It’s been awhile since I’ve participated in Ten Things of Thankful. And I’ve missed you all. Every week I think: I’ll do a list this week, then life happens. Lately life has been hellish for Lindsey and Nick. My son-in-law has (barely) survived several horrific health issues that included two major surgeries in the last three months. Nick faces at least one more surgery, possibly in September. At times he’s felt like Humpty-Dumpty and says, “I just want to be put back together again.”
Lindsey has been suffering too. It’s hard on her because she struggles with comprehension issues. She doesn’t fully understand the gravity of Nick’s situation. She constantly worries and frets which is understandable. Any wife would. But besides the health issues, Nick has been getting far more attention (and rightfully so) than Lindsey. So unbeknownst to us, my daughter bought two weeks of groceries and ate everything in a few days. She had no food until her next payday–five days away. So we gave her more food and she ate five days of groceries in two days.) “Mom,” Lindsey said. “Food is my comfort.”
Then we learned she’d accepted rides from strangers, although we’ve talked and talked and talked about the dangers of this practice. Lindsey has promised not to do that anymore. She knows better than to accept rides. But now I worry, can I trust her?
Her doctor suggested that Lindsey should lose weight. Lindsey says she wants to try, but in the next breath says, “If I lose weight, I might become anorexic.” We assure her she is nowhere near anorexic. And instead of eating three regular, healthy meals a day, her dieting strategy is refusing to eat anything until dinner, then she eats with gusto (translation: gorges), gets a stomachache, and throws up. After years of positive strides, my girl has not been making wise choices. We’ve explained, charted goals, offered lists, asked her to speak to a counselor (and she has). For the past two months, we’ve seen (what seems to be) mental losses, instead of gains. So I’ve been discouraged. But we’re starting to see a few slender rays of hope.
So today I’m thankful for:
1) a recent dinner with Nick and Lindsey. Nick has been feeling better and up to socializing some. YAY! And he has moved from his parent’s house back into the home he and Lindsey share. That is a great reason to shout out loud, Whoop! Whoop!
2) Nick’s sense of humor. It is coming back. He made us laugh over and over. Then the couple spent moments looking into each other’s eyes and whispering. Sweet.
3) Lindsey’s restraint. She requested reasonable portions of fresh green beans, salad, and hearty dinner casserole. She stopped eating before her stomach hurt. We all gave her a thumbs up!
4) food in their fridge and pantry. When I dropped her off, I checked out the fridge, freezer, and pantry. There was food in all three. Another Whoop! Whoop!
5) food money on her Oregon Trail Card and in her grocery envelope. She has budgeted better this month–she has enough to last her until her next payday. Maybe things truly are turning around in our world. Crossing fingers. (We (and her caseworker) will continue to work with Lindsey on these issues (when she will let us) until we are certain she is back on track and can handle the various responsibilities of adult life.)
6) Nick cut his hair! Short. Although he didn’t want me to take a picture at this time, I assure you–he is one handsome dude! I can see why Lindsey is crazy about him.
Now onto other things I’m thankful for:
7) a recent trip to Whistler, Canada. The scenery is magnificent and every time we go (which isn’t often) we vow to come back sooner, rather than later. These mountains provide me a sense of serenity–a place to mentally heal. I can think about things (and appreciate them) that are going right in my life when sometimes it feels like more things are going wrong. I love Whistler.
8) The Whistler bears. I took a three-hour bear tour with Michael Allen and saw eight bears close up and three from a far. A total of eleven bears on this trip.
9) the two mama bears–one with a single cub, and one with two cubs. Neither seemed afraid of us or demonstrated any aggression either. Everyone in the tour was able to get out of Michael Allen’s truck and snap some cool photos. In one case, we were within twenty feet of these bears.
10) and besides the photos, I captured this thirty-seven second video of one of the cubs. He wasn’t paying any attention to his mama or sibling. Instead, he continued to munch on alpine clover long after his mama and sibling crossed the road. Suddenly he realized he was alone and ran to catch up. I don’t profess to be the best videographer, but I was tickled to capture this on film. I’m sure you can tell by now, I am also head-over-heals in love with the Whistler bears.
So thanks everyone, for not giving up on me and allowing me to pop in and out of Ten Things of Thankful when I can. I’m trying to respect the things that Nick and Lindsey want kept private.
For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health.
Those were the words Lindsey and Nick recited to each other just eighteen months ago. Who knew that the sickness part of their vows would get here so soon.
