the month of march has been quite exhausting for different reasons. i was finding myself in a funk. and when it rains, it pours. you know? and then yesterday things really just reached a ridiculous climax and i finally found myself laughing.
we visited my dad and step-mom in florida over the second weekend in march. it was so nice to be in the sunshine and warmth for a few days!
though we had a nice time, bina made sleep quite fleeting. we had a difficult potential profile showing to consider while there that we decided to decline. when we arrived home, i was totally exhausted (as is the case whenever we travel now because bina doesn't sleep away from home, apparently).
the day after we got home we had another very difficult potential profile showing to consider that we also decided to decline. at that point i was ready to quit this whole adoption process. it's too much reading these situations and saying no over and over and over. the emotional toll on me is huge. TWO days after we arrived home we had a THIRD potential profile showing that we were very excited about; it gave me hope that maybe one of these situations will work out for us. i even thought maybe this was the one, only to find out a week later that we were never going to be considered in the first place because we didn't meet a key criteria of the birth parents for an adoptive family. that's the second time that has been the case with a profile showing we were excited about (out of a total of five actual profile showings). this was completely demoralizing for me. we spent the following week recovering from our adventures in florida and the emotional toll of this adoption journey, with me questioning if we should even be on this journey at all.
the week after that, bina came down with the stomach bug from hell. she woke at 11:30 last wednesday night and stated that her tummy wasn't working. she nursed. she was wiggly. and then she vomited all over the bed and herself. she proceeded to vomit a total of 23 times in the next 48 hours. and then once more at about the 72 hour mark. just for good measure. that first night, i didn't fall asleep until after the every 5 minutes to an hour vomiting called a cease fire at 5:40 on thursday morning. we slept in until about 10:45am. and then it started again. i was doing laundry around the clock for three days trying to keep up with all the barf covered linens, towels, and clothes (including my own).
that first night i had to talk myself down from a panic attack because stomach viruses are my least favorite thing ever. i was holding on by a thread trying to take care of my little sickie, sleep deprived and with barely an appetite myself. and david, who had been working overtime since the beginning of february, was arriving home later than usual. by the grace of god alone, david and i managed to avoid the plague. i am eternally grateful for that. i was praying that if i caught it, i would catch it over the weekend so that david wouldn't have to take off work to care for bina while i was dying a slow painful barf death. the recovery has been sluggish for bina. though she hasn't barfed again since the one off on friday night, her appetite is still not quite back even today (almost a week after this whole mess started) and the whining has been on hyper drive.
yesterday, tuesday, we finally got out of the house. but not until after an epic whine-fest from the little and subsequent meltdown from mama. i lost my cool and yelled. right before heading to... bible study. mom of the year here. although i was pretty proud of myself for not losing my sh*t earlier in the barf saga. still, i am the adult and bina is the child. i have to keep being the adult, even when i'm sick and tired of it. literally. we made it to bible study and after i parked the car i turned around and looked at bina strapped in her car seat and said, "bina? i'm sorry i yelled at you this morning." you know what's wonderful about kids? they still love you when you screw up. and they don't keep record of wrongs like so many of us adults do. we gathered ourselves up and walked into bible study under cloud cover and drizzle. because. we live in michigan and it knows how to match my mood.
this week's bible study was about authority. i had a hard time with it. i looked at it through the lens of respecting and honoring our governmental authority (i.e. the president and his administration) and i just didn't have the bandwidth to hear that this past week. or maybe any week. probably something i need to revisit later. just not right now. or so i thought.
when i went to pick up bina from her classroom, there was another mom waiting outside with two littles and visibly pregnant with a third. she seemed so cool, calm, and collected. hair and makeup done, cute maternity outfit on. she talked sweetly to her children. i looked at her as i was helping bina put her jacket on and thought "how do you do this? how do you survive barf fests with multiple children? how do you look so put together when i would be dying in your shoes?" i walked with bina to the car feeling defeated. i started to marco polo my austin mommies asking if they shared my feelings of inadequacy as a mother. am i the only one who feels like i'm not cut out for this job? no, i am not, they assured me. i remembered the words of a friend years back who told me that it's easy to look put together for a few hours in public, but we're all struggling! i recognized when i start feeling those feelings of "i am the ONLY one," i am believing lies. like when i spiral down into the depths of anxiety and think i can't do "this" -- whatever "this" is -- LIES! anxiety is a liar. isolating thoughts are LIARS. call them what they are. reach out to others who can speak truth. reject the lies and hold fast to the truth.
