Wednesday, August 26, 2015

bee blocks + gratitude

Before I left on our last therapy trip, I made and mailed my (late!) July bee blocks to miss Ara Jane.  So grateful for something easy!

July Love {do. Good Stitches blocks}

Just half square triangle blocks - some small, some big - whipped up with the popular double-batch method.

July Love {do. Good Stitches blocks}

And I got to use those snails.  Nice!

July Love {do. Good Stitches blocks}

Ara Jane has impeccable color and design taste, so I have no doubt this quilt will be special.  Glad to be able to contribute my part!

And speaking of contributions... I need to let you know how much this helps, how much you help.  A post like "in her blue eyes" brews over time.  In my previous life I used to have many opportunities to verbally process strong emotions with empathetic, wise friends.  Nowadays those moments are hard to come by, and when they do arrive I don't always feel welcome, able or interested in getting to the bottom of hard feelings.  The wonderful thing about this space is that you are here when I'm ready!  You give me the benefit of the doubt.  You make it clear that you care.  It's truly a blessing that I don't take for granted.

In the comments on my last post, several wondered if it helps to hear time and again that I'm a good mom, a good writer, etc.  Well, let me tell you... it's been a hard week.  These past months I feel I'm not enough of a mom to Aria and Liam - not enough patience, not enough attention, and far from enough physical time.   And as for Eleni, it is literally impossible to do enough for her.  I am losing touch with that part, that big part, of my identity.  Often I feel that I'm not a mom anymore, which probably doesn't make sense, but at least communicates how large is the gap between what I used to do and where I feel I am now. 

So, yes, it does fight away some of that darkness to hear you say that I am a good mom, a capable mom.  Thanks for your faith in me.  Thanks for your verbal hugs!  Thanks for being here.

xo,

Rachel

27 comments:

  1. Sometimes I don't comment because there are already so many and I have nothing new to add. You are a great mom and a caring mom. You are actively looking for anything that will improve Eleni's life. To talk about the guilt and disappointment is important because if it is suppressed is festers. And that doesn't help you, Eleni or the other kids. Just keep talking (writing).

    ReplyDelete
  2. Rachel, i usually don't comment, because as a German I have the impression to jot be able to find the right words and because all the others always have impressed what I would have liked to say so much better. But I am with you. With all my heart. Love and blessings to you and all of your family.

    ReplyDelete
  3. My mom had issues with my brother and lost 2 daughters before I was born, 4 years later my older brother suffered brain damage as result of an accident and my older sister had to do lots more than other children her age. I always thought my mom didn't do enough for me because she had dragged me 350 miles once a month for my brother's treatment, she grieved for over a year when my older brother was injured and then again when he died. I found out that I hadn't given her enough credit for all she did. In hindsight, she taught me responsibility, she taught me to sew, she taught me to love completely, she taught me how to handle loss and disappointment. There are lessons in tough times and in good times. Your life is not the same as it was, but your strength, determination and unconditional love are all lessons that your children will see and honor. Teach them these lessons by allowing them to love Eleni as much as you do and let them help you carry the load. They don't have the ability to do all you do, but they can help and learn love lessons. I was surprised how much I appreciated the things my parent did until their deaths many years later. Explaining my parents lives to the officiants at their funerals made me realize what they had given me. I only wish they had communicated with me when I was young so that I knew what they had given me.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hugs to you! Your last post was so raw and beautiful. I know by sharing your thoughts you are helping so many of us to deal with our own struggles. You are a gift!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hugs to you! Your last post was so raw and beautiful. I know by sharing your thoughts you are helping so many of us to deal with our own struggles. You are a gift!

    ReplyDelete
  6. One good thing - your older two are past pre school age and are naturally in a place where those outside of the family are becoming more important and developmentally they are in fairly good places to have this happen. Just do your best - that's all you can ask of yourself and let it go. As I said before - if I could I would bring you dinner! XXOOXX

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have had such a blessed and "easy life". You make me realize how much I have to be thankful for. I have a daughter that has many problems with her children (non like yours) and there are times she has problems getting through the day to day grind of worry and financial stress. I try to be there for her in any way that I can. Just know that I admire you and hope you do something nice for yourself occasionally. God bless.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Rachel, I read your blog with interest and now a deep compassion for what you are going through. I haven't often commented because, as others have said, so many people have already shared my very thoughts. You are an inspiration to me in terms of quilting but even more of an inspiration in the way you handle yourself and all the challenges that have been thrown at you. All three of your children are blessed to call you their mother. Prayers and hugs.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Rachel, honey, the bottom line is that we do the best we can, and there's no doubt you are not only doing your best, but more. Don't forget about yourself, and doing what you need to do to replenish your energies when your well runs dry. You need to worry about yourself more, but not about whether or not your a good mom.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Rachel, you are an amazing mom to Eleni and your older children. Your dedication and love shine through all that you write so beautifully! Like others, I believe that Aria and Liam are also learning and growing through your family's experiences of living with and loving sweet Eleni. The children I've watched grow up in similar families develop a compassion and wisdom that others with simpler lives do not.
    Though in a different sphere, our family has also experienced a deep grief concerning one of our children. I resonate with your feelings of not being enough, of wishing I could be and do more for each of my children. Over and over, I come to the conclusion that my hope must be not in myself, but in the Lord. Here's a quote from an old Puritan I keep on my computer for encouragement:
    “For a close, remember this, that your life is short, your duties many, your assistance great, and your reward sure; therefore faint not, hold on and hold up, in ways of well-doing, and heaven shall make amends for all.” (Thomas Brooks)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I shared this prayer with my sister earlier tonight and I felt compelled to share it with you too.

