Fall 2010 was a difficult one for Halle. She was experiencing some big "firsts" and required to do a lot of growing up.
The very end of August Halle had her first surgery. She needed a tonsil/adenoidectomy. The surgery was supposed to be easy and she'd be back in the recovery room with us after just an hour or so. Over an hour and a half later her doctor returned, but no Halle in sight. He explained that she had stopped breathing after they removed the breathing tube and they were keeping her for close observation. "She only turned blue for a very short time, but the medication we gave her got her breathing and 'pinked' her right up." Boyd and I giggled nervously, "Yup, that's our drama queen" we said. But inside we were screaming. "She turned BLUE?!" "She wasn't breathing?!" This was a routine tonsillectomy. How did this happen?
Her recovering went well at first, but a week into it she was in such intense pain and I couldn't keep pain meds down her. She just kept throwing it up.
During this time, when she was feeling well enough, she began her first day of preschool. She was so excited about her teacher, her class, and her new friends. But despite her love for school, it was a whole new ballgame for her, and she began to struggle with leaving me.
Not two weeks after her tonsillectomy and just a week after starting school, Halle would wake up one morning to one of her aunts in our house. Her mom and dad were at the hospital and when they returned the next day, mom no longer had "a baby in her tummy" and was crying constantly. It was clear that life would never be the same.
Halle sensed all these big changes. My confident, independent little girl suddenly became very clingy and insecure. She wouldn't even go into the bathroom without me, begging me to sit on the floor beside her. If I left her sight for even a second she would begin bawling "I'll have a hard time without you Mommy!" I soon took to sleeping on the floor in Halle and Sammy's room, partially so that Halle wouldn't be scared and partially because I was terrified something would happen to them while I wasn't watching.
It was, to say the least, a VERY hard time in our lives.
In response to what we were going through we decided to adopt a family motto for the year. We were hoping to switch Halle's attitude (which mirrored our own) from "I'm having a hard time", which we heard Halle say at least a dozen times every day, to "I can do hard things."
To help us remember our little family motto, I made a charm with this saying on it for each of us to carry around every day. Halle and I carry ours on bracelets. Sam and Boyd have key chains with our saying. Boyd attaches his to the rest of his keys. Sam's is hooked onto the zipper of his coat. And Luke, who is NEVER excluded from any family affair, has a charm that, at the moment, hangs from a Valentine's decoration on his grave.Along with our "I can do hard things" charm, each person has an angel wing charm. This is to remind us that we have heavenly help with the hard things we are asked to do.
Each Monday we revolve our Family Home Evenings around doing hard things. One week Boyd told the Bible story of David and Goliath. He draped a towel over his head and one over Sam's. He equipped himself with a toy sword and gave Sam a sock to be a "sling shot". Halle and I were dressed in more towels - our soldiers uniforms - and watched as little David took on the giant Goliath. It was so cute watching little bitty Sam (my 20 pound 2 1/2 year old) walk boldly up to his enormous dad with only a sock to help him. He threw the sock at Boyd who promptly fell to the ground. Halle and I let out loud cheers. Then we abandoned our costumes and talked about how David, even though he was very little, was able to take on a giant because of God's help. Then we explained that Heavenly Father helps us just like he helped David.
Sometimes we are lined up against giant problems, ones that far exceed our small size. The task of enduring sometimes seems overwhelming and downright impossible. But with God all things are possible. And with His help, we can all do hard things.