Entering the Teenage Years

28 11 2015

Caleb,

You’re a teenager!  (Though you’ve been eating like one for a while now.)  You are almost taller than me, but I am still faster and stronger and smarter.  And, I can drive and you can’t.  At least I have that.

Not only have you grown up physically, you’ve grown more mature.  Academically, you are (have always been) gifted.  I was super proud, perhaps a little too proud, to see you standing on the stage when they announced the first quarter Heads List recipients, and there were only six kids.  You, the only boy in the group, were among them.

Spiritually, I can see your faith turning into your faith, not my faith or Daddy’s faith, but one of your own.  This excites me and scares me.  You have conquered some feats I was a little hesitant about (ROP), and I see you wrestling with God sometimes as you try to make sense of the world around you.  As long as you always lean into God and not away from Him, these times of wrestling can lead to great peace and joy and wisdom.

Highlights from your twelfth year include:

  • Successfully completing the Rite of Passage, even on a weekend with pretty miserable weather.  (No pneumonia, thank you, Lord!)
  • Receiving a “real” phone with a “real” plan. Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas, Happy Easter and Fourth of July for that one.
  • You made Honors Choir and had your first piano recital where you played the Star Wars theme song. I honestly thought you sounded better than some of the kids who had been playing longer than you.  But I am your mother, so I am automatically biased in your favor.
  • I love that you prefer to listen to K-Love or The Fish as your music of choice. I also like all the classical and movie soundtracks you listen to as well.
  • Lego Dimensions. (Even I admit, it is kind of cool.  But not quiet so cool as what you paid for it.)

Looking ahead:

  • Only one more year until you can start working at Publix. (You have no idea how excited I am about this!)
  • Only three more years until you can drive on your own. (I know I will eventually be excited about this once I get over the terror of my first-born driving on his own.)
  • You’ve got great teachers this year, and I am so, so grateful for how you enjoy and excel in school. That does a momma’s heart good.
  • You’ve got many more years until you’re a parent, but please stop practicing on your little brother so much. However, if that’s our main point of contention with you as you navigate the tumultuous waters of middle school and puberty, we are so very blessed!

And we are blessed by you, Caleb.  You have such a good, kind, generous heart.  You care about your work.  You always desire to do your best.  You are creative.  You are musical.  You have a good group of friends.  You make us proud, and you are a gift from God.

My prayer for you as enter the teen years . . .

  • Don’t get bogged down by things that don’t matter. Always remember what’s most important in any situation; it’s probably not what is most obvious.
  • Don’t let the stress of getting a certain grade weigh you down. Earning a B is not the end of the world.  (I promise, we won’t love you any less if a B ever makes its way onto your report card.)
  • Remember your little brother is 5 ½ years younger than you. He loves you and adores you and looks up to you in ways you don’t fully recognize yet.  That is a tremendous privilege, and with it comes tremendous power and responsibility.  Don’t abuse it.
  • Honor and respect the young women in your life, be they classmates, friends, or someday girlfriends. When you find yourself becoming “interested” in a young lady, read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, replacing the word love with the name of the girl.  If you can’t read it without questioning the fit of the girl to the scripture, keep it platonic.  (Actually, keep it platonic anyway.  You’re far too young.)
  • Always turn to God first. When you’re happy as well as frustrated, take all of your emotions to God.  Cry out to Him when life seems unfair and you’re hurting.  Thank Him when you are surprised with an unexpected gift.  Talk to Him when you’re bored.  Seek His counsel and wisdom when you are unsure.  Rest in His presence every night.

I love you with every fiber of my being.
Mommy





12

28 11 2014

Dear Caleb,

I can’t believe you’re 12.  How did you grow up so quickly?  You are still my miracle.  Every day, I look at you and smile at the young man you are becoming.  I am so thankful for so many things about who you are and who you are turning into.

You love your daddy and me well.  I am really thankful you feel loved and safe enough to come to us with any problem you are facing.  I know far too many families for whom that is not the case.  Their parents are the last people they want to talk to.  I pray you will always trust us and know that we will love you no matter what.

