|Seven's second birthday|
Yesterday, I posted about the deafening roar of my struggle to come to terms with my grandfather's slow decline, and how it rocked some of the deepest places of my heart. I offered this personal glimpse into my soul by means of beginning to explain my long-term absence from this blog, which was once part of my daily existence.
But you knew there was more to it than that, right? You knew that it wasn't as simple as a woman grieving something lost but not yet gone. There had to be more. People's lives don't just go into tailspins based on one event, usually. Sometimes it happens, sure. But more often than not, there are a basketful of smaller things complicating that main event and leaving the swimmer treading water and looking for a lifeline.
In the post just prior to the one that left this blog hanging for months, I shared that we'd taken Seven in for a full workup to diagnose perhaps more fully the allergy issues that she was experiencing. Even I, the mother who'd somehow sense a frailty in this child from the very beginning, wasn't ready for the full weight of what the results held. Seven, it turns out, is allergic to pretty much the entire environment. No foods. Just trees--namely, those most commonly found in Western Washington. And mold. Yes, we got a lot of that, too. A long list of chemical sensitivities that, with a little research, were found to lurk in our foods, our clothing, our everything.
In short, sweet little Seven has her work cut out for her as she grows up, because memorizing such a long list of no-nos is going to take up a good bit of her time.
At first, we held ourselves on vigilant watch for anything that might be on the list. After a while, we realized that many things are, simply put, a losing battle. There is no way, for instance, to keep a toddler who is forbidden to play with plastic buckets, shovels, sieves, and watering cans to also forgo the amazing sticks that she sees on the ground all around her while she plays outside. I take that back--it may be possible, but it sure isn't fun. Indoors, things are much easier. But outside--where the kids spend pretty much their entire summer-- well, it was a season of choosing the lesser of two evils and living with the results.
We've acclimated now to our primarily plastic-free lifestyle. We still have stashes of the contraband here and there. The older boys have their Legos, of course-- stashed in the off-limits-to-little-people game room. And I just couldn't make Mani part with our massive collection of Rescue Heroes, even though I admit that, in my more educated state, I find myself shrinking away from putting any plastic anywhere for anyone. (Really, the stuff is that nasty. Research for yourself if you're curious.) It doesn't feel any more stressful to do things without plastic--or to keep Seven away from it-- than it did to do them with plastic, now. So in that regard, we've achieved new norm status.
Which is good. Because just as the allergy avalanche and the whirlpool of my grandfather's ill health took over my world, I discovered that I was pregnant.
Yes. Despite having felt firmly that Seven was a one-off blessing from the Lord, despite feeling amazingly satisfied with our crew as they stand, despite never even considering that I'd ever even buy another pregnancy test, let alone watch two lines form ...
I immediately asked close friends for prayer and started on the regiment that had done such a fabulous job of keeping Seven inside. Unlike my pregnancy with Seven, where I was full of joy and energy and just about bursting at the seams with the awe of it all, this time around has been far more subdued. A large part of it is simply to overwhelming busy that seems to rule our days. Jo is in 10th grade now, and the stakes of educating a child who will be heading to college or career in a mere couple of years are much higher. Having a special needs 5 year-old, a curious, bouncing 4 year-old, and a spitfire of a 2 year-old doesn't make my days any less complicated. Then there's the fundraising for our mission to Nepal, the weekly doctor's visits for my shots ... Some days, it feels like a whirlwind ride that I endure more than enjoy.
But still, I am taking the time to stop and be still. This little one inside is not one to go unnoticed, which helps a ton. He or she spends the bulk of every day wiggling, kicking, and writhing to keep my attention. I suspect that in a few short weeks, when we meet this child, he or she will have eyes wide open, a wail like a banshee, and a personality that resists taking no for an answer. I also suspect that, as child number eight, those are pretty good skills to be equipped with.
All of this brings you almost up to speed on the events of the past few months. Almost. Next up: some promising options in treating Oli, or, Why Mary Grace Flew All the Way to Philly While Pregnant and Sick.