Joys of Creation

Personally, I adore Mrs. Obama’s new rap. Katherine Parr would have done it, and history would have called her a heroine for using her position to reach out to the masses in favor of education, regardless of politics. The media is just realizing they are old, and waiting on kids to decide if it is cool or not, because the youth are our true leaders. So good on the Mrs. for trying to educate them. Also, it’s hilarious.

I am awake early, though not as early as I feared. The baby slept until five Utah time, which was amazing. She usually sleeps until six or seven when she is on oxygen, so I was worried about how early she would wake with the time change. I think she was worn out, though! I was able to feed her and get her back down for another nap, so hopefully our appointments this morning will be easy.

Our bags have not arrived. I brought some of her food in the carry-on, and plenty of diapers for a plane delay, but enough of either for three or four days. I try not to check bags on short trips, but she just has too much equipment and I was too weak to carry it all. Checking the big bag was free with my ticket, and seemed worth it. Now I am again indebted to angels and friends in the church who have helped care for us.

It was a strange thing to find myself away from home, with a sick infant, hoping there is enough food and diapers for her washing her clothes and mine in the sink, and huddling under covers while our clothes dried and it snowed outside. It was a surreal experience, even though really I was quiet fine in my heated hotel room, and so very soon a knock came with supplies from our friend Lisa, whose grown daughter has PRS also. I was so very grateful, especially at five am as I opened a new package of diapers to change the baby, and opened a new container of oatmeal to feed her.

I am grateful I had her prescription formula and food thickener in the carry on, so we at least had that and her special cups.

We also have our coats, which Nathan “made” me grab at the last minute, despite my adolescent eye-rolling at having to carry one more thing.

Real mature, Emily. And thank you, Nathan.

He is working hard at home. ChildShare, a foster and adoption agency sponsored by a Methodist church, gave our whole family tickets to the ballet to see Nutcracker. We were very excited, and glad to take the kids to a special event and expose them to the arts further. The kids, however, so struggle with any change in routine, and disappearing mothers so grieve them even when it’s temporary or in this baby context, that they struggled all day. Only Mary and Kirk got to go, my two sweet children who are rarely in trouble – but do it up good when it’s their turn!

Nathan stayed home with the others, prepared for battles of tantrums and baby fits. We have been specifically working on screaming with them, or rather, them not throwing screaming tantrums and us not screaming back at them. Some of them were so abandoned or abused that their screaming is fear-based, and can only be resolved by nurturing long-term, so it is something we must endure. All of them were exposed so extensively to domestic violence that screaming is their default form of communication, even when nothing is wrong. One of them still gets chocolate popped in his mouth on visits anytime he gets the least bit upset, so we have to restart the Helen Keller battles to undo the bad training every time they have a visit. It’s exhausting.

Nathan did amazing, though! During dinner, one of them asking about the art work from the Indian restaurant the other day, and so he taught them about Hinduism. They looked up art and different portrayals of different gods, and talked about what truths we share and what things are different. That led to a discussion about dance, and the ballet they were missing, so he showed them a video of the ballet. They ended up watching clips of swing dancing, Fred Astaire, tap dancing, Stomp, and even finger tutting and contact juggling. They had so much fun! They were able to calm down, and enjoy their evening together, even though they still missed the activity planned. I am so proud of all of them!

It is such a blessing, a miracle, even, when we have those peaceful happy moments together, everyone together. There are so many of us, and all of us with our own issues and struggles, and all of us new to each other. It’s a lot to process, and we are so often not very good at it yet. But we, all eight of us, are consistently trying, and daily praying and pleading, and trying again, and ever so slowly making progress. We experience the atonement working in us, feel the Spirit guide us moment by moment, and witness the sealing power of the temple weld us together through priesthood power and raw experiences in the mess of mortality.

Lizabeth from my ward posted this on Facebook:

I love it so much, and it makes me think of the gathering of our family. Heavenly Father didn’t wrap up a finished, happy-peppy family all tied up with a bow under the tree. He gave us little unfinished beings, while we were yet unfinished ourselves, and all of us with histories we can do nothing about now except heal through practice and love and time. We need each other, all of our selves so complimentary, but we also need each other to shine lights on our shadows or else our shadows would never be found out. Family is so transformative, and it is mucky work. But what shining smiles come out on the other side, I know! It reminds me of the D & C 128:18, which until now I only understood in the context of my parents and ancestors on the other side of the veil… but now also understand in the context of my relationships with my children:

… For we without them cannot be made perfect; neither can they without us be made perfect…

I know it is true, and I know we are progressing.
We may have a long way to go, but our hearts are turned toward God, and every morning we try again.

This morning, I pray for Nathan and the children as they try at home together, and for me and the baby as we try here. I am weak and sore this morning, and praying my medicine comes today, and knowing my strength will be sufficient. We go first thing this morning to the doctor for the baby, and hopefully this will be part of the help we need in organizing our family, even in creating her life, and ours together.


Posted in Family, Life permalink

About Emily

I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since 2009. I serve as a Chaplain, and work as a counselor. I got bilateral cochlear implants in 2010, but will always love sign language. I choose books over television, and organics over processed. Nothing is as close to flying as ballroom dancing - except maybe running, when in the solo mood. I would rather be outside than anywhere else, especially at the river riding my bike or kayaking. PhD in Marriage and Family Therapy, and currently doing a post-doc in Jewish Studies and an MDiv in Pastoral Counseling. The best thing about Emily World is that it's always an adventure, even if (not so) grammatically precise. The only thing better than writing is being married to a writer. Nathan Christensen and I were married in the Oklahoma City temple on 13 October 2012, and have since fostered more than eighty-five children. We have adopted the six who stayed, and are totally and completely and helplessly in love with our family. Nathan writes musical theater, including "Broadcast" (a musical history of the radio) and an adaption of Lois Lowry's "The Giver". He served his mission in South Korea, has taught song-writing in New York City public schools, and worked as a theater critic for a Tucson newspaper. This is not an official Web site of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

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