Dr. Drool and Kitchen Laps

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There’s nothing like starting off your day with a doctor and some drool.  Yes, that was weird.  More on that in a moment but first a little background detail:

It has been a while since I have posted anything myself; I’ve just been riding the coattails of the wife lately.  I knew life would be very different and even difficult after our son was born, but honestly, I was not ready for this!

Have you ever heard a high schooler complain that his life of school, extra-curriculars, dating, part-time work, etc. is SSSOOO difficult and demanding?  I have, and I usually just laughed because for those of us who have moved beyond the high school halls, we recognize that this season of life is cake.

I wish my life was still filled with the problems of sophomore Biology or which friends to hang out with on the weekend!  But life has progressed and so has its trials.

No longer are my petty preferences just being pinned to the wall, but I myself am being pinned as well.

Domestication and I have only been seeing each other for a couple weeks, and so far it’s been a bumpy road.  Daily self-discoveries knock upon the door of my type A personality, and I don’t want to answer.

I am not acclimated to prepping practically all the family meals (Thanks to those who have helped!!!  You reminded me of my sanity for an hour!), cleaning the house, refereeing the children, doing the shopping, all the while attempting to give my wife relief when I would rather take a break from all this action, and on and on it goes.

Using the restroom is the only breather I can count on these days!

In a nutshell, my forty hour a week office butt is getting kicked, but so far the family is still alive and the house is still standing…SUCCESS!!!  Maybe this time next month you can call me Mr. Mom, but for now I’m still a shabby substitute.

On to the real stuff…

I have a “high/special needs” child.  Even as I write I don’t really believe it.  It feels like just a few moments ago I was the child.  And now I have begotten three distinct, unique persons.

I wonder if anyone even knows what this means.  Let’s face it.  We’re all “high needs” in some way; I know at least that I’m “high needs.”  I possess endless demands that can easily take over the environment.

LIFE EXAMINED:

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In the beginning, when our son’s condition was confirmed by a specialist, the doctor reluctantly reminded my wife and I of our “right” to abort Elias.  I can’t describe this moment in a way that would give it justice.

I knew what I believed about this subject, I had for years, but when I was posed personally with this question, I had to gain some composure.  There was a split second thought that jumped through my head, “Oh, how empathetic of them.  They understand.  We don’t have to deal with this?!”

It was one of those “out of the body” moments where your body is proceeding as normal but your mind seems external momentarily, as if your personhood has been split in two.

Suffice to say, this got real in an instant for me, knowing that my son’s condition was forecasted to be so serious and difficult that our nation had already legalized his death sentence.  Please understand, I’m not getting political here.  I hate politics and how it has muddied the waters of life!  This isn’t me being conservative, or even pejorative, just being straight up descriptive of the events as they happened.

LIFE EMBRACED:

Mommy meets Elias

Regardless of worldview, the birth of a child is commonly categorized as miraculous.  Irreligious people will even label their newborn as a “miracle,” or at least concede to such a designation.  Elias’s story thus far certainly fits within this paradigm of the supernatural (see the About Elias section for details).

My son came into this world, like many others before him, with unknown challenges, and now that he is born, many remain unclear, only to be revealed by time.  Despite all the mystery, however, one fact permeates this fog of uncertainty: my son’s life is a MIRACLE.

Had he been born just a few decades ago he would already be dead at the time of this writing.  (Acts 17:26-27; Eccl. 3:1-2a)

LIFE ENGAGED:

Emery observes

There are no words for the emotions a father feels while facing his helpless child; all I can do is describe the scene.  Constant beeping; random, unannounced visits (day and night) from latex-gloved strangers; no real sleep; serenaded by the soundtrack of unending cries from the most helpless beings.

Tangled within innumerable wires lie my son’s punctured, bruised body.  This was our life in the NICU.  This is still the life of many.

Elias w Mom

Cards face down – I don’t do well in the midst of struggle.  I hate not sleeping, not having privacy, not having control, not having the end in sight, and I would be dishonest if I didn’t admit to anxiety for receiving medical care that surpasses years of my annual income combined!

Besides, who really enjoys the hospital, or as Jim Gaffigan so bluntly describes, the germ infested building where all the sick people congregate?  There are reasons my crazy wife and I had home births!  And no, it’s not because we just didn’t want to put on our pants.

I’m not really quite sure what to make of this season my family is currently enduring.  So many thoughts, verses, words, etc. come to mind, but they all currently feel a bit like oil in my hands.  I’m not sure if I have ever felt smaller, or more incapable as a man.

For now, all I know is that the plate tectonics of life are shifting and I’m seeking shelter.  Thank you to all who in your own way are providing it – words don’t suffice.

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Comments

  1. Brandon, No one word can come to my mind that i can say to you and your family that would mean much other than you are truely amazing.
    For being so honest about your feelings and your struggles in your new found life of the unknown.
    I sit here and i read your words and try to put myself in one of your shoes for just a moment. I wish for you and your wife to have time and space together and to not let all the unknown come between you, for what holds you together will hold you both in the time of need the most. I only wish i had been given rhe same advise when my husband and i lost our son Adien.

    1. Author

      Hello, Cari! You are too kind! I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to read and comment here on the blog, especially with such transparency! I am SO sorry to hear of your loss and you are correct; in this time of transition, my wife and I are really holding onto to the foundation that keeps us strong and united because all the unknowns will just destroy us if we let them! This blog has really been helpful to us as we attempt to do that. Thank you again, Cari, and many blessings to you and yours!

  2. Thx for the updates! We appreciate getting a peek into your life right now along with the reminders of how we can be praying for you all.

    1. Author

      Hey, Kristen! You are welcome. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment! And most of all, thank you for your continued prayers – everyday is a reminder of our total inadequacy as we journey into new territory!

  3. Thank you for sweet glimpses into the pain, uphill battles, joys, and miracles the Lord is leading the Arnold family through. Being long distance, I especially cherish the details and priceless photos.
    There are no words to offer you, because only the Lord distinctly knows what each of you are walking through as you adjust to your “new norm”. However, one Truth remains the same for us all as indwelt children of God ~ it is only His life in us that makes us adequate to face any aspect of our lives (2 Cor. 3:5) and His adequacy is lived out best in our weakest moments- perfected to His glory. What hope and joy as we travel life on earth! Praying for you guys knowing His Spirit will intercede perfectly for all the unknowns! ((Hugs)) to the 5 Arnold’s! Love you all so much…

    1. Author

      This is such a sweet comment, thank you. So true!! Thankful for His hope, joy, and Spirit!! This season is so full and unique… Glad you can share part of life with us this way- what a blessing to hear from dear loved ones like you. Love you much! <3

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