Hidden Blessings

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Good morning! It has been a while since I have checked out this forum. Time has been going by so fast.   

Savanah has started grinding her teeth, anyone have experience with this? I'm amazed at how loud that sound is coming from her mouth! 

We have officially started our local support group in my hometown and it's been a blessing. I want to sincerely thank you, Bev, for taking the time to write "Unlocking the Treasure". We meet once a month and spend time studying a section in your book and then we also have discussion time on various topics such as respite care etc ... This book has brought a real focus to our group and I really appreciate that our focus is God...

I also wanted to thank you Spot, for your blogs. I find so much encouragement in your pictures and writings. I feel as if I know your family a little bit and yet we never met! I feel blessed to hear your story, the joy, and the hardships. I think that God is working through you and your family to provide peace for myself and my constant worries about the future.

I have been having a difficult time as Christmas is getting closer. It's easy to lose sight of the real meaning of Christmas. I find it hard to go through the toy aisle, buying toys for my nieces but not for Savanah because she can't play with them. I find it hard to see my friends going tobogganing and making snowmen with their kids, while I am trying to get a wheelchair fitted for Savanah. I find it hard to see everyone attend Christmas concerts and go to many Christmas dinners while I consider if it's worth it to attend the same things because what if Savanah catches another cold or the flu which then makes it such a struggle for her to breathe and eat ... and yet I believe that God has seen my tears ... I put up my Christmas tree yesterday and when I was all finished, I turned down the living room lights and plugged in the tree lights and sat with Savanah in front of it.  She looked at it with such concentration! I loved seeing the reflection of the lights in her eyes! We sat quietly for a while and then I sang some Christmas hymns to her and she was so calm :) Moments like that is what makes all of this worth it. Her innocent wonder at the simple Christmas tree lights brings such a joy to my heart. I look forward to doing it again tonight! I'm sure that when Mary gave birth to Jesus she didn't realize what was all in store for her son, the Son of God, and yet she trusted in God. I need to learn the same thing, the future is unknown, but Jesus is always with us. 

I want to wish everyone a blessed Christmas!

Melissa

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Melissa, a blessed Christmas to you too.

I share some of the same feelings as you with regards to preparing for Christmas.

But - first, let me respond to your comment about the teeth grinding.  Yes, Rachel grinds her teeth often, and I cannot stand the sound.  My ears are so sensitive to certain sounds, and teeth grinding is at the top of the list (along with fingernails on a chalkboard).  We started with a chiropractor for her muscle tenseness and scoliosis, and conveniently, the chiropractor also gave us advice on the grinding.

The grinding could be a control issue - something our girls can do without help, it could be a coping mechanism to deal with pain or discomfort elsewhere, or it could be related to teething.

We have found that her grinding subsided when we focused on a full body massage that included her neck and jawline.  We worked up the back and then along the shoulders, moving our fingers in the direction away from the neck (like pulling the stress away).  We do a full masssage twice a day, partly because of grinding and partly because of muscles stiffness.  So far, that's the best advice I can give you.

Oddly enough, I have noticed how much I clench when I am tired, stressed, or worried.  Clenching is apparently my body's coping mechanism...  :)

As for the preparation for Christmas, I find having disabled/cognitively delayed children carries a bittersweet blessing - in that you are forced to seek what is truly the spirit of Christmas.  The excitement over gifts and candy is completely past the comprehension of our special needs girls.  We also have a hard time coordinating taking the older girls sledding or skating while wishing we could take all four girls.  As hard as it is when you watch other "normal" kids, you are right in seeking some of the simple joys - the songs, the lights.  And then you may find that your own heart and faith is positively affected by this. 

I am glad, though, that you write honestly.  That is important.

I struggle each year with putting a gift under our tree for Rachel and Janneke.  We don't focus too much on gifts at Christmas time, but we still give a gift to our girls on Christmas Eve (because of His Gift!).  Part of my actions are dictated by her older sisters - according to them, there has to be a gift for them.  It is often slippers or a music cd, something that we can incorporate with their care.  I actually asked for Christmas lights for Janneke (someone in the extended family wanted to buy her a gift), the kind that have different settings for the lights (blinking, etc).  She loves to look at lights all year long, so this is the time to look for a good strand. :)

The last number of days have been harder for me, and yesterday I was struggling with some anger and frustration over the lack of sleep in my life.  In my silent prayer to God, I heard my Handel's Messiah cd (which plays all the time in December!) and the song that started at that moment was Comfort, Comfort, Ye My People.

Yes, we need His comfort, eh?

I am thankful we embrace and worship a God whose arm span outstretches all my anger, frustration, and sorrow - a God who embraces us in those arms to say, "Be still, I am with you."

Peace for your week, Melissa.

spot