You love your brother well.  I love to watch you and your brother play your silly games.  You can certainly push each other’s buttons with the skill and ease of an expert, but I pray you grown into being each other’s best friend.

You love your Maga and Papa well.  You will do anything they ask, and you will do it without complaining.  Of course, I wish you’d exhibit the same eagerness to help at home, but what a blessing it is to me to observe your love for your grandparents.  You have a very special relationship with them, and for that I am incredibly grateful.

You love your friends well.  Your desire to help your friends do better in school, your efforts to hold them accountable for their work, and your fight to not get sucked into their idiocy make me proud.  Oh, I know you make mistakes and go along with the crowd sometimes, but even then, I know your heart, and your heart is good.

You love Christ.  You are generous.  You are kind.  You are polite and respectful.  You work hard.  You are studious and conscientious.  You do your best.  You care.

I am thankful you still let me give you hugs and kisses, even at school.  I am thankful you still let me snuggle with you occasionally at bedtime.  I am thankful you are growing taller and stronger, but I’m also thankful you haven’t overtaken me yet on that front.  I know time will pass quicker than I want it to, but for now, you are still mine, and for that, I am thankful.

To my Lego loving, Minecraft creating, brother bothering and brother loving, iPad charging, phone begging, Facebook not wanting, piano playing, Gravity Falls obsessing, Shark Tank watching, mail scanning, 9:00 p.m. snack wanting, raspberry Nutrigrain bar eating, free samples taking, Honors Choir making, joke telling son . . . I love you with all of my heart, dear one.

Mommy

From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
Psalm 22:10 





This Is Why You’re Not Getting a Christmas Card From Us This Year (or maybe ever again)

6 12 2012

No More Christmas Cards explains how we came to our decision to NOT send Christmas cards this year.

So, the winner of what would have been our Christmas money was Safe Haven Family Shelter, by almost a 3-1 vote.  I was introduced to Safe Haven almost two years ago, and since then, both Caleb and Jason have joined me on various occasions to help provide dinner for the residents.

Besides the money issue, the other reason you are not getting a Christmas card from us is because this is it!  SURPRISE dear readers!  We’re going all-digital this year.

Many of you keep up with us via Facebook anyway, so you already know our year in review.  For those who don’t, here you go:

The Huddleston 2012 Year in Review

Matthew continues to teach physics and launch high altitude balloons at Trevecca Nazarene University.  He loves his job, and even took on the challenge of hosting a national high altitude balloon conference at TNU in June.

He finished his first (and possibly, probably, hopefully last) full marathon in April.  His goal was an ambitious 4:00, but he made it around 4:25.  This is incredibly impressive considering he only “trained” once each week . . . most of the time.

He has also completed several mud runs, the latest rage in running races around the country.  Now that he’s in a new age bracket, he will probably start placing and winning some nice prizes.

On a heavier note, Matthew’s dad, Mark, was diagnosed with colon cancer in October.  He had surgery just a few days after.  The doctors thought they got all of the cancer, but subsequent tests showed a spot on a lymph node.  He is currently undergoing chemo therapy once every two weeks for six months.  His doctors remain very optimistic, but we’d still appreciate your prayers for complete healing and for strength and endurance for Mark and Martha during this time.

Kelly (me) continues to teach technology and journalism/graphic design at Franklin Road Academy.  I also love my job.  I did NOT do a ½ (or full) marathon this year, and I feel great!  Triathlons are my new thing (My First Triathlon).  Having successfully finished three of them, I can no longer qualify for placings in the Beginner category.  However, being really a really weak swimmer, mediocre bicyclist, and slow runner, I wouldn’t qualify for placings in any category anyway.  Maybe when I’m 80 and still doing triathlons will I win something.

Gourmet cupcakes are my newest indulgence so if you are ever looking for a gift . . .  (I also love chocolate and a good extra sharp cheddar cheese.)  However, I really need to be eating more fruit and vegetables, so a membership in some sort of fruit-of-the-month club would be a better gift.

Matthew and Kelly’s (our) international trip this year took us to Nicaragua in July.  We met another one of the kids we sponsor through Compassion International.  Always an eye-opening, life-changing event, you can read about it here:  Open My Eyes.  You can also read about the amazing amount of fun hell we had as we hiked a volcano on Ometepe Island.

