Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Moving is a crazy thing, you guys.  It feels anything but natural.  And it's toil.  Pure, unadulterated TOIL.

At least this was only an across-town move for us.  And thankfully we'd been preparing for a bit of a downsize by learning up on minimalism.  (I'm sure this will be another blog post in the future...)

So when it came to the actual move, things went relatively smooth.  Marc's mom and niece came into town to help us, and we collected quite a crew of helpers that we couldn't have done it without.  (So, so thankful!)  I felt like we were out of one house and into the next one by the end of the day.  Sure, it was a mess, but I felt like we were surviving pretty well.

What I didn't realize was just how difficult this move would be on my sweet girl.  

I guess I was a little naive since it wasn't going to affect her school or her church.  Those things wouldn't change. But since the timing of the move happened less than a week from kindergarten ending, it turned out to be one too many transitions for Caroline.

We moved during a school day (Thursday), so she literally left one home in the morning, and came "home" to another one that afternoon.  Though it was "exciting," over the next few days I watched my little girl crumble to pieces.  

She wasn't sleeping well in a new place.  (Who does?)  But suddenly she was acting out with an intense temper, lashing out at us in alarming rates.  Who IS this child?! Marc and I wondered.  Caroline has always been a strong-willed child, but this was beyond anything we'd seen before.  Nevertheless, we figured school was soon ending, the house would soon be in order, and I was hoping we could just brace ourselves and get through it.

But things continued to spiral down.  

It all hit me as I was driving her to school one morning, and Caroline was upset that she didn't have time to fix her wig to wear to school.  But instead of typical five-year-old disappointment, things quickly escalated to hysteria.  The girl couldn't even catch her breath.

I HATE SCHOOL!  (she's never uttered that a day in her life, mind you...)
I WANT HAIR!!!!!!!!"

Ugh.  Dagger through the heart. 

I didn't know what to say.  I tried saying the things that any loving mama would say in the moment.  But honestly, when it comes to alopecia and your daughter being BALD, there is no script of what to say. 

But fortunately, this meltdown had nothing to do with hair.  And I knew it.

This had everything to do with a girl crying out to me in desperation as everything in her world was being ripped out from underneath her.

She couldn't stop whining long enough to listen.  Her hysterical shrieking trumped any bit of compassion I was trying to introduce into this conversation.  If I opened my mouth to say a word, she simply screamed louder.

So in my own desperation while I'm driving, I began praying out loud.  "God, Caroline and I are having a really rough time right now," I started out, trying to talk over the "I'm so ugly! I'm so ugly! I'm so ugly!" being chanted at full volume from the back seat.  Regardless, I continued calling out to the Lord for help.  

By the time we pulled into school, Caroline's eyes were bloodshot and she had screamed herself almost to complete exhaustion.  We said our goodbyes, she shut the door, and I couldn't hold it in any longer.  I burst into tears, continuing to watch my little girl as she walked down the sidewalk towards school.  I can't stand watching her hurt like this, God.  And she's not letting me love her.  Please wrap Your arms around her today, God, I prayed in that moment.

All of a sudden, I saw her being intercepted by an older middle school student that Caroline really loves and admires.  I watched the girl lean down to give Caroline a hug, and I saw a relieved smile appear on her face.  Thank you, God.  She needed that.

I felt so rattled.  Being a mama is so, so hard.  I called my big sister and one of my best friends, who both knew exactly how to calm me down and help me understand what was happening in my daughter's world.  When I got home, I emailed her teacher to give her a heads' up about the morning.  She graciously understood and quickly set-up an opportunity for Caroline's art teacher (who also is bald with alopecia, remember?) to come have some one-on-one downtime with Caroline that morning.  How nice is that?  

I also decided to spend the day unpacking Caroline's room.  She needed more than just a bed set up.  The least thing I could give this girl was a place where she could have some measure of stability and normalcy in her life.  

This was Caroline's room to start with.

 And by the end of the school day, it looked like this!

(Okay, I'll admit, I'm rather proud of our idea to make a custom headboard that inserts into the fireplace!  All it took was a piece of plywood, some padding, $10 worth of fabric, and a staple gun and wah-lah!   Now I get the fun job of decorating her mantel!)

 Bookcase with books and toys ALL MOVED IN.  (hurray!)
 And sure enough.

This gal came home, and things felt a little calmer.  She was calmer.  She loved her room.  She began playing and crafting and creating once again.

I snapped this picture the other day of her crafting at her desk, which looks out this window...
 ...onto this upstairs sleeper porch.  Aaaaahh, so nice...

It was a lesson to me about transitions.

That day, I needed to put the boxes down.  My little girl needed me more than the chaotic house did.  I took both kids to the playground across the street.  We got ice cream off the ice cream truck.  We played more.  I loved a little harder and a little more intentionally.

And talk about tears.

Later that same night,
I found this little note laying on my bed.


  1. Oh I'm in tears! How sweet to find that note. And I'm so thankful that God showed both you and Caroline evidences of His mercy and kindness!

    As a side note, I want her room! I'm so impressed with how you put it together!