after bible study we drove to a friend's house to pick up bina's beloved paw patrol hat that we had accidentally left behind during a play date two weeks ago. i picked it out of the bag it was left in on our friend's front porch and tossed it back to bina in the car. "thank you, mommy!" she said as she happily pulled it on over her head. i've missed that big goofy hat with the blue pom on top. next up: the grocery store.
i bribed bina through the store with an easter balloon and a six pack of cupcakes i let her pick out because she wanted cake. when the kid went four days without eating and then has been having two bites before saying she's full the last two days, if she wants cake -- she gets cake. we did have a bit of a meltdown over the type of cupcakes picked that ended with me returning the four pack of vanilla and presenting bina with the prized six pack of yellow cake with strawberry frosting. the tiny tyrant won. whatever it takes. just keep the peace and make it out of the store alive. done and done.
on the way home from the store i notice the car starts making this odd whirring sound when i accelerate. hmm. that can't be good. i call up david and he tells me to bring the car into the shop. ok great. only, after calling the shop to see if they have availability today, i find out that we would need to leave the car for a few days while they inspect and fix it. the shop closes at 6pm and david has a work meeting and wont be home in time to pick me and bina up from the shop and bring us home. so we need an alternate plan. i text my mommy friends from our church small group thinking -- ugh this is so inconvenient and they all have kids and places to go but they would try to make it work. then i remember my brother works close to the repair shop and decide to check if he could pick us up after he gets off work at 3:30. it's a go. saved by the bro.
bina is watching boss baby while wearing her eye patch, hanging with the new peppa pjs i ordered for her as a get well present.
she starts getting fussy after it ends and is laying on the floor. this feels all too familiar to the barf fest we just recovered from so my anxiety spikes. about 3:10 i start getting ready to load up the car and head to the repair shop. when i stick bina in the car she's all pathetic and reaching panic level meltdown. i ask her if her tummy isn't working. she says yes. i wonder if that was a trick question. i ask if she's going to be sick. she says yes. i start panicking. then i check myself. there's no way. she's just as traumatized as i am by that experience, actually probably more, so i just need to get her mind off it. we're going to the shop, bina. we're going to take the car to the doctor so it can get fixed. she calms down.
at 3:20 we roll out heading to the repair shop. as i'm driving through the neighborhood the whirring sound is getting worse. i pull up to the stop light at the entrance to our sub. the light turns green. i press the gas pedal with my foot and... the engine revs but nothing happens. it is not shifting into gear. i put the car in park, turn it off, turn it back on. try again. nothing. i change to all the other gears -- 2, 1, reverse. nothing. just engine revving and the gear not catching. it is at this point that i bust up laughing. i am stuck at the light at the entrance to my sub trying to turn left onto the main road to get to the repair shop in a big old expedition with my poor toddler in the back crying.
i call david who suggests calling for a tow. i call the repair shop and ask if they have a tow service they use. yes. i call that tow service and am told they will be there within the hour. ok cool. i call my bro and tell him jk we don't need a lift. then i realize we DO need a lift, back to the house with the car seat and bina and all the other crap i should have taken out of the expedition before we headed out to the repair shop and my car broke down. the tow is on its way. my bro is on his way. so now i sit back and marco polo the event to my small group mamas and austin mamas. because for real, guys. it's funny.
meanwhile, i'm blocking the exit from my sub onto the main road. cars start piling up behind me. a school bus. i wave them around with my flashers on. i'm not going anywhere, ya'll. i get slightly annoyed that no one has offered to help yet. then i think: have i ever offered to help someone stopped like me? no. and at that moment a work van pulls up next to me and two guys hop out and offer to push the car back for me. perfect. i turn the car back on, stick it in neutral and we roll on back so that i am now on the side of the street instead of in the middle at the intersection. bina is fussy and wants to get out of the car. i hop out the driver's side door to set her free. it is at this point that my bro pulls up.
