Tuesday, March 30

A Family Update From a Season of Waiting

Our family is in a waiting season right now. We're waiting for wisdom about some big decisions, waiting for answers about some confusing (though not especially serious) health questions, waiting to figure out if and when we're moving out of the house we have been in for 11 years. 

It's a lot of unanswered questions all up in the air. 

I'm realizing I don't particularly like unanswered questions all up in the air. 

This particular season of waiting is making me antsy and restless and a wee bit confused sometimes. I've joked with friends that I must seem bi-polar in my story of what we're doing next, swinging from one side of the story to the other, like a pendulum back and forth, back and forth. 

I can feel that swing too- in my heart and soul, in my answers to our kiddos who want to know what we're doing next, in my approach to my daily work and what needs to be done at any given moment. 

Are we staying or going? Is there a job opening up or is there not? Is God calling us to stay here in Buffalo or to a somewhat unpredictable adventure out of state, at least for the time being? 

Depending on the perceived answers to these questions on any given day the thoughts and feelings that accompany each side of the answer are complex, nuanced and multi-dimensional. 

I'm realizing that waiting on God for an answer, and/or an open door, often requires an incredible amount of faith- more faith than I expected it would require. Faith that I thought I possessed, but that has been put to the test as the wait goes on longer and longer than expected, and as life circumstances have made it more challenging than expected. 

I'm not going to beat around the proverbial bush, this has been a l-o-n-g season for Scott and I. A long and weary season in many ways. 

I won't retell the entire story that I shared in my last blog post, you can read that here if you want, but this season of long and weary, this season of requiring deep levels patience and surrender started last August for us. It started with my health taking a sudden and unpredictable turn towards chaos. It started with doctors appointments and heart palpitations, trips to the ER, severe fatigue,  and a variety of other mysterious symptoms that led to many long and confusing days. Days that left me in bed and Scott taking care of the cooking, the homework, and the bazillion details that family life requires. It started first with us waiting for me to hopefully feel better, or at least find answers. 

It continued into October when, while I was in the middle of these health struggles, the announcement was made that Mass Mutual (Scott's company) was selling their sales division to a competitor, and that they would be more than likely laying off the majority of their sales force in the process. The guys being let go would all have jobs for three more months, until the end of December. One of those guys was Scott. 

It continued on into November and December when our kids were in and out of school due to Covid tests, and suspected cases in their classrooms, culminating in Ava getting Covid in early December and the kids all being sent home to quarantine until after Christmas break.  I mustered some semblance of energy to buy Christmas presents and try to make Christmas feel as "normal" as possible given so much uncertainty with my health, Scott's job and what our next steps should be. And we all breathed a little bit of a sigh of relief to make it to the end of December, the end of 2020, one of the most unpredictably hard years for people globally. 

 "Yay!!" we thought! "We made it! Maybe life will start to return to some new semblance of normal!" 

And then, on January 6th, 2021, I got COVID and my slightly improving health situation was wrecked by a really bad case of the virus that left me in bed for 14 days straight. Literally, on my back, in bed 24/7. 

I have never, ever felt so sick as I did this past January. I was so ill that I couldn't tolerate watching television or reading books- many days I just laid in bed, sometimes trying to listen to music or podcasts, sometimes coloring for short spurts, but mostly just sleeping and passing time while feeling miserable.  I had severe headaches and body aches, a low grade fever, literally zero energy, some difficulty breathing, and on several days I experienced the heaviest sense of darkness and depression I've ever felt in my life (making me think the virus had a neurological component to it). It was awful and scary and I would not have wished that period of illness on anyone. 

In the middle of it all, my kids weren't allowed to attend school because they were potential carriers, so while Scott was trying to take care of me, he was also trying to manage their school work, which was feeling increasingly tedious from home. Ava was allowed to go to school because she had had COVID in December, but Ella and Aubrey were both required to stay home for my entire 12 day quarantine and than 12 days afterwards (so just about 3 weeks total) in case they caught the virus at the end of my quarantine. 

Fortunately, in late January, I started to slowly recover and the girls were all allowed to go back to school, finally reinstating some sense of "normal" in our otherwise not-so-normal season. 

Listen, I'm sorry to be dragging ya'll through the mud here. I planned to mostly write about the waiting and transition we've been walking through,  but in order to give you a better understanding for our season of waiting I wanted to give you some context,  which includes all of the above nitty gritty life stuff. 

I eventually got back on my feet, though my post-Covid healing was long and slow. It took weeks before I could have a conversation with someone again without feeling short of breath, and even now I'm still dealing with the ripple effects of my health issues this past fall combined with  the Covid in January.  My symptoms currently tend to come and go- I'll feel good for a few days, and then really crappy for a bunch of days, but there is no rhyme or reason to any of it--my symptoms include abnormal levels of fatigue, heart palpitations, stomach issues, some occasional breathing issues, spaciness after too much exertion, and mild flu like symptoms and body aches.  We still have questions- is there some sort of underlying autoimmune condition going on? Is there a thyroid or hormonal issue? Is there a neurological issue? A sudden onset of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia? 

I have visited multiple doctors and local (and out of state) naturopaths- we're trying to figure it all out, but such is the case with chronic illness, hormone issues and/or undiagnosed autoimmune conditions-- there is a lot of mystery and confusion before there are ever really answers, and then sometimes the answers are ambiguous at best. I'm a fighter and I'm also a huge health advocate, so I've been researching the ever living daylights out of these conditions in an attempt to get to the root cause of what is going on. I drive myself and my family nuts at times with all of my research, but when you walk these backroads of ambiguous health condtiions your choice is to give in and just hope things get better or to try to get to the bottom of it all. 

I'm a get to the bottom of it all kind of girl, and will keep digging until I do. 

And so that brings us to today-- this breezy, unseasonably warm sunny day at the end of of March in Buffalo, NY. My symptoms have flared up again this week, which for me means a lot of fatigue, unexpected achiness, and some on and off nausea. I'm pushing through with walks, stretching, deep breathing, lots of water, smoothies, bone broth and the cleanest diet I can eat on a day to day basis while trying to keep the kids happy with foods they will actually eat as well (if you're a mom, you know how challenging that can be!). 

Scott is still navigating what his next steps will be- he knows a ton of people in his industry, and has had a lot of great conversations, which is exciting. He has had multiple job offers in Buffalo, but we're looking at the possibility of moving to North Carolina (Charlotte, in particular), which is a whole other story entirely. 

And so we wait...we are praying and waiting. Waiting and praying. Praying and waiting some more. For answers, for clarity, for wisdom and open doors. 

We have come to the conclusion that in many ways it would require as much faith to go as it would to stay, but we are seeking deeply God's wisdom in all of this and have faith that He will provide. We are believing James 1:5, "If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault and it will be given to you." 

I plan to post here regularly for the month of April- daily life at the Littlewoods kind of stuff. I'm not going to promise a particular number of posts, just that I will post as often as possible. 

It's going to be some old-school blogging- just some random meandering through our questions, thoughts and daily life as we continue to declutter our house (and maybe my mind?!), make decisions about whether we should stay or go, try to figure out this health stuff, and respond to the ebb and flow of the daily shenanigans that tends to be the fabric of our family life.

Stop by if you want to come along for the ride (: