The irony is not lost on me that a post entitled “Sick and Tired” would be delayed a week due to a lovely visit to the ER for severe abdominal pain and a ruptured cyst. Such is life, right? . . . or at least the prevailing theme of this part of our story. If you’re just joining us, head back to read Prologue, Part I, Part II, and Part III to catch up.
All through Noah’s pregnancy I prayed that things would be different for me. That God would redeem some of the experiences I felt I lost with Elijah because life was so crazy when he arrived – and He did. The pregnancy, Noah’s birth, the first few weeks at home were so unfamiliarly normal, I reveled in those ordinary moments thanking God that life with this new baby finally felt uncomplicated. Like it should.
But life without complication was not life without challenge. A newborn, a new job, and by September 2011, a full course-load for Mike at school certainly stretched us. Unlike our previous struggles like selling our house or coping with loss and change, this challenge was tangible, something we could practically work at to attain. As we inched closer to a place of normalcy and stability, we each committed afresh to keep doing whatever needed to be done to keep the machine moving. We spent long days and long nights working, parenting, learning to do all sorts of things that would keep our lives moving forward. All our “doing” left very little time for us, and truthfully, there was very little we could do about it.
Enter into our story a health concern. Not a major, life-threatening, horrible health concern, but a chronic, persistent and peculiar one. As we headed into 2012, we began to notice Noah rarely finished a meal without gagging and vomiting. Whenever he started crying hard (as most children who don’t get their way do), his tantrums would quickly escalate from screaming to puking. Any attempt to leave him in the church nursery, or with anyone besides Grandma, inevitably led to the same. We spent a considerable amount of time doing what elementary school janitors do best during flu season – cleaning and disinfecting. His vomiting became expected, routine almost, and we developed a system of coping with it, but the whole situation wore on our already stretched-too-thin nerves.
Add to the mystery vomiting the fact that this precious, otherwise happy and healthy little boy was still not sleeping through the night and you can see how it felt like we were running a circus. Noah woke multiple times a night screaming, which of course induced vomiting, and made settling him back down for bed no easy (or quick) task. He would have no one but me, and I spent more nights than I care to admit, angry with Mike for something he did or said while I held a vomiting Noah over the bathroom tub. When Noah was finally cleaned up and calmed down, I sat on our couch in the dark choking back sobs as I prayed God would just make Noah go to sleep. Please.
But in truth, it wasn’t just Noah. It felt like we caught every cold, every flu, every ugly germ and virus trolling the neighborhood, and then some. In April, Mike had emergency gallbladder surgery. In August, Elijah broke his clavicle. In October, Noah had a double ear infection that landed the two of us on the couch twenty-four hours a day for almost a week. Oh and did I mention that Noah was still not talking?
Then smack dab in the middle of this one-thing-after-another kind of year, in the center of what I’ll probably always refer to as the-year-of-the-circus, Mike lost his job. I’m sure you can imagine how infuriated I was, and honestly, I’m still reeling from the events of that day. It’s no wonder I put on ten pounds and had to wear a heart monitor for all of November. I’ve learned that crazy stress and lack of sleep that drip with the persistence of a leaky faucet will absolutely do that to you.
Thus began an entirely new personal journey of discovery. I did not go back to the place of despair I came from, but wrestled in a state of anger, questioning why it felt like we could not catch a break in life. Anywhere. But here’s the beauty . . . God has met me in my anger as tenderly and faithfully as He met me in my despair, and He’s shown me that even in the middle of this three-ring-circus, He is still a redeemer.
And He still redeems.