Choosing Joy

The relentless, constant, unending, repetitive badgering.

The fighting, the yelling the screaming, the crying.

Day after day.

All hell broke loose a few minutes ago.

Sketch had just tried to go jumping on top of the van, again (his new favorite thing to do)

PolkaDot, so tired, was put in her crib. But, her favorite thing to do now is to throw her stuffed animals and pacifiers overboard and then cry because she can’t sleep without them. (Don’t you love that stage?)

I, riddled with aching joints, go to get PolkaDot, and then let Sketch out of  his time-out that he earned by kicking PolkaDot because she was sitting on the floor instead of being held by me.

“Hold the baby?”

Here we go again.  Twenty-four seven, he wants me to hold the baby.

I walk in to the computer room to text Mr. Incredible and see when he’s coming home. We’re supposed to be packing for a trip and getting ready for PolkaDots 1st birthday.

Sketch follows me.  Polkadot is nestled in the chair with me as I tap on the keyboard.

“Hold the baby? Log-in window?”  He demands.  Again.

He is pretty much OCD about all computers being on the log-in window screen unless he’s playing with it.

“Not right now, Sketch.”

He continues to badger.

PolkaDot pulls herself up to her feet, and before I could blink my eyes, she landed with a thud, right on the side of her face.

Screams.

Uncontrollable sobs.

“Hold the baby!  Log-in window!”

I send Sketch back to his room.

PolkaDot continues to scream, her body thirsting for comfort.

This is how it’s been for most of the summer.  Unending.

We’ve had great moments in between the mind-boggling chaos.

It would be so easy to focus on all the bad things.  All the This-Is-Too-Much-ness of it all.

But, to focus on that would be the beginning of an unending darkness.  The “pit of despair” as it’s described in The Prince Bride  .

So I choose after my own tempter tantrum instead, to focus on the the good things; to “Choose Joy” as Sherry Surratt talks about in her article I Choose Joy from MomSense Magazine’s Summer 2012 edition. She says:

“It’s so human to get caught up in what’s wrong, what’s broken, what’s missing and to be crabby about it.  But here’s what I know:  God wants me to choose joy. Contentment is my daily opportunity if only I’ll slow down and notice the good things.”

I really believe this is the secret to handling the impossible:

.         To Believe that all things are possible for those who love God.

        It is too hard by myself, but with God, I can do anything.

.        To Believe that every good and perfect gift comes from the Father.

        It isn’t a coincidence.

.        To Believe that God is there helping me, teaching me to see the positive.

        He whispers in my ear, which way to go.

.        To know that God is showing me,  pointing out to me,  the lovely, beautiful, good things that he as placed all around me.

        He opens my eyes to see.

So I choose be grateful, to be thankful for all that He’s given me.

        When I do that, I see that the weight of all those good things is by far, heavier than all the bad.

Psalm 30:11

“You turned my wailing into dancing;
 you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy”

High Flying Dust

I'm sure there is a treasure in here somewhere!

The dreaded week has occurred.

It actually didn’t start out that way…but quickly became that when our last in-home supports staff quit last week, leaving us this week with no help and all three kids home, with only me during the day while Mr. Incredible is at work.

This is the week between Sketch’s last day at preschool, and the twins first day of public school.

This is the week, in which the dust of life has kicked up as high as it can get, without permanent damage.

The craziness started on Monday. The boys were at odds from the start. It went something like this:

“Sketch turned the light off!” in Dash’s well practiced whiney voice, bordering on a yell.

“Aaaaahhhhh!” squeals Sketch back at Dash.

“Sketch wants the lights off! It’s daytime. Sketch wants the lights off because why? Sketch! Lights go off at bedtime! Sketch wants the lights OFF!”

Sketch moves the table an inch or two, and looks at Dash.

“Sketch moved the table! NO Sketch!” and Dash attempts to move it back.

Sketch tries to move it again and yells at dash.

Dash starts screaming at Sketch.

Sketch screams at Dash.

Time to SEPARATE the children!!!

Sketch goes to the basement.

Dash works on his maps.

Ahhh…peace an quiet…

What’s that smell?

Sketch comes up without his beloved undies on and goes to the bathroom. I SEE the smell. Ugh… again!

I help clean up Sketch and he goes to his room to get more undies. I go to the basement and see the unspeakable horrors of what happened.

Diarrhea.

All over the carpet, the pillows, the toys. Everywhere. And the ubiquitous stink knew no bounds.

I start to clean up and get the well-used carpet cleaner ready.

“AAAAhhhhh! All Done!” Sketch protests. He doesn’t like the sound of the carpet cleaner, or the fact that the play room will be off limits for a while.

While I’m cleaning up, Dash, Sketch, and Princess Buttercup are upstairs TOGETHER…with no adult supervision… I can’t stay downstairs cleaning so I do the minimum required, and close off the basement until Mr. Incredible gets home.

The smell is still strong, even upstairs. It’s Sketch…I think it is in his hair.

“Sketch, time for a bath!”

“Aaaaahhhhhh! All Done!”

And on it goes…

A friend sends a word of encouragement. It is Psalm 46:1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”

The sun went down, the moon calmly shined through the night.

As I got up on Tuesday morning, I was sure the day would go better. The kids all had a good nights sleep, the morning was quiet. I got to take my shower and even have a cup of coffee before everyone was up and going.

