Thursday, August 18, 2011

Overindulgence-The American Way?

I feel like I might just barf.
I heard on the radio today that Kim Kardashian is getting married this weekend.  Whoop-dee-friggin-do. Get this: her wedding is setting them back $20 MILLION!  Yes, you read that right.  Twenty. Million. Dollars.  For a wedding.
I do not give a crap who you are, or what your claim to fame may be (What IS Kim's claim to fame, anyway?  Having a huge butt?  Big deal, so do I!)-that's a bit much.
There are so many people who are hungry, hurt, and in need.  Here in the United States as well as around the world.  There's famine in Africa.. people are walking for weeks to try to find food for their children, and many of them do not make it.  Or what about the orphans?  I have a wonderful friend who is in the process of bringing their beautiful boy, Ethan, home from Eastern Europe.  (See earlier blog posts for more on this awesome journey!)  Where Ethan is from, orphans are treated worse than cattle.  These children are literally tied to their beds!  Their bodies are atrophied and twisted.  They have never known the warmth of a soft bed, being forced instead to sleep in Soviet-era metal cribs with thin, hard mattresses.  They have no toys.  Most of them do not get out of bed.  Ever.  They are in desperate need of a loving home.  A family.  Hugs and kisses.  Medical care.  School.  Toys.  Basic human needs.  One of the posts on a friend's site mentions an eleven year old girl who weighs 10 pounds!!!  Only ten.  And another little girl's arm measures three inches in diameter.  Take out a measuring tape.  Check out how very small that is.  And these are not extreme cases.  Well, they are, but not in the sense that they can be considered abnormal.  Where these kiddos are, this IS the norm.  Some of the photos of the children that are in these Eastern European orphanages remind me of photos from concentration camps.  It's sickening.  Heart-breaking.  Utterly and terribly wrong.
So, if Kim Kardashian were listening right now (or any of the other countless "celebrities" who flaunt their money like no one's business) I would tell her this:  Shame on you.  Spending that kind of money on a one day event when there are children dying everywhere.  Kids who need love and support.
While you feast on your wedding day, there is a child taking their last breath while tied to a metal crib no better than a cage.  They don't have to die.  Imagine how many people that twenty million could help. 
What's the real crime against humanity here?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Where did I put my straight jacket?

It's been a rough week in my household.
For starters, I am pretty sure that I have a cyst on one ovary, which is making everyday life quite a bit more painful than anyone would like.
You know how animals can sense when you aren't feeling well, and they seem to go out of their way to try to comfort you?  I think my kids sense it, too.  Only they are doing their best, it seems, to put me in a mental ward before the week is out.  In fact, the thought seems pretty nice right about now.  Soft padded rooms, nice sleepytime meds..ahem.  Sorry.  Back to what I was saying.
Besides filling my days with the normal wife/mommy stuff, the kids have been into all sorts of mischief.  Mostly Madi, though.  I am not sure why all of a sudden she has decided to act in this manner.  I know, I know, ALL kids have bratty streaks.  I get it. Doesn't mean I have to like it.
Here's just an example.  Yesterday Madi decided to take the poop out of her diaper and smear it all over the place in her room.  All in the amount of time it took me to go to the bathroom myself.  She made sure to get it ground into the carpeting really nicely, too.  After cleaning that mess up (and let me tell you, Resolve carpet cleaner mixed with feces makes for a vomit-inducing scent) Madi decided that she was going to beat on her sister and the cat for the rest of the afternoon.  She was in time out at least 5 more times.  And this was all between 4 and 6 in the evening.  She pulls hair, she slaps, she kicks, she pushes, and she takes stuff away.  No disciplinary method has worked thus far.  I know that the part of her brain that controls decision making and impulse control was damaged with her strokes, but I know she knows right from wrong.  Not to mention that none of her team thinks that the amount of damage done is permanent.  I am at my wits end with her.  I love her SO much, and it makes me so angry, sad and frustrated that she acts this way.  What am I doing wrong?  If this goes on much longer, I may need one of those "special"  jackets.. you know, the ones where you hug yourself?
I feel like a parent failure a lot these days.
I am so afraid for what school will bring.. I don't want to be the parent of "THAT kid"; you know, the one no one wants to play with or be around?  But yet I fear that's what will happen.
Tomorrow we will be heading for the Mayo Clinic for yet another checkup.  I will be happy for the reprieve, as Sydney will be at a relative's house and the cat will be at home of course.  Madi will be happily strapped into her carseat, where she cannot be mean to anyone or destroy anything. 
Ninety-five miles there, ninety-five miles home.  Seems like a perfect time to restore my inner peace.
And thank the Good Lord above for in-car DVD players.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Two Years

