Guilt Be Gone

This rainy morning was similar to most weekday mornings around our house. Chris left for work when it is still a bit dark, Cooper comes wobbling into our room rubbing his tired eyes with feet that still seem a bit sleepy.

He asks slowly with a crooked grin, “Mommy…um…how ’bout…donuts for breakfast?”

It is usually donut Friday, but I could hardly resist.

“Well bud, it seems there is something missing from your question…”

He comes close, I kneel down to meet him at his level. He gently squeezes my cheeks between his hands, and chirps, “…Pleeeaasssee?”

I caved.

So we took a sugary field trip to our neighborhood donut shop and proceeded to his little school. Like most mornings, he starts out a bit shy, gives me a quick hug and peck on the lips and is off and running with the other kids.

I walk out of his classroom thinking about the fact that it is summertime. Most kids are out of school on break, home playing, exploring, going to the zoo, swimming at the pool and having play dates at the park.

Here it comes. Wait for it…the ugly thing called guilt rears it’s ugly head.

As a working mom, I have learned to deal with the balance of two lives. Overcoming guilt is a daily process for me. Some days I am confident that my choice to work, to design and be creative and to be needed outside the home, is the best choice for me…

Other days…I wonder, I question…I let guilt get the best of me. These days I have to work extra hard not to let this happen. If I am not at the hospital, guilt. Dropping off Coop at school instead of taking him to the park or to the zoo, guilt.

After all that, I’m drained of energy. And this isn’t fair to either kid…and especially not my first love, my forever boyfriend, who I still love to date…my darling husband.

Guilt is such a bad habit of mine. Anyone else? It’s silly really. This kind of guilt doesn’t do me any good, rather it takes me down a path I would otherwise avoid.

So again, pivot. How wonderful is it that Cooper has a place where he is loved and cared for, where he continues to learn and grow his intelligent brain and spend time with kids his age? And Audrey? When I am not with her, likely a grandparent is and if not, I know how well cared for she is by the team at the hospital. They love and adore her.

I am grateful to be in a profession I love that helps me feel balanced and fulfilled. Better than that? I have a husband who supports whatever decision I make about working. I know what my “job” is at this moment. I am focused on my family first and foremost. But I do look forward to the day I will be able to get back to doing some work that makes me feel confident and needed.

Warranted advice comes to me from a vast array of perspectives. I enjoy hearing what different mothers and fathers in my life have to say about balance. I take a little piece of each of these conversations and apply it to my own life. I have been on a 30 year course of discovery and frankly, I hope it continues for years and years. I remember my wise Aunt Cathy quoting in a training session once, “When you’re done learning, you’re done.” Amen. I never want to stop learning, growing, bettering and strengthening this wonderful thing called life.

My how I have changed this year. There is no question about that. I have had moments that felt like I was the worst version of myself and yet, I feel even more loved than ever. I am certain I am not alone here.

Remember a few days ago, I asked specifically for prayers regarding Audrey’s feedings? Your prayers have been heard, listened to and acted upon.

She eats. Well. That is, when she is awake.

I’ll put this into perspective for you to help you really understand what I mean. Early last week, she was getting about 1-2% or so of her milk through bottles. The early part if this week, she was averaging over half of her feedings through the bottle!

We have learned that it takes very little wear this girl out. Today she slipped back into an eyes-wide-shut state, sleepy, lethargic and uninterested in bottles. The doctor said she really needs to rest and we need not push her. If the interest level isn’t enough, we will leave her be. This can feel a bit frustrating, two steps forward then one step back. But the team of nurses and doctors assure us that this roller coaster is fairly normal and especially with Audrey’s heart condition, she will tire easily until she can have surgery.

In spite of a slow day, miraculous things are happening in this little lady’s life. How can I even think of questioning how or why? My trust and faith continues to be strengthened each and every time these answered prayers come along. And when they don’t, or perhaps not on my timeline, I am reminded to be patient, to trust and to refocus. It’s as if I can feel myself getting “off balance” and must intentionally swing back to center.