Next year’s trip is another once-in-a-lifetime trip:  india!  For three weeks we will traverse a good chunk of the country in June.  The first 10 days or so will be spent in Chennai and traveling up the Indian Ocean coast of south eastern India, mainly to visit two more kids they sponsor through Compassion International (link) as well as spend some time with a friend who pastors a church in a small village there.  During the second half of the trip, we will get to play tourist:  visit the Taj Mahal, ride elephants and camels in the dessert, visit Agra, Jaipur, New Delhi, and take a boat tour along the Ganges River in Varanasi, the heart of the Hindu culture.  Expect great blog posts to come from this adventure.

Other big news for 2012 included placing membership in a new church, Priest Lake Christian Fellowship.  Our former home church group, the Gathering, fizzled out as families found new churches around the Nashville area, so we started looking, too.  Being less than a mile from our home was a great benefit, but the people were the main draw.  We have never been to a more humble church where the Holy Spirit is so alive and thriving among its members.  It’s inspiring and challenging and moving each week.

Caleb is in fourth grade at Franklin Road Academy and continues to love school and excel in his academics.  To brag on this child for a moment, he has yet to receive a B in any term grade since he started PK.  He’s got his Daddy’s brains and aptitude for math and building things.  Caleb continues to love all things Star Wars, but his Pokemon obsession (thank goodness!) has come to an end.  If you know of anyone interested in buying a 700+ card Pokemon collection, please let us know.

Caleb’s newest obsession is legos.  The kid lives and breathes legos, which we are fine with.  He actually builds some really cool things, like a working flashlight—complete with an on/off lever and working bulb.

Caleb is also learning to play the recorder and trumpet, and we (as in Kelly) are trying desperately (and futilely) to get him to sing “This Song is Just Six Words Long” by Weird Al Yankovic in the Fourth Grade Variety Show in January.  Weird Al is another recent obsession of Caleb’s, and being the cool parents we are, for his birthday we bought him tickets to see Weird Al in concert in April when he comes to Nashville.

Caleb is a Webelo scout this year, and is a popcorn selling machine!  He sold over $1500 to win first place again in his cub scout pack.  He won an archery set, 8% of his total sales in cash, a $50 Walmart gift card, an LED head lamp, a patch, Predators’ tickets, and a trophy.  (Don’t get me started on winning trophies for something like selling popcorn.  Let’s just say, I’m not a fan of the practice.)

Caleb’s most exciting adventure this year, though, was his ER trip that led to a hospital stay for a couple of days at the end of August for pneumonia.  Despite this bump in the road, we are still tremendously blessed.  His asthma and allergies have plagued him something fierce this fall, much worse than normal.  We have an appointment with an asthma/allergy specialist next week so we are praying for something to help manage this better.

Jason started preK at FRA this year, and is loving it.  Being the second child, we did not work with him on things like the alphabet, drawing, writing, or reading much (hardly at all) before he started school.  Thankfully, the kid has a mind like a sponge and is taking off in the writing and reading department.  He also loves to draw.

Jason, too, is obsessed with Star Wars and legos.  At three he could recite entire scenes from Star Wars.  I’m not sure if I should be proud or embarrassed by this.  Did I mention he was three at the time?  The kid can build lego creations with the best of them . . . well, maybe not a working flashlight yet, but he can build really cool spaceships, race cars, jails, mouse traps, and monsters.

Jason and Caleb took their first official swimming lessons this summer.  Lesson 1 involved Jason crying and screaming for the full 45 minute session.  He had snot running out of both nostrils to his belly button when I picked him up.  He only cried for about 15 minutes of lesson 2, and by lesson 3 he was actually excited to go.  Now, of course, the kid is terrified to put his head in the water, which reminds Kelly of herself as a child forced to take swimming lessons.

Packer, our dog, continues to love to eat anything that falls on the floor including baby spit-up (true story) as well as grass to later make herself throw-up said baby spit-up.  She loves to sleep during the day and wake us up around 4:00 a.m. to pee and play.

