Monday, October 3, 2011

What's your problem?

So I wrote a blog a few weeks ago.  Three to be exact.  All I needed to do to post it was send the picture via bluetooth from my phone to my computer.  But I couldn't remember how and I kept forgetting to ask Hugh about it.  And then I lost the post on my computer.  It just disappeared from the desktop.  After searching all my folders and not finding it and finally googling how to find lost documents I found it in one of Hugh's folders.  His sheet music folder actually.  I just reread that last sentence.  If you could see me right now I'm shaking my head, holding my hands palms up above my keyboard and making an "I don't know" sound without using actual words.  Some things are beyond my understanding.

However, the good news is I found it.  And since I found it I'm going to post it.  But since I'm also lazy I'm not going to go back in and change all the tense's and yesterday's and things like that to make it chronologically make sense.  Just know that when I say the first "Last Tuesday" I'm actually referring to the Tuesday after Labour Day. 

And now without further ado I give you... A NEW BLOG!  Finally!  (Sort of...)  Anyway, here it is in all it's unvarnished glory:

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If life always went according to plan I really wouldn't have much to write about.  Good thing it doesn't then, right!  Right?

Last Tuesday after lunch I put Sebastian down for a nap and tidied the kitchen so I could spend a lovely quiet afternoon in the sunshine with my book, guilt-free.  I had just filled my water glass and picked up my book when the phone rang.  It was Ava’s teacher saying she had fallen off the monkey bars at lunch and could I come down to the school and take a look at her arm.  I woke Sebastian up went to the school and sure enough Ava’s wrist was oddly swollen and definitely needed an xray.

After a return trip home, (to get my phone which I’d forgotten and some snacks and books to survive the long hospital wait) several phone calls (one to Hugh and one to a friend), a return trip back to school to drop off Tristan’s booster seat (so said friend could pick him up after school) I finally headed to emerg with Ava and Sebastian. 

Three hours later Ava’s arm was being wrapped in hot pink cast material which we were told would need to stay on for at least six weeks while Ava kept saying to me, “Why? Why? Why did this happen?  Why did I do those monkey bars?” 

There is a a Bible verse that says, “Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don't try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.” I truly believe that the trouble that comes into our lives builds our character in ways that it’s not possible for us to grow in when everything is going according to plan.  In what other circumstances can you really learn to appreciate as truth what the great Chuck Swindoll says about attitude? Life is only 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it.

I’ve had many many conversations with Ava since last Tuesday about attitude and perspective.  We’ve been talking about focusing on all the things she still can do (colour, play toys, go to school, cuddle with mom and dad) instead of what she can’t do (run, ride bikes, do the monkey bars).  “I know Mom,” she’d say.  “It’s just that I wish it had never happened!”  Don’t we all wish that when life gets derailed? But that statement has opened up opportunities for conversations about how when we change our words we change our world.  What we think and what we hear ourselves say has direct power over our feelings.  Our feelings then dictate our attitude.  If we actively change what we’re thinking or saying we can completely transform the level of joy we live out of - no matter what our physical circumstances are.  I’ve been encouraging Ava to look on the bright side and speak out loud the still-innumerable blessings in her life whenever she’s feeling down about her situation.  And I’ve seen a shift in her. 

I can honestly say that I have seen such tremendous personal growth in Ava over the last week that I wouldn’t trade this experience.  If she can learn to shift her attitude and see the blessings in the middle of hard times now as a child she will have the tools to thrive as an adult when faced with much more difficult challenges.

And now I need to tell you about the other thing that did not go quite as planned last week.  Ava’s birthday present from us (Tristan and Ava turned 7 last Friday which I canNOT believe) was to get her ears pierced.  She’s been asking to do it for almost a year so we thought it would be the perfect birthday gift.  Hugh got off work just after school let out so the kids opened their presents and then we piled in the van and headed to the Mall for Ava’s appointment.  I figured the best thing was to get it over with before she had too much time to think about the potential pain.  I learned this is not a good approach with Ava.  She needs time to process.  She got to Merle Norman, picked the studs she wanted and then chickened out.  So we went to the pharmacy got some numbing cream, waited 40 minutes for it to kick in and went back.  She was so thrilled after it was done saying over and over, “This is the best birthday present ever!” and stopping to look at her ears in every store window we passed.  The only thing she was worried about was whether or not the studs would poke into her and hurt her when she laid her head down on her pillow later that night. 

It was during our birthday celebration dinner at a restaurant near the Mall when Hugh and I both noticed that one earring was significantly higher than the other.  When we pushed the studs forward we could see that the girl who did the right ear had done it exactly through the mark and the girl who had done the left had completely missed it, going entirely above it.  With dread in our hearts we told her we had to take her back to get it re-pierced.

That was my turn to say, “Why? Why? Why did that happen?  Why did they get it wrong?”  First the cast and now this????  Are you kidding me?  She absolutely did NOT want to get it redone.  And though it went against every parenting instinct we have to protect our children and shield them from pain Hugh and I insisted she get it done.  Hugh has a small bald spot low on the back of his head from when his brother threw something at him when they were kids.  It needed stitches but Hugh was scared and threw such a fit his mom let him have his way.  He has regretted not getting those stitches all his adult life.  I knew this would be one of those things, that it was momentary pain and then it would be done and fixed and that later on she’d be so glad she did it.  But I actually couldn’t go in with her.  After already doing the broken arm thing with her earlier that week I just couldn’t stand to see her in any more pain. So I chickened out and Hugh took her in while I waited in the van with the boys.  She came back out 30 minutes later with red-rimmed eyes, a red left ear sporting a new - and different - stud because they didn’t have another pair of the flowers she’d originally picked, and a Strawberry Shortcake doll.  “Because,” Hugh said, “her birthday present was supposed to be fun and that was torture!”  He’d ended up having to literally hold her down so they could re-pierce the ear.

After hugging her and kissing her and oooohing and ahhhhing over her new doll I asked her rather tentatively how she was feeling about the whole thing.  “Well, Mom,” Ava said to me.  “The good news is at least it’s the ear that’s on the same side as my cast so I won’t have to lie on it tonight when I go to bed!  And now I get to have two pairs of earrings instead of just one!”  

Life really isn't about the 10%.


  1. AMAZING post Heather... your really are a gifted writer and your kids are BLESSED to have you and Hugh. xo

  2. Faithy really wants her ears pierced and I keep putting it off because of my intense fear that they won't get both the holes the exact same place!!! Seriously, if they can't do it right, why are they letting people pierce people's ears???? Especially little kids'!?!

    Another awesome post Heather. I am always challenged and uplifted by your words. Still waiting for your book. :)

  3. Heather you are such a wonderful mom! Like Tanya said, I too, am uplifted by your words. I had to have the same talk to Journee a couple weeks ago and it's been wonderful seeing the change in her and how it's has passed down to her sisters- just some of the rewards of being a mom we get see..

  4. I was going to leave a threatening comment on your last post because you weren't writing enough! But... I guess I can forgive you.
    Keep writing Heather, I love it!

    PS I hope Ava's healing up quickly!

  5. Thanks ladies! Your encouraging words mean the world to me!

  6. Oh all good. All truth.

    But the all-grown-up 'little' kid in me wouldn't mind if God laid-off the character building once in awhile. :)

    Thanks for the reminder... good for us grown-ups too. xo