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Friday, July 31, 2015

Valleys, Disciples, and Bad Head Bonks

Today I am thinking about this week, two years ago.  This story hasn't really been told much.  Or fully.  Not sure I can even tell it all here today, but I have felt that it's time for me to share. I hope you'll indulge me as I think about this specific life event and what it's done to my heart.

Two years ago, I was 7 1/2 months pregnant with twins- I was uncomfortable and huge. I was on partial bed rest, as I had been having fits of premature labor for about 2 months.  And with all of that going on, I was sitting here, at this very kitchen table, wondering if my precious 3 1/2 year old was going to be able to walk again.

When people look at my Mr. Boo, they see an active, joyful, entertaining, "normal" now- 5 year old.  But I see the huge struggles he's had in his five short years, and how God has shaped him.  And it's amazing.


But that day 2 years ago, I was afraid I was going to lose him- in some capacity- forever.

To this day, it's difficult for me to detail the actual accident.  Let me tell you that it touched on just about every one of my fears as a parent, and I am one of those moms who you'd probably accuse of being over-protective.  I don't leave my kids with people I don't fully trust.  I don't take them to places where they'd get hurt.  I hover under the monkey bars.  I read those articles about how kids these days aren't allowed to roam and get hurt and do things like when we were kids, and I think, "Yah, that's because we are smarter parents now- and we don't want our kids to die."  (not saying I'm right- it's just how I think).

I'm going to "long-story-short" you here.  I left him in a childcare situation I thought was completely safe- somewhere he'd been hundreds of times with people I trust explicitly.  Due to the negligence of one or more adults who I dearly love, something massively heavy fell over on him and trapped him underneath. I'm talking hundreds of solid pounds.  On his head.  Through no fault of his own.  I was nearby and heard it happen, and heard his screams. He was carried to my arms, crying, unable to explain what he was feeling. As I laid him down to examine him, I had a vision of laying him in a coffin.  My heart was punctured.  I was terrified.

Doctors, hospitals, tests.  Words thrown at us: Skull fracture. Traumatic brain injury. Post-concussive syndrome.  FRACTURE of my 3 year-old's SKULL.  We spent days at a children's hospital (a place we have come to know fairly well), while I tried hard to remain calm so I didn't deliver twin babies prematurely on the floor of a radiology waiting room.

His little face the night of the accident. His fracture ran from the bridge of his nose, up through his eye socket, to his forehead.

The next morning. Trying to make me laugh by CHEESEing.
You can't keep a good man down: still smiling through his tests. 

Thank God- he didn't have spinal cord damage, despite being injured in a way that could've resulted in that. He had "the best kind of skull fracture." Somehow, that didn't comfort me in the moment. One of the seemingly endless line of doctors said to us, "Well, if his bones had shifted an inch one way or the other, it could've been life threatening." Literally within an inch of his life .

He came home and didn't walk normally for about 2 weeks. The skull fracture was only part of the huge issue- the brain injury was worse.  His personality was altered badly for awhile. I can't tell you the amount of fear that was in me.  I can also say it hasn't totally gone away.

I know I'm rambling. Here's the point: this might be the first time in my adult life when my faith came into question in my own head. What if he had died? What if he was paralyzed? This child has been in the hospital 7 times in his short life- he's fought battles some adults I know haven't fought. And we've made it through, together. He is a treasure in my heart, and I'm amazed by him. So the thought of losing him, as I'm sure all parents would agree, is just incomprehensible.  But it could happen. It could happen to any of our children at any time  It HAS happened to friends I know.
Standing up, with help from Nana.
I was grateful and rejoicing that Mr. Boo was ok.  But my spirit was still disturbed: that aching reminder that I am not in control and I cannot protect my kids from everything. I felt a little betrayed by God- that dumb, recurring feeling that somehow my family should be exempt from this kind of trouble. I felt lost, down in a valley I had never been in before. I felt Him asking me: Will you abandon ME if something this heart-breaking (or worse) happens in your life?

I put the question off for days. Weeks. Months. But finally I could put it off no longer. And as I wrestled in my heart, my mind went to the story in the Bible where many people who had been following Jesus abandoned Him, and He turned to his disciples and said, "Are you also going to leave?"

Simon Peter replied, "Lord, to whom would we go?"

Where would I go? If I gave up my faith for this, what would I have? I would have nothing.  No direction, no confidence. No hope.  To whom would I go for the unconditional love and comfort and peace and joy and healing in my life? Who else will never abandon me? There is no one else.

Mr. Boo's head recovered slowly, but his spunky spirit and joyful heart were no worse for the wear: in fact, I think this only made him more full of life.

Sitting up, unassisted, for the first time in a week.  (Wearing his Hawthorne Huskies tee: represent)
So where are we today?  He still often brings up his "bad head bonk." We talk about it a lot. He has fear too.  And, as I've been revealing to some of you lately, we recently found out he still has neurological issues as a result of the accident, and we are seeing neurology again. He needs specialized therapy for the damage that has remained. And over and over I have to let go of fear.  And anger. And sadness.

Add the "head bonk" event to the crazy last two years: giving birth to twins, fighting their medical issues, a Life-Flight/ICU event for Sammy Brown, and all kinds of other life-shifting stuff, and sometimes it still feels like giving up would be easier. To turn to something else for comfort, or just shut my heart down completely so I don't feel this stuff.

But I know where I am and Who I am with is better than any alternative.

And to be completely honest, we have had another year of valleys.  Nothing physical, but still heart-wrenching. People who we thought would never abandon us have done just that.  We've been massively deceived and hurt as a family by people close to us.  Lies have been told about us, to slander us and damage relationships, while we've had no chance to defend ourselves. Our children have been hurt and confused. And there have been times I've questioned everything: where is God when I'm hurting? Why does He allow this? Wouldn't it be easier to just chuck it all and stop trying to follow Him?

And the answer is the same: To Whom would I go? Even in the hurt, I know there is no one like Him.
Keeping your heart alive means feeling the deep hurts.  But keeping it truly alive means you will never be truly alone. And as I often quote, "Turns out, (it's) not where, but who you're with, that really matters."  Grateful I'm with Him, and thankfully,  I'm still hanging onto my Boo.  Whose real name, by the way, is based on a story about one man turning the hearts of an entire nation back to God.  My little old testament prophet continues to do that for me time and time again.  I'll gladly keep my heart alive for those moments.