Choosing Joy when it’s Hard

It’s easy to choose joy when you’re in the midst of easy and happy circumstances. But our circumstances, are hard. I feel like we never have time to just enjoy a moment. We move from task to task, appt. to appt.

When Reagan was having her surgery and we were waiting, it was very odd to be sitting alone with Rob without Reagan under our care. She was under the care of nurses, an anesthesiologist, a Dr. and surgical team. A nurse carried her to surgery and Reagan didn’t even look back at us, she was more interested in the stethoscope. That made me kind of sad. When the nurse carried her back after surgery, she was definitely crying…one of those can’t catch your breath cries with lots of tears. And only mommy and daddy could cure those cries.

The hospital is one of those places where everyone is leveled to even ground. Rob said he actually felt some comfort being in the hospital b/c you can see that other people are suffering too. Wealthy and poor alike have kids that are sick needing help. Employed and unemployed go to the hospital, bringing their kids to specialists to help what’s ailing. Addicts and people who are sober all converge into hospital waiting rooms…and we all wait together. The hospital is one of those places where literally all walks of society come together.

I don’t mean to be judgmental and I get that I’m about to be, so here we go. It is suuuuuuuper hard for me to watch children cry and beg for attention from their parents and see those parents glued to their phone without even a hint of acknowledgement to their crying child for 20 minutes. It’s hard for me to watch parents come in with one child wearing no shoes, and another child wearing a sock on one foot and a flip flop on the other and act annoyed that their day is interrupted by being in the hospital. It’s hard for me to watch parents gripe at their kids to “shut up.” How do you even do that when other parents are watching? It’s acceptable for you to belittle your child in front of everyone? #TRYHARDER

–end rant–

Rob said that in order for us to have good days, we have to choose joy daily. And that can be hard, b/c our daily circumstances are incredibly difficult. There have been days when my mind has wandered… “Sigh…I can’t believe I have to feed my 16 month old daughter through a feeding tube. She used to love to eat all sorts of food, but now she can’t. And I really wanted her to be walking by a year, she’s 16 months and can’t crawl, she has leg braces…[deeeeep breath].  I wish she could hold on to her toys better…I wish she was talking more and telling me things. This is so hard, I am so sad…this is depressing…”

As you can see, not choosing joy is a recipe for disaster emotionally, mentally, etc.

Since deciding to choose joy about a week ago, we have both been able to get through the days easier. We are not dwelling on all the things that are wrong, or all the problems and hurdles we have to overcome. We are just doing the day, dealing with what comes our way. Case and point, Reagan’s feeding button thing popped out today. [Medical lesson: her feeding button is held in with a little balloon on the inside of her tummy and it’s filled with 5cc of water. Rob deflated it to find out how much water was in there, b/c filling it up is going to be a regular thing, and Reagan cried and b/c it was deflated it came out. Now you’re schooled]. So formula was literally pouring out of the hole in her stomach (I can’t even believe I’m writing a sentence like that…actually, this whole paragraph makes me shake my head). At the same time, Bauer was throwing up, oh and did I mention we had a guest over (luckily is was my good friend Sami) but even it it wasn’t…this is life people. It’s our life. Previously, that would have ruined my entire day…that 15 minutes of drama and trauma would have me sulking the entire day about how terrible things are. But today we carried on. Rob went to work, Sami and I had breakfast, Reagan went to therapy and rocked it out.

Reagan standing
i’ve got my blue under armour compression onesie, my glasses, my leg braces and my sneakers… #therapyoutfitoftheday

By the way, Reagan wore her glasses for an hour and a half at therapy! Let’s celebrate!

Arms up!
WORK!

So while I don’t get joy in the same way most people do when they watch their kids crawl, walk and try new foods, I know that when I watch my daughter take her first steps, with braces, with a walker, with whatever…I will be so incredibly proud and filled with unimaginable joy. By choosing joy when it’s hard, Reagan will see our pride and excitement and b/c of her determination, it will drive her even more.

Trumpet
apparently playing a pseudo trumpet in feeding therapy will help her to eat…

There are days when this is so painful, but ever since we’ve decided to choose joy, we’ve been able to manage and cope much better and have actually enjoyed many days this past week.

While pain has room in our lives and we give it the space it needs to breathe, it cannot overtake us. We have to make conscious, daily choices to be joyful in the midst of difficult days.

I have to believe that when God says though the sorrow can last for a night, joy comes in the morning. In a literal sense, this sorrow has not lasted one night, this is a long season, that I pray…I PRAY does not last a lifetime. The rest of our life could be this tough season, and the joy could be when we reach Heaven. I also believe that God wants us to have joy here on earth, not just suffering, and if we have to see the joy by choosing it, then so be it. It’s a new way of thinking for us, and it’s hard to acclimate to, but when Rob said we need to choose joy right before going back to get Reagan from surgery, I knew he was right.

This week, Reagan has started sitting up a lot better and for longer stretches. That’s awesome. She flips pages in books, she reaches, she rolls, she laughs, she swings on our swing outside, she goes in the pool, she takes two naps a day, she goes to therapy, and sometimes, she sleeps until 6:30 a.m. All of those things I am thankful and joyful for.

Swing time

photo 4 (7) photo 1 (10)

Sitting pretty!

photo 2 (9) photo 5 (7) photo (25)

We can do this…we are doing this. Thank you God for the strength (Philippians 4:13).

2 Replies to “Choosing Joy when it’s Hard”

  1. As a mother and nursing professional I appreciate your comments and reflections. Thank you for sharing.

    The Oley foundation might be a good resource for feeding issues and I think they have an upcoming conference In Orlando.

    Also check out gikids.org for GI related questions.

    Be blessed

  2. I am celebrating all the joys, blessings, grace and mercy of God upon your family. Reagan is making remarkable progress because of The Lord.

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