Finley Bubbles the VIII, our beta fish, didn’t last the year.  At this time, we are uncertain if we will buy Finley Bubbles the IX.

Hopes and prayers for 2013:

  • Good health for everyone
  • A safe and amazing trip to India
  • Jobs we love
  • Caleb and Jason would continue to grow and mature in their faith, following Christ
  • Matthew and Kelly possibly beginning a new Marriage Builders home church group
  • Kelly hopes to begin working on her MBA at Trevecca in the fall

As we reflect back and look forward, may we always remember WHY we celebrate.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son,
who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
-John 1:14

Love and prayers to all,
the Huddleston Family

PS.  If any of you find yourselves in Nashville and need a place to stay, we’ve got plenty of room and love house guests.





My Dear Son

28 11 2012

My dear son,

Eldest.  Blessing.  Miracle.  Joy.  Delight.  Honor.

I can’t believe you are 10 today.  I’ve been pondering this day a while now, wondering what to write.  Let me start with this scripture I read a few days ago.  I immediately thought of you and some of the things you are going through.

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good!
His faithful love endures forever.

In my distress I prayed to the Lord,
and the Lord answered me and set me free.
The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear.
What can mere people do to me?
Yes, the Lord is for me, he will help me.
I look in triumph at those who hate me.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people.
-Psalm 118:1, 5-8

I think of some of the conversations we’ve had lately, and I am blown away, excited, joyful, and yet my heart aches for you.  I can see the Spirit of God moving in you in a mighty and powerful way for one so young.  I see God pulling on your heart, desiring goodness for you.  I see you wanting to obey with everything that is in you.  I see you coming into a faith of your own—not your father’s or my faith, though I pray we have provided you with a firm foundation on which to stand on your own.  Not having grown up myself with the faith you have as a young child—you have no idea what this experience means to me.

I see your struggles, and my mommy-heart aches for you.  I wish I had the answers you seek:  Why am I here?  What does God want me to do?  Why doesn’t He answer me?  Does anyone think I’m special and important?

Take heart, precious son!  You are here for a grand purpose, though we may not know for years what that purpose is.  God did not bring you into this world without having a great and glorious master plan already prepared for your life.

Be strong and courageous, my child!  God wants you to love him first and foremost.  He wants you to love others just as much.  He wants you to pray for those who tease you or make fun of Blanky Bear.  He wants you to love, no matter what, no matter how difficult.  My heart rejoices as I see you try to live out God’s greatest commands.

Be at peace, young one!  God always listens to your prayers.  He always hears your cries of sadness.  He always knows your deepest longings and greatest struggles.  He always loves no matter what.  He always forgives with a doubt.  Even when you don’t hear him, and it seems like he’s on another planet, He is still there for you.  Always!

Smile and sing and rejoice, Caleb!  You are more special than you will ever know—not just to daddy and me and your family and friends.  You have no idea the lives you have touched and will touch.  You have no idea the plans God has in store for your future—a future brimming with hope, goodness, and greatness in Him.  I believe this with every fiber of my being.

Caleb - 10 years old

Caleb – 10 years old

To my lego-lover, deep-sleeper, joke-teller, recorder-player, popcorn-seller, avid-reader, craigslist-poster, Weird Al-lover, straight-A receiver, laundry-doer, special-helper, hospital-visitor, Cheerio treat-maker, cous cous-eater, and most precious delight of God . . .

My prayer for you is that you will always feel the presence of the Holy One dwell deep within you.  May your faith continue to mature.  May God’s will always be on your heart and in your mind.  May you always overcome your struggles with goodness, mercy, and grace.  May righteousness always be your guide.  May you always love God and always know beyond a shadow of a doubt how much He loves you.

 

Love,
Mommy





Why My Kids (Might) Think I’m a Bad Parent

2 11 2012

My last post was on Things That Make Me a Bad Parent (Part II.)  I decided to approach this from the lens of what my children might think.  I don’t even have to ask them . . . I just know.

