My life is scheduled and ordered. Not because I want it to be, goodness no! Every fiber in my being fights the rigidity to this degree. Out of extreme frustration, I recently logged onto Etsy and Amazon to order any visual schedule that might make life easier.
I ordered one for boys going to the bathroom, one for washing hands, another for a bedtime routine, and a reward chart for brushing teeth both morning and night. I had previously purchased 3 other visual schedules so I began pulling out all of the pieces to see what I could fit together to start making life work. I even ordered another visual timer and plates with dividers to separate out proteins, carbs, fruits, and vegetables. There is something about arguing with little people day in and day out with no resolve that will light a fire under my organization button. Research shows that for kiddos like mine, visual timers and schedules are extremely helpful.
Did I really just write that? Kiddos like mine? Yes, I did. Both of them. Although their symptoms are different and so are their brains, the behavior is atypical. Honestly, the tears begin to push on my eyes when I read those words and yet, it is our reality.
Sometimes I am so very thankful that we are 1352.1 miles away from a community who watched me grow up and into the woman I am today. Thankful that under the spotlight I am not being watched as I navigate the chaos that has come to be a normal state of being for my family. Then, there are the days that I miss the support that comes from being known and loved for a lifetime. I feel the loss, knowing that from this distance, it is hard to share how the day to day is shaping me.
Other days, I am so thankful for the ones who have seeped into my heart in this current reality. The ones who walk this treacherous road and although they may tire of the constant struggles that spill out of my mouth, they love and care for me and my family in real and tangible ways. Then, there are the days that despite the understanding and grace they offer, I want to hole myself up in the house, never venturing out in public or to friends’ houses because of the meltdowns that occur every single time. Every single time.
This month, in the midst of therapy appointments, specialist referrals, meltdowns, violent behaviors, obsessions, and compulsions, my heart has also embraced difficult realities in the world around me and the world at large. The grief and struggles that envelop those I love has been profound. One of my dearest friends lost her dad suddenly in his battle with cancer. In journeying alongside of her in his illness and his death, I have been grieving in ways that I never imagined. She was beautiful in her love for her father and her family and I have been honored to walk through this with her in simply showing up.
On the night of my birthday, she began the difficult task of saying goodbye to her dad and the world stood in horror as terrorism attacked yet again. This life is just hard. Life at large, life with those we love, and life within our own little world. And yet, we must go on.
We must go on, changed or unchanged. Present or not. Somedays, I want to run away, as far as I can, all by myself. Somedays I want to fight, I want to rally to make a difference, I want to choose to do something of significance, something that really matters. Today, I am called to show up. To be present. To live in the reality of life. To honor my heart and to honor tradition. Today, honoring my heart is through music. Lyrics that speak the words that are deep in my soul better than I can at this time. In honor of tradition, I have created another Thanksgiving playlist that speaks to the stories of today.
Bethany Cabell is a Texas transplant, residing in Michigan with her husband and their two young boys. A lover of beauty, she lives life chasing after wide-open spaces: sharing her heart with others, in relationship with Jesus, and through music and photography. She tells her story here.