Archive for October, 2010

Toddler Time

Back in the spring I read a little column in the April 2010 issue of Real Simple magazine that was called, “Letting Your Toddler Set the Pace.”  In it, Dean Bakapoulos talked about something called “Toddler Time.”  It’s those moments when you actually embrace the moment for what it is and travel at the speed of a toddler.  The author focused on the simple event called “Taking a Walk” as he described the difference between walking for speed versus walking for pleasure.  When our little ones are allowed to set the pace, what happens?  We go slower, we pause to look at things more, we notice the ants and the trickle of water and the blades of grass.  Sometimes we make it all the way to the end of the block, other times we get half that far, spending the same amount of time either way.

Toddler Time.

By nature, Jason is good at this and I have always imagined myself as a parent who tries to be present, truly present in the life of my little boy.  I may not be as energetic as I would have been if I came into motherhood at the age of twenty-five but I like to think that I am wiser than I was if it were twenty years ago.  It took us 16 years of marriage to finally get to add a child to our family picture.  Surely all of my life’s experiences bring something to the table even if the number of chases around the kitchen island that I can do (especially now!) remains unfortunately low.

But as much as I feel like I am trying to focus on enjoying the everyday moments that make up this thing called parenting, I found this article resonating in a way that surprised me.  I had to admit that before I got ill, Cole’s and my walks were all about distance.  I was focused on getting MY exercise and therefore, we had a goal to reach.  A finish line to cross.

I know that he liked these walks but as I read those few short paragraphs, I wondered if perhaps he would enjoy them more if I took the author’s advice and tried a little Toddler Time instead, focusing on his agenda which included pushing the stroller instead of riding in it, examining the neighbor’s dirt pile, and squatting down to inspect the potato bug that rolled up with just one simple poke from his little finger.

After that, we started going slower on our walks.  And in the process, I learned for myself about this treasure called Toddler Time.

I’m reminded of that article once again as I look out the window of my mother-in-law’s home.  Cole and Grandma are walking around the house.  Again.  Across the patio, over the grassy patch to the gravel walkway.  Down the stone steps to the rocks at the bottom that are 3″ off the ground – perfect for jumping from when you are 20 months old.  Then back up the steps, around the side of the house to the driveway and onto the patio where some chasing and laughing and giggling are bound to take place.

They’ve been doing this for about 25 minutes and have made it around the house twice so far.  In the meantime, Cole is discovering and experiencing things about his world while Grandma is discovering them right along with him.  Toddler Time.  It’s happening right before my eyes and makes me love Coleman…and his grandma…even more than I already do.

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When a person goes through adversity, it sometimes feels like it will never be over – that this is how life will always be.  I felt this many times while Jason was recovering from his car accident in 1993.  After thirteen months in the hospital and dozens of surgeries and hospital stays after, “rehabilitation” seemed to last forever.  For me, the last six months have been no different – it seems like being sick will never end.


My ICU stay in May


But it doesn’t last forever.  Whether the adversity goes away or stays with us, changes are inevitable.  After six months I am profoundly grateful to say that the changes happening to me with regard to my health are changes for the better.  I have had a couple of weeks of feeling dramatically improved.  I’m not quite sure why or how this has happened except that in my mind it is a miracle, both scientific and spiritual in nature.

I have had the best care possible, both from medical personnel as well as family and friends.  I have been watched over and loved in a way that I hope all who experience difficulties are cared for.  My gratitude is deep for the blessing of people who have surrounded me and buoyed me up and kept me laughing in spite of everything.

It has been a long six months.  I feel like 2010 is simply a black hole called “Gallstone Pancreatitis” where all normal life was sucked out, never to be seen again.  And the journey is not over.  Yes, I have had a couple of good weeks.  Great weeks, really.  And I hope and pray that they will continue.   But I still have further to go.  My stamina is increasing but I still can only do activities for an hour or two before I need a rest.  I still need a great deal of help in caring for our little boy.  I’m still being fed through an IV because I can’t eat enough calories to be nutritionally adequate.  I still take a nap every day.


Cole and I at the pumpkin patch last week


But Jason, Cole and I are together as a family and even though babysitters and friends and family still pitch in on almost a daily basis, we have come so far since May 1.  I can play simple games with Cole instead of just watch him playing.  I can hold him and carry him and hug him without help.  I did a little work last week for the first time.  I can drive myself to the hospital for my appointments and procedures.  I can even write a post or two on my blog.

I’m not fully recovered but we have come so far.  And for that I am grateful.

Thank you for your support via cyberspace.  I would like to say, “I’m back!” but I think that is too ambitious.  I’m thinking that I can post about once a week but we’ll see how that goes.  For the last six months my life I haven’t been able to give even a thought to expressing myself through this blog but things are changing.  I’m getting better and I hope that the best is still to come.

Here’s to emerging from the black hole and all the joy that comes with overcoming our challenges. Thanks for staying with me as I transition from my life revolving around my health to my life revolving around my life.  Yes, life is what I want to be focused on now and I look forward to sharing it with you.

Many thanks,


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