  1. We won’t buy Caleb an iPhone for his 10th birthday.  Everyone in his class has an iPhone.  Do you hear me?  Everyone!   And they all have iPhones—no Androids in his tech savvy 4th grade class.
  2. They have to eat what we are eating for dinner, and they do not get dessert unless they eat it all.  Gasp!  They do not get mac and cheese or hot dogs on nights when we’re having a casserole or salmon loaf or brussel sprouts or soup or ___________.  They only get those things when I am too lazy to cook in which case I let Caleb choose a wise dinner, but then he has to prepare it for himself and his brother.
  3. We enforce bed times.
  4. Caleb has to do his and his brother’s laundry each week.  He hates it.  I love it.
  5. Jason has to clean up his lego messes or I will take them all away the following day.  Many tears are shed over this.
  6. Caleb has to practice his trumpet or recorder 10 minutes a day.  When he complains, I offer for him to pay me back the $40 for the used trumpet we bought from a neighbor because he just had to have it.  This usually ends in sulking, stomping to his bedroom, and then the sweet sounds of trumpet noise.
  7. They only get $1.00/tooth from the Tooth Fairy.
  8. I will not “just run back home” to get their forgotten homework or lunch bags.  I believe they need to learn the consequences of not being prepared, and I’d rather they learn it young than later in life when the consequences are more severe.  (I don’t make them starve at school, though.  I’ll provide them with my apple and a granola bar I always have on hand.)
  9. If they are fighting in the car, I will take away whatever it is they are fighting about—Lego magazines, the iPad, toys, whatever.  I don’t care who did what to whom, neither gets to play.  I don’t need to be distracted like that when I’m driving.
  10. If they ask their Daddy a question and don’t get the response they want, they will come ask me.  My response is usually, “What did Daddy say?  Well, that’s what it’s going to be.”

For my readers who are parents, I would love to know what’s on your list.





Things That Make Me a Bad Parent (Part II)

26 10 2012

A year ago, I posted Things That Make Me a Bad Parent.  After a discussion with some of my students today, I realized I needed to update my list.

  1. I laughed out loud when I saw Jason’s first yearbook photo.  It was taken seconds before a full-blown meltdown.  His face was contorted, his eyes red and puffy, his hair disheveled.  I still laugh whenever I look at it.
  2. I will save the photo from item #1 for his senior yearbook ad in 14 years.  I may also use a photo taken last year of an epic sneeze that ended with snot from both nostrils hanging down to his belly button.
  3. I often tell Jason I can’t read him a bedtime story because my throat hurts.  This is usually a lie.  I just don’t like reading out loud.  I will, however, sing to him and pray with him before bed.  Daddy gets story time.
  4. If Caleb complains about a meal, his punishment for the next day is to consume nothing but bread and water.  Yes, we really have done this.  Yes, it’s quite effective.  However, if we have Publix bakery bread or any of Matthew’s homemade bread products in the house, it’s really not a punishment.
  5. My kids can quote any Star Wars movie.  The entire script.  They will kick your butt at Star Wars trivia.  Did I mention Jason is only four?  Yes, he’s seen all six Star Wars movies at least 500 times each.
  6. Jason knows most of the lyrics to Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog.  Hilarious, but not really age-appropriate.  Thankfully, they don’t get most of the grown-up jokes.
  7. I cuss in front of my kids.  Darn it!
  8. I throw away 99% of their art projects from church and school.
  9. New iPad?  Kids . . . what kids?
  10. I will undoubtedly eat at least half of their Halloween candy but claim that I gave it to the school counselor for the candy jar in her office.

I still do plenty of things right.  Jason brings me rocks from the playground on a regular basis, and I now have “Mommy’s Rock Garden” on the ledge of the whiteboard in my room.  I play light sabers and legos.  We collect leaves and poke at bugs together.  Jason and I still snuggle at nap time, and I encourage Caleb to practice his recorder in the van on the way to school—30 minutes of “Hot Cross Buns” anyone?  We pray a lot, we laugh a lot, we hug a lot, we love a lot.





Counting My Blessings Amidst Illness

27 08 2012

(This was written on Friday, August 24.)