    Heavenly Father,
    I may not understand how everything will work out, but I trust you. I don't see a way, but I know you will make a way. I have faith at this very moment you are touching hearts, opening doors and lining up the right breaks and right opportunities. Things may look dark and bleak now, but I have faith that my dawn is coming.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I think most mothers feel like they fall short of being the mother they want to be quite a bit of the time. It's a tough job putting yourself last while encouraging others. And some days just never seem to end. You are modeling love, compassion, and prioritising the best way you can. They will also learn independence by taking on some responsibilities and pitching in. They feel needed and an integral part of a working family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, yes, they are needed and they are independent! They make me lunch half the time now, so I can eat it while pumping and feeding baby. I am so glad I prioritized teaching them independence from a young age. At least we have that going for us!

      Delete
  13. Rachel, you do what you can and not more and not less. The most important thing is that you three children know that you love them. Two minutes on your knees with all you love your presence and your words "I love you"! When my oldest son was ill,my two others said to me, "you don' l love us anymore" and I did that : Two minutes or more but really with them and it was enough, they knew... Sorry for my bad english! YOU ARE A GOOD MOM :-)

    ReplyDelete
  14. My one-and-a-half year older brother become a diabetic when he was 9 (I was not even 8 yo then). I spend a lot of my childhood in hospitals and sometimes felt a bit cheated of my time with my parents. I knew even then that it wasn't because my parents didn't love me but because there weren't just not more hours in a day. I have a really close relationship with my parents and my brother but yes it would have been easier for your family and I would have a even better childhood without my brother's illness (that being said my childhood was one of the best a child can have). I'm sure and I hope that your other children will look back in a few years and be thankful for what they had and it will help them to grow up like nothing else could. Wish you all the luck and love you and your family need:-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am just starting to believe that these positive sibling stories might be more of a normal thing than an anomaly. It so happens that my brother in law is disabled. My husband's childhood did not go so well, actually, even though his parents are good people and he had many opportunities. Over all, he and his other sibling feel significantly damaged by the experience of their brother's disability. When this happened with Eleni, we instantly began grieving for Aria and Liam. I have heard so many positive stories now, that as I said, I am beginning to think it can be ok for my big kids after all.

      Delete
  15. Sometimes moms just can't fix things or make everything alright, no matter how hard we try. You are such a great mom Rachel! But you can't really fix this any more than I can fix that my 22-year-old son (who really is still a child) is dealing with leukemia treatment that makes him sick all the time. There may come a time, like there has for me, that you are able to just do what needs to be done without feeling like you have to make sense out of it, be so sad about it, struggle with it so much of the time. The place you are still in is so exhausting but it will change. I hope your new normal has some times of peace of mind soon. Your older children were so thoroughly loved and attended to before Eleni came into your family that though it's a change for them, they will adapt too.

    ReplyDelete
  16. You are not only a good mom - you are a special mom!! It takes special strength for what you are going through. We too had difficulties with our youngest and I didn't realize, till later, how much time away and attention it took away from our other children, but they all became better adults for it. We became very close as a family. You are surrounded by many friends, family and prayers. Remember God is strong enough to carry you through :)!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I have not been following you as long as many others, but to me you really radiate "good loving caring mom" its hard, I can't say I know or understand why things happen as they do but I am a believer in "God not giving us more than we can handle" and I think you are handling it better than many would. Your baby is a gift, whatever she is able to do in the future, she is a gift. Prayers for you all.

    ReplyDelete
  18. While this isn't the life you imagined for any of you, you don't know what good and compassion and other wonderful things may grow in your bigger kids because of their precious little sister. It seems like kids are so durable and flexible with good parental loving and caring. None of us realizes home wasn't "normal" until we get out in the wider world. With your openness and honesty about the painful moments and your praise of the small and beautiful moments, you are arming them with such a great perspective.

    ReplyDelete
  19. The only thing I can add is that you know all of us, we love you.
    Just dump, pour out, share what is welling up inside. It is good.
    I think you already know there is a lot of support and some good advice from so many of your readers. I do not think anyone is really ever sheltered from knowing hardship of friends family or themselves.
    Doors will continue to open, and life will get less complicated.
    Be patient. Our great and loving Father will guide you through this bumpy path.
    I pray for all of you continually.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Rachel, please don't doubt yourself. We do the best we can in any given situation. You are dealing with a LOT of stress, but you are teaching your older children about unconditional love. Little things can remind them how much you love them, too. In the meantime, they will learn how strong you are and will learn coping skills, flexibility, and a bit of self-reliance - totally not a bad thing.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Under stress. we all regress...that is normal humanity...Normal to be crabby and impatient...You have a huge loss...of the baby you thought you were getting and the one that you got. keep on keeping on...This has nothing to do with your being a good mother. It has to do with playing a poor hand well..which you are doing... xxoo Doing the best you can...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that phrase "playing a poor hand well" because it doesn't shy away from the nastiness of a poor hand, but still holds some optimism.

      Delete
  22. Dear Rachel,
    I have been following your story closely since Eleni was born. I feel especially drawn to your walk. I work with parents and grandparents in several clinics of extremely challenged children. I have wanted to write you, however I didn't know what to say. My heart aches for you in this new profoundly difficult walk. please feel free to email me personally if you would like. I am a pediatric RN and work with neurologically damaged kiddos. I also work in GI and rehab. I will put Eleni and your family in my prayer box.

    ReplyDelete
  23. It's ok. We all feel that way sometimes. But you're doing a great job. You're a GREAT (not good) mom. And, you're a great communicator. Thank you for your posts.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts with Thumbnails