Tuesday, August 25, 2009

i broke a nail.



this is liviyah.

she is four. sweet. precious. she's about to become my niece, too.
liviyah can't talk. she can't understand most of what i say. see, she had a stroke in utero, leaving her with autism. often her features cloud over with confusion. i watched her for a full 6 hours before i wanted, quite honestly, to pull my hair out. in the course of six hours, she had slept, eaten, tossed food on the floor, tried to eat a fingernail (which i had to fish out of her throat), threw a small desk at my head, took off all her clothes, threw more food, and climbed on all the furniture. she had nearly reduced me to tears. me, a seasoned nanny and auntie.

i worked for two weeks this summer as a caregiver, for a woman with paraplegia. polio had left her mostly helpless, requiring the use of a lift and lever system. i went over every morning, got her up, showered, dressed and fed. she couldnt even lift her arms to shave her legs. how humbling to wash the feet of someone who couldnt do it for themselves. i get why Jesus and the disciples washed feet. theres something powerful about that act. its moving. its beautiful. and its humbling. it took three hours. every morning.

three hours.

i complain when the water is not hot enough for my lengthy shower. i complain when i run out of shampoo. then i get in my car, and i drive to the store. she couldnt drive. i had to heat her food, shampoo her hair. i bought her groceries. i realized i am a really big whiner.

because this woman always was smiling. always. like, at eight in the morning, when i was gving her a bedbath (and in my inexperience, splashing water all over the place), or when i nicked her ankle shaving her legs. or when her food was not exactly warm all the way through. she just smiled and said thank you. one morning, i left her house and got in the car only to realize one of my press-on nails had somehow pulled off during my cleaning/cooking chores. i was frustrated for about ten seconds before God gently whispered, "a nail? really?"

yea. i was complaining about a nail. sure my hands looked a little uneven, but they were hands that had always known the ability to do things for myself. and attached to a relatively healthy body that can walk and move and run. what a whiner.

and sure, liviyah was a handful. but her mommy, a single mommy who is soon to be my sister in law, gets to be with her 24/7. with no break. with no fiance even, like i had, to take the reigns when i couldnt do it anymore. there's no break for her, no respite. and i was complaining.

give me a break.

i need to whine less. because really, breaking a nail is nothin.


3 comments:

FayeJ said...

"...but her mommy, a single mommy who is soon to be my sister in law, gets to be with her 24/7. with no break. with no fiance even, like i had, to take the reigns when i couldnt do it anymore. there's no break for her, no respite. and i was complaining.

give me a break.

i need to whine less. because really, breaking a nail is nothing..."

And THAT is exactly why we started the disability ministry at Church, THAT is why we are holding a respite day...so those amazing parents CAN get a break.

It makes me cry. I've been hit with the same realization as you through all the stories and planning I'v heard and one this last year...I really think people need to spend 1 hours with child with a disability, just to get their life in perspective.

enricht said...

Amen

Tracy said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this Grace. It's wonderful that you've had those opportunities to be the hands and feet of Christ to these people around you.