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. -Psalm 46:1

The past 24 hours have been a whirlwind, and I am running on fumes as I write this.  Caleb, my 9-year-old son, is going on night #2 in the hospital with pneumonia.  And yet, I have been filled with extreme thankfulness all day as I ponder my blessings.

In less than 24 hours, Caleb went from his normal health to “he needs help NOW!”  I am always amazed at how quickly our health can turn on us.  He went to bed on Wednesday night complaining of a sore throat.  He woke up Thursday morning, and his throat no longer bothered him, but he had a very runny nose.  He was sneezing a lot, and he had a lot of nasal drainage.  His breathing wasn’t terrible, or so we thought.  Nothing a breathing treatment at school and maybe a few puffs of his inhaler couldn’t fix.

When I went to pick him up after school, his skin looked gray.  If there were a Crayola crayon to describe his skin it would be named “Brain Matter Gray.”  My sweet child needed help.

My husband, Matthew, took Caleb to a minute clinic.  The closest one to us had already closed, but I found another one not too much farther away that was open late. (Blessing #1!)  I thought Caleb might have bronchitis and would need antibiotics.  At the minute clinic, Matthew was told Caleb would need a steroid shot, but they didn’t administer those at that location.  They were sent to another clinic across the street where they were told the same thing.  Only this time, they checked Caleb’s O2 level and it was in the 80s.  Normal/healthy levels are above 95.  Levels in the low 90s are common for people with respiratory illnesses, sleep apnea, and smokers.  Anything in the 80s is usually cause for concern.

Caleb in the ER

Caleb in the ER

With this news, Matthew and Caleb were headed to the nearest ER, only two miles away.  (Blessing #2!)  Caleb was immediately given an oxygen mask and a breathing treatment.  His O2 levels improved, but whenever his mask was removed, his levels dropped back into the 80s.  His chest x-ray also showed a spot.  Pneumonia.  He would be spending the night.I was at home with Jason, our 4-year-old as well as my dad and a motorcycle buddy of his.  The two were en route from Florida back home to Wisconsin, and our house was approximately the half-way point.  (Blessing #3!)  God’s providence in the timing of all this actually makes me smile.  If this had to happen, timing it so that my dad would be in town—and we weren’t planning on seeing him for another three months—all I can say is, thank you, God!

As Matthew and I were discussing what needed to be done, Matthew realized he had taken my car, but he also had our only working van key with him.  So I had a vehicle with no means to drive it to the hospital or to work the next day.  And it was after 10:00 p.m. by this point.  My dad had his motorcycle, and while I have my operator’s license, I am not at all comfortable driving his Honda Goldwing that cost more than our Nissan, Dodge Grand Caravan, and Suzuki cycle combined.  So I texted my neighbor.  (Blessing #4!)

I don’t know many people who can call/text a next-door neighbor late at night and ask to borrow their car.  I am one of the lucky few who have amazing neighbors like that.  Not only did they let me take their car, Linda offered to drive me if I needed the emotional support.  And she stayed up until I got home which was almost midnight.

Before my we moved into our current home in 2006, I had been praying for years that our next neighbors would be faithful Christians, and God answered that prayer abundantly with the Shepherds.

Back to Blessing #3, I didn’t have to worry about leaving Jason alone while I went to the hospital since my dad was in town.  Normally, taking care of Jason through all of this would have been a minor ordeal by itself.

I finally made it to the hospital, visited with Matthew and Caleb for a little, and got back home around midnight.  I was physically exhausted as well as mentally and emotionally drained, but I couldn’t sleep.  I drifted off at some point, but Jason popped in around 2:00 a.m. to visit and say hi.  (I call him my Midnight Snuggler.)  In my stupor, I told him to crawl into bed where daddy sleeps.

In those wee hours of the morning, I was reminded to be thankful for our overall good health. (Blessing #5!)  Despite this temporary setback, we really are blessed with good health.  And though both Caleb and I have asthma and allergies that act up occasionally, I know far too many people who deal with chronic pain, MS, diabetes, cancer, and other diseases on a daily basis.  There is no reprieve for them.  Physical and emotional struggle are a part of their daily lives.

