Friday, June 24, 2011

And Just Like That...

He's TWO!!!

We celebrated his birthday "simply" with family.  He's not big on parties.  Not yet, anyway.  He will be.  He's a Steele.

I can't believe he's two.  

We're enjoying him so much.  His language has been a bit delayed, but the explosion of words is beginning and it is SO MUCH FUN.  

I love the "Nigh, Nigh, Mommy's" and the "Hi, Sissy's" and the "Joosh's" - I love baby talk.  Especially when I can understand it.  

As the Big Three grew and developed through the toddler and preschool years, I mourned each milestone.  

Especially with Charlie.  He really was the cutest kid on the planet.  Seriously.  

I mean, come on.  It doesn't get much cuter than this.

Or this.

O.  M.  G.

Seriously.  I'm crying.

I think the "milestone grieving" came because deep down in my heart I just wasn't done.  There was a desire for another.

With David, I find myself enjoying him immensely but CELEBRATING each little step he takes towards independence.

Guess that means I'm done.  

Here are a few birthday pics so you can revel in David's cuteness.  

Birthday present!

Playing at the park

Hating the birthday song

REALLY hating the birthday song... and the birthday cupcake... and the birthday candles.

And back to the cuteness!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Persistence and Perspective

Most of my friends would say I'm stubborn.

I prefer to call myself persistent.

When I want something, I'm pretty tenacious about making sure I get it.  When I set a goal for myself, I push and push until I reach that goal.

This works out pretty well for me.  I'm by nature a doer and so I'm internally motivated to "do" until it gets done.  That makes for a lot of personal gratification at the end.

And I really like feeling gratified.

It's a little trickier when my tenacity is connected to my belief system - especially when what I believe isn't really working for me.

It's hard for me to let it go.  Change my perspective.

I find myself hitting my head against the proverbial wall, if you will.

I've been doing a lot of that lately.

For the last ten years I've been fighting to stay off an operating table.

I have a lousy back.

I have tried just about every conservative approach to my problem (a MILLION chiropractors, acupuncture, yoga, exercise, pain management, physical therapy).

I have believed I could find a way to lift the limitations on my life that come from chronic back pain.  I have believed that the harder I worked at therapy, the more I would be able to do what I want to do.

This hasn't happened.

And I've found that another (less lovely) aspect of my persistent and tenacious (read:  STUBBORN) nature has a tendency to kick in when things aren't going the way I think they should.

When things don't go my way, I pout.

Yes, I'm the snotty-nosed kid crouched in the corner with her arms folded and her lips sticking out.

Ugly, isn't it?  Sometimes the truth just is.

So, the other day one of my therapists, Maegan, pretty much stopped me in my tracks when she said, "I think you need to get some perspective."

After I swallowed my pride, pulled myself out of the corner, unfolded my arms, and did some deep breathing, we had a little talk about reality.

It's not easy being told hard things that you don't want to hear, but there's something a little freeing about it, too.  Perspective, for me, helps define my place of peace.  There's a release that comes with acceptance - even in the midst of grief and disappointment.  I can move forward with some reasonable expectations and that helps me move towards peace.

"You will never be pain free."

"Even if we're able to reduce your pain, you will always have limits on what you should physically do."

"Surgery isn't something you should take off the table."

Yeah, these are cold hard facts.  I don't like them.  I've cried many tears over them.

But here's the thing... this big dose of reality got me thinking.

My persistent nature might come in handy if I applied it more readily in my prayer life.

I was reminded yesterday of the parable of the persistent widow.  The Bible says that Jesus told this parable to the disciples so that they would remember to "always pray and never give up."

It's funny that someone as stubborn as I am about pretty much every other thing can be so quick to give up on prayer.  On what God can do.

I'm a bit jaded, I'll admit it.  I don't like the vulnerability that comes with laying it all out before God with the hope that He'll come through for me the way I want Him to.

I'm more of a "sure thing" kind of girl.

But that widow kept going back to a judge who really didn't care about her at all - finally driving him to the point of exasperation so that he did what she asked of him.

And I absolutely know that God cares about me.  He's done a really good job of that all along.

It was risky for the widow to go back again and again and again.  I'm sure she worried that at some point that guy was going to blow up all over her.  But she kept going back anyway.  She wanted what she wanted that badly.

I don't know if my back will ever be better - be healed.  That's hard for me - and praying for something different feels risky.

But I want it badly.  I'll keep trying the things on earth that I can try - and I'll try to adopt the perspective of the widow and be as persistent with my prayers as I am with my actions.