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A New Normal

I was going to take a pass this week on writing, but I had something on my mind - his name is Otto.

Our world revolves around baby Otto and all the variables that come into play every day. We’ve been on this ride for a week and it feels like this is our new normal again. Joe and Abby are with him all day and wouldn’t have it any other way. They encourage him, soothe him even when they can’t hold him, and continually tell him he is a fighter. They are trying to stay positive and don’t want any negativity around him. I told her she should make a sign that says, “Positive vibes only.” I love watching them whisper to him what he needs to do today or to sleep tight because tomorrow is another big day. I know he’s little, but when they lock eyes with his baby blues I know he gets it.

Abby described Otto's progress as a flow chart. In his flow chart, the end result is surgery to repair the leaky valve again. When that will be depends on the variables involved to get there. In all the different routes to get to that final repair there is the potential for detours resulting in a long complicated flow chart or the shortest route leading directly to surgery. (Which we don’t really want right away.) He needs as much time as he can get before the next surgery. Keep praying for that! Of course, there is also room for a miracle and the valve will simply not leak anymore. It could happen.

I hadn’t thought about flow charts in years. Probably since I was in school. As I was thinking about grade school math and making flow charts, I remembered my love for story problems. Do you remember story problems? I used to love those! It made math creative. My favorite subjects in school were math and reading and that explains why I loved story problems. Granted, the ones in math class were kind of boring.

I remember them going something like this: Wendy and six friends went on a camping trip with their church. (I went to a Christian school, so of course it was with a church.) They took 24 hot dogs and 27 marshmallows. After they each ate X amount how many hot dogs were left and how many marshmallows were used if they each had two s’mores etc etc. You get the idea, remember these?

I could quickly solve the math problem, but to me there was always more. Who was Wendy’s best friend? If there were seven girls and someone was left out, who had to bunk alone? Were they scared out in the woods? Did they have to pee in the woods? Were there wild animals?

I was not satisfied with just solving the problem. There were a lot of behind the scenes things that I wanted the answers to. It’s just how I’m wired, I guess.

That’s how it is with Otto right now. The doctors tells us what numbers they need and what needs to add up to move on etc. But just like Wendy’s camping trip, there is so much more I want to know! When can he go home? When can he eat? Will he have to be on that strict three hour schedule again? I don’t ask them because they are not my questions to ask, but it's hard. I like to have a plan, but I have to take a lesson from my kids. Joe and Abby are doing a good job of taking things day by day and not looking too far ahead - I need to follow their example. Yes, you heard that right. I’m going to follow my kids' example.

It reminds me of how our relationship with God works. I know what the end result is: he loves me. But I often create a story problem or flow chart to always end up getting the same answer.

Here's a story problem for you:

Question: A grandma gets mad and demands from God to know why Otto has to go through this. Why do her kids have to hurt like this? She gets mad and swears at God in anger for what Otto is going through and refuses to pray that day. How many times has she turned her back on her faith and at what point did God quit loving her?

Answer: Countless times. And never.

God's love is unconditional no matter what your story problem or flow chart. We may have lots of variables, but the end result is always the same. He loves us.

While I was writing this blog a friend texted me this verse:

“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him." -Psalm 62:5

That is the only place I can find rest. I tried for years to find rest in a bottle and it didn’t get me anywhere. I'm so thankful I can turn to God in the hard times instead of a substance.

My family is feeling God's love and support from all of you. Thank you for the meals, hugs, and messages blowing up our phones with encouragement. It's not always easy to reply but please know everything is so appreciated.

It’s hard to watch your kids go through this and your grand baby as well. As a mom, I want to fix it and make it all better. I can’t. That’s all there is to it and I have to accept that. On the up side though, I serve a Mighty God who can.

Peace on your weekend,


Wednesday Night: After I had written this week's blog, Otto had an amazing day of progress! No CPAP! No oxygen! Next steps are eating on his own and hopefully leaving the ICU. Prayers are being answered for this little guy!

For Otto updates follow my daughter's blog: Binks and the Bad Housewife


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