“I wasn’t expecting this,” thirty-three-year-old Lindsey said. “My husband has a good immune system. He’s mostly healthy.”
But the last week of March, thirty-six-year-old Nick was rushed to Silverton Hospital with severe pain in his abdomen. Two surgeries later, he is now healing from incisions across his mid-section that will eventually leave wicked-cool scars. At least that is how his mother worded it, attempting to lighten the mood in Nick’s hospital room.
“Battle wounds,” Nick said, a weak grin plastered across his face, his finger pointing toward his abdomen.
Lindsey was almost three when we brought her little brother home from the hospital. She couldn’t get enough of Michael’s tiny mouth, nose, and ears. Whenever I turned my head, Lindsey poked her fingers in them.
“Be kind, be gentle,” I’d say, reminding her over and over again.
“OK,” she’d say, then quickly poke a finger in his other ear.
Lindsey’s little brother isn’t so little anymore. This month he will celebrate his thirty-first birthday. And although this is a blog about parenting a daughter with special needs, our entire family was affected (in a multitude of positive and not-so-positive ways) by Lindsey’s specialness.
I think I just might be the luckiest girl in the world right now.
This week I’m thankful for (in no particular order):
(1) San Pancho, Mexico
(2) Palm trees
(4) Mexican food, i.e. fresh guacamole
(5) Mexican tunes
(6) Good friends
(7) Mexican sunsets
(8) Vibrant house colors of Mexico
(9) Vibrant flower colors of Mexico
(10) Safe travels.
Happy Sunday to all of you.
I believe in dreams. And so do Vincent and Celestial Noot (pronounced Note).
Vincent grew up in the Netherlands; Celestial in Utah. Vincent had three siblings; Celestial eight.
“It’s not easy to get noticed in a large family,” Celestial said. “Sometimes I felt there wasn’t enough attention to go around.” Celestial often helped her parents by watching the younger children, and although all her siblings seemed to blend together, there were a lot of fun times being part of a big family. “But I didn’t always get to do my own thing,” she added.
In Vincent’s family, individuality was encouraged, and Vincent loved art. As a kid, he spent hours searching the action-filled pages of Where’s Waldo?. He wished there were more of these hardbacks out there. Even as a youngster, Vincent dreamed of creating a search book, with his own drawings, his own characters, his own story.
Vincent’s parents witnessed their son’s talent. When he was old enough to attend a university, they supported his decision to study art in Belgium. There he learned to fine-tune and layer his work and make it pop on the page. After school, he moved back to the Netherlands and met a daycare owner who wanted some unique cartoon characters that captured her vision of caring for young children. The artwork had to stand out and distinguish her business from all the other childcare centers in the vicinity. Vincent created characters that the owner featured on posters, pamphlets, board games, and even her website.
Lindsey and Nick offered marriage advice in honor of their first anniversary. It turns out this couple enjoys giving advice. “I think we’re good at it,” Lindsey said. Nick stood by her side, nodding yes. So they’ve agreed to offer words of wisdom from time to time.
Dear Lindsey and Nick: My spouse likes to gamble, but I don't. We love each other a lot and this is our one problem area. What should we do? ~A Gambler's Wife
Lindsey: You could decide to split the gambling money between you, and then each one of you could do what you want with it.
Nick: Just say “No” to gambling. Don’t blow your money on that. Buy dinner or groceries instead.
Lindsey: Don’t gamble if you are going to lose your house or cars.
Nick: Or he could do his own thing and you could do your own thing.
Lindsey: You should go to your room, take a hot bath by yourself, and watch love stories on TV. Love stories on TV always make everything better.
Nick: I’d say, go to the souvenir store instead and spend your money there.
Lindsey: If you have to gamble, don’t over do it.
Nick: And my final advice, don’t buy lottery tickets. You never win.
For past advice from Lindsey and Nick, check these out:
Dear Lindsey and Nick: Advice For Life And Love #5 - A couple needs to communicate better, but how?
Dear Lindsey and Nick: Advice For Life And Love #4 - Ideas for your Valentine
Dear Lindsey and Nick: Advice For Life And Love #3 - How do you handle being mad at each other?
Dear Lindsey and Nick: Advice For Life And Love #2 - How do you know you love each other enough to marry?
Dear Lindsey and Nick: Advice For Life And Love #1 - Where should a person look for love?
If you have a question about life, love, (or even them), please send it to: email@example.com, Attn: Get advice from Lindsey and Nick. Please specify whether you want your question answered anonymously.