Pam Halter
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Painful Gifts
5/21/2013 8:56:57 AM by: pam

I have a friend who is also an author; Jonathan Friesen. He has Tourette syndrome. The other day, Jonathan wrote a little about it, calling it a "painful gift." It got me to thinking about Anna. She, too, is painful gift. A gift I never wanted. A gift I can't exchange. A gift I don't appreciate most days.

She is a gift because children are a gift from the Lord. But she is a painful gift. Why? She's a pain in my backside, as I remind her daily. It's not really the full time care she needs, but her perfect timing. The very second we sit down to eat a hot meal, she has to go to the potty. And it typically takes her 10-15 minutes to go.

Or we sit down, take a bite of food, and she calls out for the washcloth. But before we can get there with it, she's wiped her ketchup-laden hands on the couch.

If she doesn't want to go in the house after getting off the bus from her program, she'll do the "wet noodle," and slide to the ground. It's almost impossible to get her up without injuring your back or hurting her. So, I often resort to rolling her until we get to the doorway. This doesn't work unless she's up on the porch. I'm sure my neighbors think I'm nuts.

Bedtime is always fun. Anna loves her bucket of toys. She dumps them out, puts them in, dumps them out, puts them in, etc. a hundred and fifty one times a day. However, her favorite is the bedtime dump. I get everything cleaned up, instruct her to put her toys in the bucket, and start to turn the lights off. If I don't get to the bucket soon enough, she dumps it all out again. It's like a game to her. A game I loath playing. And she does it every night.

She makes the kissing sound over and over again, even if I reciprocate. She picks her toenails clean off her toes. She babbles almost nonstop to the point where it's almost impossible to hear ourselves talk or listen to the TV. Sometimes, she wets herself because she's mad at us.

Then there are her seizures, which are always painful. After 15 years, they still cause us all to suffer. Sometimes in a physical way. Always in an emotional way.

It goes on and on, with no end in sight. How is a person to bear all this pain?

Jonathan says this about painful gifts: "But that's what painful gifts do. If they are true gifts, they rarely leave. These severe mercies touch you, wound you, mark you in ways only they can. Suddenly, sometimes violently, they change the trajectory of your life, and then, if you're willing to give them away, they change those around you."

Thanks, Jonathan. I was changed reading about your painful gift. I hope those around me are changed for the better because of mine.

Read more about Jonathan at www.jonathanfriesen.com


Comments

pam From At 5/21/2013 4:03:57 PM

How can we not be?

Tammie From At 5/21/2013 3:51:10 PM

With tears in my eyes, I proclaim that i too am changed by the gift that is Anna!<3

Julie Ann Monzi From Gettysburg, PA At 5/21/2013 11:55:02 AM

I'm sending you a BIG hug!

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