Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Just keep Swiming?

 In my daily wanderings if am told  "I don't know how you do it"- in reference to working, homeschooling, Mommying, wifeing and running Joy-Hope Foundation. Well, here's the tip. I don't, remotely "do it" all. No way, no how. Not a chance. You should see my house, but I won't let you because it's THAT disgusting. Seriously, I wish I was blessed with the ability to not see the grime. Alas, that would be too easy. I see it. It torments me. It eats me and makes it hard to focus on the stuff I have to do.

This weekend was the first weekend we had "off" in months. By "off" I mean we had nothing on the calendar, at least for Saturday.So here we are, a free Saturday. Guess what kids? Want a fun family weekend??? Let's clean! (Oh they were just SO excited!) Clean we did, and I don't mean the cursory "someone is coming over in 20 minutes clean sweep" clean. I mean, let's start under the kitchen sink- (oh look at the science project.) We should  investigate said project. We are now proud owners of a new garbage disposal. (Not a leaky connection. A HOLE in the wall of the dispenser.)

Here's the kicker. When you deep clean, and you are one who tends to be ultra hard on herself, and you find one of Ava's old wipe dispensers (with wipes) behind the front load washing machine- cleaning becomes way more than making the house gleam. Just when you think all they lurking Eric Ava memories are in their proper places, bam! There is a baby hat that you gave to the girls for their dolls.

It's depressing and frustrating. Makes you want to scream, "Hey God, I'm trying to CLEAN here. You know, so I don't hate my house and myself. You know, so I can step into the shoes YOU asked me to wear. Thanks for the breakdown in front of my 8 year old. Thanks a ton."

Instead,  I composed myself, tried not to let it beat me and kept up the cleaning. It's hard to continue and fight through the grime and the emotions without feeling emotionally spent. (I'm totally beginning to understand why people become hoarders.) Of course becoming emotionally spent then leads to frustration that you can't get anything you start finished. Which leads to "why are we doing what we do?" and "How can we trim the fat, so to speak."

All of this is such a negative cycle. It serves nothing and leads to nowhere. It's not how God wants us to look at ourselves. It certainly is not how HE looks at us. To break up the self loathing, it was off to the store to get a new disposal and a new vacuum cleaner, why wouldn't that be broken, too?

Monday I found myself, still on the fritz. I found out that after 15 months battling with planter's fasciitis and a Hail Mary pass of my PT trying to strengthen and loosen my hip (that's hurt for at least 15 years) we decided it was time to take the plunge and try an expensive treatment on both my feet. Non invasive, same technology as what they use to break up kidney stones. A "you can be on your feet the same day treatment". A "94% are cured" treatment. So off I go today, ready to come home and bake the cookies I promised my Dad for installing the disposal. I'd be more optimistic about it's restorative/curative capabilities, but since when do I get the medical "miracle"? It always gives me pause to see that those experiences with Eric and Ava have trained me to stop and think that it is never "just" (insert run of the mill diagnosis).

This treatment will keep me from running for about 12 weeks. I KNOW how fast 12 weeks can fly (ahem, where the heck did our summer go?), especially with our two biggest fundraisers on the horizon and 6 families that need to get out of dodge in queue.  12 weeks of not being able to pound out the crap in my head, to put distance on my grief and clear the grime in my mind seems like a life sentence. These 12 weeks are a big issue. These 12 weeks are during the bulk of anniversary time that  Eric and Ava were on earth. I guess I can't run away from the smell and reminders this season, no more than I can run from lurking wipes and baby hats.

Yet, I treasure the smells and the lurking momento.  I sometimes relish the sucker punch, the excuse to cry. I desire the physical reminders that they were HERE. In my arms, keeping me up at night doing what babies do best, here. But, I hate them all the same. For the same reasons, actually.

So today, my Dad takes me to my appointment- which is in the same building that my OB used to be in. I come home, sore, numb and tired. Can't walk around, cause I can't feel my feet. So I spend the day on the couch wishing I could be in the kitchen, making cookies for my Dad. (Which I did make the batter, since I felt I had SOMETHING to prove. What that something is remains to be seen).

Like a flood- the frustration of C-section recovery- sitting on the couch, wanting to care for my family came billowing back. In 1 week Ava and Eric's birthday's will pass. Sitting on the couch today just made me wistful for the frustrated, stuck on the couch feeling- but with a baby- whom you love more than you could ever express.

I've played more Candy Crush then I care to today. I can't make my left foot function right yet and I am praying for bedtime to descend upon us. That's when Elaina, who loves animals more than life, comes flying down the stairs. 2 of our 3 fish have succumbed for Ich.

The tears, the sobbing from three kids all at once. Those pitiful puffy eyes, the vacant looks of dread. All back, over fish. They were able to tell us that this reminds the of Ava dying. Emily was sweet and said that maybe Ava died so that they wouldn't be so upset about their fish. So we talked about perspective and how God sometimes uses events in your life to give you a different vantage point on a situation.

We (by we I mean Allan)cleaned the tank, (which if you know us is just a miracle), medicated the water and are hoping that Rebekah the lone fish does not fall to the fate that Ich holds for a fishy. Well, if I be honest I kinda wish we didn't have any fish left- we've had them for about 4 1/2 years and they are a pain. But for my broken hearted girls who are learning a hard perspective tonight, for their sake, I will rally around Rebekah the fish.

Who would have thought that fish would live longer than your baby? You would think that the death of a pet would prepare you for loss you are sure to face. I can tell you nothing can prepare you, on either side of the coin. Nor can you be prepared for the intrusive reminders, smells and thoughts whether you clean or not. They will still come. Why? Because God is giving you perspective.

I need to remember that I am His not mine. I need to see myself and this world through His eyes, not mine. I am reminded that this week, in particular, we Benton's apparently need to grieve a bit more and gain some perspective.


  1. Such love and pain, pain and love. Hugs to you! xo


  2. Such a profound blog. The strength , courage and honestly you carry are truely amazing. I wish I could be half the women you are.

    This old friend thinks about you all the time, my heart still breaks for you, but YOUR faith has given me strength not to stray from my path when it seems impossible.

    You were put on this earth for a reason, and you are faithly following in Gods plan for you. I cannot say that about too many people.

    Truley amazing Amy. You really are. <3 love you. and think about you often.

  3. That is really good and interesting blog, you did pretty good job by writing this piece, loved it. Thank you for sharing it with us and keep posting such posts