My dad and his friend were going to get up around 5:00 a.m. and hit the road to avoid the morning rush hour traffic today.  However, when I got up at 5:30 they were sitting in the living room, talking quietly.  My dad said he would be glad to stay the day if it would help.  He would sit with Caleb at the hospital so Matthew and I could go to work.  (Blessing #6!)

Missing out on visiting with his Papa was the one thing that Caleb got really emotional about in the ER.  He adores his Papa.  Being able to surprise Caleb with an all-day visit with Papa was priceless.  (Blessing #7!)

Day two began, and Caleb’s O2 levels continued to slip whenever he removed his oxygen mask throughout the day.  He was feeling better and desperately wanted to go home, but the doctor wanted him to spend another night.

My day at work was actually amazing. (Blessing #8)  Despite my physical exhaustion and overwhelmed emotions, the prayers and support I received from my co-workers, students and their parents still amazes me.  (Blessings #9-245!)  I think I spent half my day saying thank you to hundreds of people who told me they were praying for Caleb.  I am also astonished that I accomplished anything at work, but I did.  I left in peace and not dreading what Monday would bring when I returned to my classroom. (Blessing #246!)

There were quite a few people; however, who questioned my decision to work today.  I had my reasons, but the most important was this:  Matthew was with Caleb, and Matthew is an amazing father.  (Blessing #247!)  He is more than capable of doing what needed to be done.  If the roles were reversed, I doubt many people would have questioned Matthew’s decision to work if I was at the hospital.  Do we really need this double-standard?  For our family, it made the most sense for Matthew to stay with Caleb and for me to work.  We traded places soon enough.

When Jason and I got to the hospital Friday afternoon, our dear neighbors (from Blessing #3) were already there.

The best part was definitely the bed.  His bed at home isn't nearly as exciting.  The hosptial bed even had TV and light controllers in the side panel.  We won't even let Caleb have a TV in his room.

The best part was definitely the bed. His bed at home isn’t nearly as exciting. The hosptial bed even had TV and light controllers in the side panel. We won’t even let Caleb have a TV in his room.

Our pastor also popped in for a visit and prayer. (Blessing #248!)

A tray of food was delivered for me along with Caleb’s dinner.  I had already eaten before arriving at the hospital so I was able to offer my meal to my dad who was hungry. (Blessing #249!)

I remembered to bring my phone and tablet chargers.  (Blessings #250-251!)  And socks.  (Blessing #252!) And Caleb’s DS. (Blessing #253!)

Caleb played his DS.  A lot.  He also read two complete books so I can't complain.

Caleb played his DS. A lot. He also read two complete books so I can’t complain.

Wireless service was available for free in Caleb’s room.  (Blessing #254!)

Jason commented that Caleb’s room was like a hotel room.  Yes, dear little innocent son.  A very, very, very expensive hotel room.  While my dad and I considered how much this little visit would cost, I was not worried about the final price tag.  We are financially disciplined and live a debt-free life.  We are able to save so that adventures like this one will not impact our finances negatively.  (Blessing #255!)  Matthew also just happened to get a significant bonus at work just a few days earlier which will hopefully cover the remainder of what we have to pay after insurance, our deductible, and HSA contribute.  (Blessing #256!)

We had never been to Stonecrest Hospital before.  Our usual health journeys bring us to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.  Everyone at Stonecrest was amazing. (Blessing #257!)

The Extended Care Director at FRA had the other fourth graders email get well notes to Caleb.  Watching him read them and some other cards made by his friends at school was such a sweet moment.  (Blessing #258!)  Seeing him realize his friends really cared about him and missed him . . . that warms a mother’s heart.

In the short time I have been with Caleb tonight, countless nurses and respiratory specialists have been in to administer breathing treatments or take his vitals.  He handled himself with such maturity and respect and no complaining, even while eating apple sauce laced with prednisone and amoxicillin. (Blessing #259!)  I can’t tell you how tasty it was, but I can confirm that it smelled like warm vomit.

Drug laced applesauce!  Can you say yuuummmm?

Drug laced apple sauce! Can you say yuuummmm?

I’m now watching my son sleep peacefully without difficulty breathing. (Blessing #260!)