silverware to put away!


Tonight as I fall into bed, I say a special prayer of thanksgiving: for the progress I've seen in the last 24 hours, and for the hope I have that all of us in my dear little family will continue to grow and develop in all the ways God has for us.


Jolanthe said...

Davene -

I had to go back through my blog archives to check exactly when it was...but Kaleb was 19 months when he was walking too. Zachary was also late {and both seemed so GLARINGLY late in comparison to the girls at 9 and 10 months}.

Hang in there girl! :) It'll come and come quickly too. You are a wonderful mom to those boys and doing an amazing job ~ and so glad that you got some much needed rest after a fun, fun time with family!

Patti said...

I love so much about this post. We also are trying to give the kids meaningful (albeit menial) jobs to do around the house and the utensils are one of Harper's tasks. Just this week Hudson decided he might like to help and boy, things like this are so labor intensive (for me) at the beginning that it is so tempting to just send them off to play and do it myself. BUT, of course, it is not really the result that we should focus on here. It is the process that is valuable and that will, someday soon, pay a dividend. And not just in properly put away (ie not licked or dropped on the floor or brandished like swords) utensils.

Hooray for Shav self-soothing and sleeping a longer stretch!

Sally said...

Oh, this was so good to read! I think it is so true that God gives us the grace we need, and Shav sleeping a long stretch was some of God's grace to you right now. He is faithful, and I love seeing it over and over again. I'll still be praying for you.

Margie said...

Lovely. All. I especially identified with the getting out part. So often when I feel too tired to make any additional effort, I discover that changing the scene also changes my perspective. I'm happy for the peeks at something new you're seeing in Shav and Tobin.