These past few weeks have been a bit of a struggle for me. I know this isn’t the first time I have said those words, and after spending quite a lot of time thinking about it, I have begun to realize that I put a lot of pressure on myself to “accomplish something”. Sometimes it’s photography oriented- working on projects, writing, shooting, submitting them. Sometimes it’s running this house- planning and preparing meals, making sure everything is done and on schedule, keeping up on laundry and cleaning and gardens. Other times it’s planning projects for the home – new gardens, outbuildings to design, decks to build, painting to be done, animals to add to the menagerie. But for so many years – nearly twenty as a matter of fact – the one thing that has been consistent, the one thing that has demanded the majority of my attention has been my greatest job to date- being a mom to these incredible four boys. These crazy charismatic hilarious spunky challenging boys. It is the one job that gives me the most joy and the one job that I can finally sit back after all these years and look at the partial results and admit that maybe, as a mom, I have done a pretty good job. It has defined me. It is who I am. And with them growing up, with #4 needing me in that day-to-day nurturing snuggling maintenance sort of way so much less, I feel my grasp on my identity slipping away. And some days it depresses the hell out of me. It literally weighs me down in the center of my chest and leaves me with tears rolling down my face as I wonder who I am supposed to be and what I’m supposed to do now. I feel rather lost at these times and while I am sure that I am not the first parent to feel this, right now this transitional time can be a struggle for me. It is no secret to those that know me on a personal level that I would adopt a little girl IN A HEARTBEAT- even my boys know it. However, one needs both parents to be “in” on such a huge life decision and while I struggle, my husband is embracing this new chapter that is opening up for us. He loves his time in the studio, working on projects that bring him endless joy and that he is passionate about. He finds that the less the boys need him on a moment by moment basis, the more he can find joy in things he loves. And I totally get that. I respect it, and know that while he is an incredible (amazing unbelievable fabulous) dad he deserves to live the life he dreams of. And that life doesn’t include adding to our family.
Wow- that is NOT where this post was meant to go. However, it may explain where I have been- namely- not posting very often these days. I have been busy trying to embrace life, as it is, right now, with my boys- all five of them. I have been meeting #1 for coffee at the Whole Foods near his house (when he isn’t coming to dinner or hang out with us), loving watching #2 enjoy his last year of high school and all of the fun that involves, working with #3 on trying some new eating habits and hoping that they help him feel better, both physically and mentally. And then there is #4, filled with such excitement and joy for life, learning and trying new things. Last week he tried climbing at our local REI and absolutely LOVED it. He’s so damn fun.
So, again, off track. Let’s try this again… This morning an email arrived from Dr. Isaac who is doing such amazing work in Uganda. He and the volunteers have been working so hard to impact the lives of the community we are working in and I can’t express how grateful I am to them for keeping me so well informed and feeling a little bit closer to it all.
A few months ago Dr. Isaac and the volunteers were out visiting homes when they came across a little girl named Miracle. Miracle is 6 years old and when our team found her she had been kept indoors for much of her life due to the stigma attached with her being born with disabilities. Miracle was born with Spina Bifida, which she had had surgery for when she was younger. She also has hydrocephalus which which is a buildup of fluid inside the skull that leads to brain swelling. Due to these conditions, Miracle has not been able to go to school, interact with other children or experience any form of a normal childhood. She doesn’t have the use of her legs, thus is unable to walk or move around much.
The email that arrived this morning was filled with photos- photos that brought me such joy, such inspiration and such a sense of purpose. They were photos of Dr. Isaac and Sharon delivering a wheelchair to Miracle. The team has been working with her to create an environment in her home that enables her to begin to live as a normal 6 year old girl. They built her a table that supports her so that she can practice writing with a pencil or eat her meals. They built her a chair to use as a specialized latrine. And today they delivered a wheelchair- one that they had built to allow Miracle to be moved easily in and out of her home as well as- hopefully, eventually- to school. The joy- the pure and utter happiness that shines on this little girl’s face in that new chair- it is unmistakable. The local children surrounded her and were so excited to take turns pushing her around and get to know her. I can only imagine what this would feel like to a little girl who probably felt very alone for most of her life. This is a little girl who, were she born here, would be fully integrated into society, and taking part in things that every other child does. But with stigmas and lack of medical care and therapy, children like Miracle are often kept aside, hidden and forgotten about. Thankfully our team met her and are now able to completely change the trajectory of her story. She is one of the many people I can’t wait to meet when I return. I look forward to the day I can hold Miracle on my lap and practice writing with her. I am counting the weeks…
Have a wonderful rest of your weekend friends,
You can find more about our project on my new Grow Hope Foundation website. Stop by and say hello~