Quiet mornings can be utterly deceiving.

Once everyone was up for the day, the arguing and fighting continued. Sketch was in rare form. He asked for some Special K, so I gave some to him in a red bowl. He looked at it, got angry and yelled, “All Done!” and threw the bowl at me with flakes flying all over the kitchen. He screamed and flailed about, attempting to scratch. ( I am still not sure what that was about. Maybe the bowl was the wrong color?)

Then he started crying and rubbed his eyes into my shirt as if to say, “I’m sorry”. He went to the basement to play again, with his trains.

The twins continued their fighting throughout the morning.

I attempted to get some laundry done, and while switching clothes from washer to dryer, I remember the verse my friend gave me the other day. He is my refuge and strength. He is my ever-present help in trouble. “But Lord! I need your physical presence! I need an actual set up extra eyes and hands and feet!”

“Am I not enough for you?” I hear him whisper back. “Can’t I help you my way?”

Oh yeah… “I’m sorry Lord, I have made you too small in my eyes…forgive me!”

There are many ways He can help me…he can send a calmness over the house. He could send a person to help, there are any number of creative ways He can help. Who am I to limit Him? “Ok, You have promised to be my ever-present help. You have promised to provide for me, you have promised that through You (who gives me strength), I can do all things.

The afternoon arrived and I decided to go to BJ’s, where I could get a car-cart and have all three kids contained. Maybe getting out of the house would help everyone be in a better mood. Things seemed calmer for a while.

For the first time in my BJ’s-going experience, BJ’s had no car-carts to be found!

So we moved on to plan B, and got a regular cart. Sketch sat in the back and Dash and princess Buttercup “helped” push the cart. Dash was very upset about not getting the car-cart, and spent the first half of the trip underneath the cart, watching the floor pass as we “drove” along, collecting the few items we needed.

Sketch and Dash fought over which direction to turn next.

“Going to turn right please!” Sketch demands

“Turn left please?” Dash immediately asks.

“Mommy is picking the direction. All the time, the driver picks” I remind the boys. I turn right.

“Sketch picks! It’s Sketch’s turn to pick!” Dash bellows as I turn.

This is just too much, so before things get worse, I go straight to the self check out. I want to get out of here before to much attention is brought to us! I go to scan my BJ’s card and Sketch stands up in the back of the cart and loudly exclaims, “Poopy in the POTTY? POTTY!” So much for not causing a scene!

I tell him to wait until we check out. He didn’t like that and tried to get out of the cart on his own, while screaming. I avoid looking at anyone else in the store. I am sure there area thousand eyes watching me, and I just wish there was a way to tell them the boys have autism and I am really not a terrible mom!

Sketch finally settled down and waited as I scanned all the food. Dash wants to “help”. Despite my attempts to tell him he cannot scan stuff, he continued to grab things and reach around me to the scanner. I decide to hold his hand so he can’t do that, and put the last thing on the scanner. I swipe my card to pay for it. Sketch has to go potty! I’m almost done. Then, before the card can be processed, Dash kicks the BIG RED button that shuts the entire machine off. We have to be rung up all over again, every single item… Sketch needs to go potty!

Finally, we are done paying for groceries, and we can go to the bathroom. He wasn’t kidding, Sketch needed to go potty!

We arrive home without incident (besides the constant arguing over which direction to turn at every opportunity!). It is cool outside so the kids are happy to play in the back yard.

Mr. Incredible comes home a little early! Yeah! Relief!!!

I usually go out on Tuesday nights with a friend for Bible Study, but it was rescheduled this time. So, I decided to go out anyway, to get a break from the madness, and went to the mall to use a gift card we had.

Not too long after I arrived, I received the phone call no one wants to get.

It is Mr. Incredible, “Hi, can you come home? Sketch is missing, I can’t find him anywhere”.

I drop everything and rush to the car. I call the police, they are already there seaching for him, and they brought a rescue dog. I wonder how long he’s been missing? I call my friend, Edna Mode and tell her what happened. She was at church so she and others there pray. Hard. She comes to help. She calls her husband who is nearby and he comes to help. I am racing home. The police said to be careful. I’m trying.

I am panicking and praying. I am crying out to God, loudly, in my car… “You are ever-present in my time of need! You are there with Sketch Please keep him safe. Let him be ok. Please SHOW me you are ever-present! Please GOD!!!” So many thoughts race through my mind. So many “what if’s” and “If only’s”.

Mr. Incredible calls, “They found him!”

The police call, “They found Sketch and he is alright!”

Relief. Kinda. I mostly think that vomiting on the side of the road would be a good thing to do.

I call Edna to tell her they found him and he’s ok.

He was in the woods beside our house. Sketch loves the woods…or “forest” as he calls it. He was barefoot and wandered out of the yard to a section of the “forest” he doesn’t usually go into. We don’t know what happened or why he went there. We can only speculate. But out he came, and he is safe. And he is OK.

And God was PRESENT in our time of trouble.

Just like He said.

And today, Sketch is happy as can be, dancing and singing a Hillsong song, “My souls set free in the one I love! Come on! Come on! And the whole world sings in the freedom we know! Come on! Come on and praise Him!”

Dash is working on his maps.

Princess Buttercup is making things.

There is very little fighting or arguing.

Mr. Incredible comes home early again.

All is well.

Come on! Come on and praise Him!

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