Ready for something else? We were informed today that, despite concerns during pregnancy and even in the early days of Audrey’s life, she does indeed have a corpus callosum. This is a part of the brain that facilitates communication between the two hemispheres…a key player to say the least.

This is a big deal and we are thrilled! Because she already has Dandy Walker to deal with, the absence of the corpus callosum would have likely made seizures worse and disabilities more severe.

My goodness, I’m a thankful mama. Thank you so much for staying connected and fervent in your thoughts and your prayers.

We continue this current way of life between the hospital and our home. We’re stretched thin and quite tired. We have just enough strength to make it through each day and crash each night, resting and recovering before starting over again.

So now, we sleep. Shut down our minds and prepare for what tomorrow may bring.

My thoughts instantly drift to Audrey, guessing what she is doing at this very moment.

Good night my sweet baby. My love for you runs deep, my hopes for you are vast and the need for you in my arms is great. Soon enough, little bunny, we’ll be together under one roof. Soon enough. Take your time. Rest. Grow. Know that you are loved. May only the sweetest of dreams dance in your mind tonight. I’ll be seeing you…

Good night.

20140619-221432-80072805.jpgSometimes hats are more trouble than they’re worth…

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7 thoughts on “Guilt Be Gone

  1. Oh, Rachel and family. Such great news today….blessings continue! Audrey truly is an angel. I cannot quit thinking about you each and hope you feel the constant stream of hugs and prayers. As with every other aspect of life, you are handling each and every day with beauty and grace but, most importantly, strong faith. Rest well and much love, Amy

  2. Audrey continues to fight so hard. She is working hard to grow and breath and eat and it is clear that it takes work for her to just keep her eyes open. I can relate to that one some days. Today Audrey took a day off to rest after a hard work out yesterday! Today she rested.

    It is hard to go to work. It is good to work, Works comes in many shapes and sizes. Sometimes we get paid to work. Sometimes we don’t. It is important that we work, things work when we work, but sometimes it’s good not to work. Right now it’s good that you can work to care for Audrey, and Cooper and Chris….and yourself. Your career work will wait for you and be good for you again in due time. Sometimes guilt is a powerful teacher. Sometimes it is just the deceit of the enemy of our soul. I think you have eloquently articulated a healthy understanding of the difference. I’m glad you are good at this pivot thing.

    You have many to help you with this immediate work that demands so much right now. Share your load as much as you can.

    Even God took a day off to rest.

    Love you all

  3. God is so good sweet Rachael! How truly blessed sweet Audrey is to have you, Chris and Coop. Stay strong in His Love. Love and prayers to you all. Sherry

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  4. You don’t know me but through your posts I feel like I know you. I met your parents in Cancun at the wedding of our son, Matt who married Jessica Brown. Jolene Brown told me about you and directed me to your blog site.

    My heart hurts for you and I haven’t been able to get all of you off my mind. I understand on a small level some of what you have been going through. We had a 2 lb 12 oz baby so know whats it’s like to leave your baby at the hospital at the end of a day. The intense pain of leaving that first time was almost unbearable.

    I also absolutely know we have a God who still does miracles. Miracles come in all shapes and sizes and that’s what keeps us going.

    Even though I don’t know you personally, I assure you I pray for all of you every day. I love that you state specific prayer requests. Hang in there, prayers are coming your way.

  5. I love this quote:
    “I get up.
    I walk.
    I fall down………….
    Meanwhile.
    I keep Dancing.”

    And then we do it all over again, and again; many times over in a lifetime. I praise God who gives us the ability & desire to do so!! Hope gives us so much; hope lives, hope loves, hope renews. May the hope we have in Him refill & refuel you & Chris at just the right time………to help you keep dancing.

    I love you all for always & forever

    • You are a brave, strong, courageous family~ We keep you in our prayers daily. HOORAY for DONUTS! love you all, Cynthia & Scottie

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