I (Amy) just got back from a WONDERFULLY refreshing 2-day getaway with my husband!! Nanny & Papa met us halfway & took Caroline back to their house for a few days (where she had LOTS of fun!!) while Marc & I stayed in a hotel and got to do whatever WE wanted!!! I think as a parent (of young kids, especially), you become soooo locked into the "schedule." There are so many responsibilities in a given day & you've just naturally re-arranged your entire day to meet that schedule. And then... we're given a day without a schedule!?! REALLY?!? We can go to a movie during "dinnertime"??? We can shop at Ikea for hours because there's no fussy toddler throwing herself on the floor because she's ready to go?? (not my child.... ha ha) We aren't bound to our room from 1:00-4:00pm for nap or 8:00pm-6:00am at night??? Do you see the FREEDOM???
And so we did! We shopped. We ate out. We went out for pizza at 9:00 at night!!! Just because we COULD!! We slept until 9:00 in the morning! It was glorious!! Thank you for the best gift you could've given us, Nanny & Papa! A chance to ENJOY life again. And breathe.
With all we've been going through & the demanding cooking that it requires, there has just been no break. And getting away was sooooo good for my sanity. (can you tell?) :)
As Marc & I talked across the table at dinner one night (yes, we were able to have real, adult conversation as opposed to the usual tag-team-to-keep-a-certain-little-one-in-her-chair-and-eating-what-she-should-without-her-getting-upset-and-screaming-so-loud-it-upsets-everyone-in-the-restaurant type of conversation), we started thinking back to how all of this health crisis started with Caroline. As we tend to look at what IS today, we forget to keep the big picture in mind. And that, too, was encouraging.
I forget that before all of this gluten-free, hardcore nutrition stuff, I had a child who consistently had about 4 soft, mushy diapers a DAY. (sorry if that's tmi for you.) That was for as long as we can really remember. She was our first child, so we didn't know anything was even wrong at the time. Her complexion started looking horrible at some point. Pale, pale face. Red patches on her cheek. Dark circles under the eyes. I couldn't see it well at the time, but as I look back in pictures even before the hair started falling out, you could see it in her face. Something was going wrong in her gut long before the first hair ever fell out. And when it started falling out, it slowly fell. And fell. And a few months later, every eyelash and eyebrow was gone.
And as I get caught up in the day-by-day issues (she still has dry, inflamed skin patches on her legs that come and go, the few remaining hairs from before on her head are still falling out, poop is not as firm as it was a month ago, etc.), there is still progress in the long-term. She has 1-2 bm's a day. Good. She has eyelashes and eyebrows again! (even though they're white right now, I'll take 'em!) She has little tiny white peach fuzz on her head that can be seen in the right light. Good. Her complexion and overall "color" look much more healthy. Good. Something is going in reverse in that little body of hers. It's just a lot slower than we'd all like it to be.
One of the things I looooove to do now on a long date is to go to a bookstore with Marc, pick up all the books dealing with autoimmune issues/digestive disorders/ etc., and then sit down in peace and quiet together, perusing the pages for more ideas on ways to help my sweet daughter. I've only been afforded this opportunity a couple of times in the past 6 months, but it is wonderful when I can. Well, this time around as I looked through numerous books on helping the intestines heal, I couldn't help but be quite proud of myself at almost every step of the way... "yep, I'm doing that!" "Yep, we're doing that, too!" It was so encouraging--- each page seemed to scream at me, "Amy, you're on the right track. You're doing great."
Sometimes it's just nice to get away, get a fresh perspective on things and remember the big picture. And the even bigger picture is that this suffering is not an end in itself, but a means toward glory for His purposes and His glory. He is accomplishing great things, even among the pain and sacrifice. And I'm thankful for the moments like this when I am able to feel it is true, even though I know it is true regardless of my feelings. I pray that as I come back into the "real world" of responsibilities--starting in less than 8 hours when my sweet princess will awaken-- that these things will be just as clear to me then as they are now. Sweet dreams!