my bro decides he wants to give it one last try to see if we can get to the shop without a tow. he hops in the expedition, turns it on, and pumps the gas. the car moves. WHAT?! i crack up and walk back to the driver's side with bina in my arms. my bro hops out and i hop back in. i call the tow company and cancel the tow request. then i get this feeling it's not going to work for me. i put the car into drive and... same problem. i try pumping the gas and i get a little movement but not much. the light is green and i'm picturing me getting stuck in the middle of the intersection which would be a much worse position than i had been in previously. i decide to abort mission. i put the car in park, pop open my door and yell back to my bro behind me that i'm not going anywhere. i call the tow company and tell them i'm broke down again. please send the tow. then i move the car back to where it was on the side of the road. i am able to reverse this time, and i get myself up on the grass a bit so i try to straighten out by pulling forward. no go. oh well. sorry, grass. i call the tow company a fourth time and begin with "i'm the crazy lady that keeps calling" and am met with a roar of laughter. i ask if i can just leave the car on the side of the road here and go home with my kid. yes. ok cool. done and done.
my bro drops us off at our house. we lug all the stuff inside. he leaves to head home to his wife and newborn. i sigh. oh life. and here i am, housebound again. is god trying to teach me something? my word of the month for the last couple months has been "rest." i keep making it my word again and again because i fail to do it. the exhaustion after our trip to florida, the stomach virus from hell, the car breakdown... are these all forms of forced rest? i contemplate this as i walk into our kitchen. and see the bag of brioche buns i had just bought on the ground. BELLA. she strikes again. when am i ever going to learn not to leave things on the counter. this dog. i laugh some more.
that night as i prepared bina's bath and got her pajamas out for bed, i noticed her bedding was a little more disheveled than normal. i looked more closely. i saw tell tale bella hairs. and dried up bread crumbs. so she must have taken her plunder up to bina's room to eat in peace. sigh. you win again, dog. you win again. she got to five and a half of the eight brioche buns. where does she even put it.
this morning i am enjoying my forced rest. co-sleeping has its advantages and disadvantages. one of the advantages is that bina sleeps in much later. we didn't get out of bed until close to nine this morning. something i won't be able to enjoy if we are placed with a newborn in the near future, so i'm soaking it up while i can. especially after that doozie of a stomach bug! bina is entertaining herself with poms and pipe cleaners, her play kitchen, her babies, her trampoline, and her easter card from great grandma and great grandpa. right now she's sitting on her trampoline in the kitchen with her card in hand singing "happy birthday" to nanny and peppa pig. my bina is back. and i am SO. HAPPY.
up until yesterday when the car broke down, i was stuck in a rut. i was frustrated with the way the adoption process is going (or not going). i was frustrated with david working so much the last two months (something that isn't going to stop anytime soon as he was just placed in a new position last week). i was frustrated with myself and my anxiety levels dealing with the barf fest. i was frustrated with being housebound. i was frustrated with the stupid weather in michigan (spring? what is spring? nothing but an extension of dreary winter this year). i was frustrated with motherhood, all of it. i wanted to go back to work again. i wanted to be back at UT austin in the department of biomedical engineering coordinating the graduate program from my beautiful window office with my awesome co-workers and delightful austin spring weather. just get me out of this rut! and the funny thing was, nothing changed. actually, it arguably got worse. now it looks like the expedition needs a new transmission. but my perspective changed. i changed.
i started thinking about that authority lesson from bible study in a different light. god has all authority; he has authority over my life. as i seek to live a life of loving obedience to him in response to his great love for me, he is working all things for the good. that doesn't mean all the things are good. but that somehow he is working them for my good and his glory. this adoption process is still going NOTHING like i expected. i have no idea when we will be matched or placed. but he is in authority. the time we have spent waiting is not wasted time. and the time we continue to wait is not wasted time. god has been refining and sanctifying me SO MUCH through this whole process. it has been HARD. like, REALLY hard. and it has forced so much growth. for that i am thankful.
and now for rest. i did my spring goal refresh in my cultivate goal planner yesterday. i took on too much at the beginning of the year. i scaled back to a manageable amount of goals to focus on what REALLY matters: presence, self-care, and my marriage. these are my priorities. i commit to NOT over committing, to being present on slower days, to maintaining physical fitness, to spending time in the word of god and in prayer, and to appreciating my hard working husband.
sometimes i don't know what's good for me. sometimes i know and don't do it. and sometimes god makes me do it. and for that i am thankful. continual reminders that god has me and my life in his hands. it's time for me to surrender to my forced rest, embrace it and snuggle up close to my father god. get into his word and hear what he has to say. last night i felt him saying "sweet girl, when are you going to turn to me first?" instead of to retail therapy or sweets or stout beer. all those things are things. they don't fill me. and after i buy or consume them, i may feel better for a moment but the next i am back to wanting more. i have to go to my source, my authority. god. my loving father god. he is so, so good. he makes me rest.