Two years.  Maybe two years doesn't seem like such a long time.  But two years=730 days=17,531 hours or so.  Now it seems like quite a bit, doesn't it?
Why am I obsessing about two years?  Well, two years ago today, we loaded Madi up into a LifeLink ambulance that took her to the Mayo Clinic.  We were "supposed" to be going down there to wean Madi off of her heart meds, while completing her transplant evaluation.  It was our hope that she would be able to be extubated within the week or so.  We missed her voice, her smile, her eyes.  It had been so long at that point since Madi had been herself.
Little did we know that 18 hours after her status was bumped up to 1A on the transplant list, Madi would get her new heart.  At the time we were so turned around with everything going on in our lives.  It was literally like someone ripped the rug out from underneath us.  I could not even think straight, and I was full of doubts about whether we had made the right decisions regarding her care.  I think if your child is battling something that is exceedingly difficult, a parent cannot help but have doubts, guilt and questions on top of the usual fear.
Thankfully, we did make the right decisions.  And in the two years' time since that ambulance ride, I have learned a lot.  Most importantly I have learned that it's about the little things in life.
This afternoon, my kids and I laid on the living room floor.  We read books and sang songs.  We played with the shape sorter and Madi "made" Sydney and I some pasta with her dishes.  (She also made cat food, she said, but that obviously was not for us.)  Then both of my girls flung themselves at me and bounced on me.  It was like they had coordinated that moment to wrestle with their mom.
As the nosepieces on my glasses slammed into my eyeballs (Madi tried to sit on my head), I found myself thinking "Two years ago, I would've given anything for this."
Another family looked past their grief and through their tears to give my daughter a second chance.  So when I think of those moments two years ago, I think of our donor family too.  They gave so much to my family.  On every one of those 730 days over the past two years, I think of them. 
And hope they know how much I love them.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Let's help bring Ethan home!

Yesterday's post was on friends.  Today I am going to post about a specific friend who is embarking on the adventure of a lifetime!
We met the Lindquist family when Madi was in the PICU in July of 2009, right before her transplant.  Even though their daughter, Sophina, was struggling with her own issues post-surgery, they were always there for us when we needed them.  Connie would stop by at least once a day with a hug for me, and they would lift my spirits SO much.  It was my first experience with a fellow heart parent.  The first time I really remember saying "Oh, she gets it.  I mean really really gets it."  What a blessing!
As if Connie wasn't busy enough with her girls at home-Elizabeth, Alexandra, Catherine, Victoria and Sophina-she and her husband Scott (currently working a whole state away to help his family!) have heard the Lord's call to help the orphans of the world.  Their son, Ethan, will be joining their family from Eastern Europe as soon as his adoption is finalized.  Click here to meet Ethan! 
First of all: how handsome is this young man?  I am so happy for Ethan, and for the Lindquists.  The conditions in Eastern Europe are dismal at best for kids with disabilities like Ethan's.  It would seriously make you sick to hear about how these beautiful, bright, sweet children are treated.    Here's where it gets even harder to stomach: it is unfathomably expensive to bring these children home.  Connie and her family are willing to drain their savings account and exhaust every last dime they can to bring Ethan to them.  (All the Lindquist girls are more excited than you could possibly imagine as well, in case you were wondering!)  So why do they want to do this?  Well, read this post from Connie on her blog, Obeying God's Call to hear it directly from her.  And if you aren't moved by this family, you can't be moved by anything.
The Lindquists are currently fundraising in a very very special way.  They are going to take their familys' old clothes, cut them up, and sew them into a quilt for Ethan.  Here's where it gets really good: for every $20 donated, they will sew YOUR NAME onto this quilt!  That way Ethan will know how many people came together to bring his family together. (Ethan's Quilt Fundraiser)
Can you spare $20 to save an orphan's life?  I know you can.  If you can spare more, that's awesome of course, too!  Please visit the Lindquist family's blog to read about this very special family and their quest to obey God's call.  Let's get their adoption grant to skyrocket, and bring Ethan home!

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."- Anne Frank