Monday, December 15, 2008

Grieving Perfection

This is my Christmas post. It is long; it has a point so please stick with me…

Perfection is the name of my game. I am a bit of a perfectionist. When I do something, don’t just want to do it well, I want it to be perfect. Just ask my parents about learning how to ride a bike. Or ask Jeremy (and his father) about me water skiing or snow skiing.

This time of year brings out the perfectionist in me.

I am on a mission to find that perfect gift for everyone on my list. I will search and search until I find it.

Putting up Christmas decorations takes me forever. I sort things, move them and move again until I find the perfect spot for each decoration. When it comes to the Christmas tree…well don’t mess with me. This was the first year I did not pick out the tree (gasp!). Jeremy, Carter and Luke went. Jeremy asked me many times if I should go and he stay home with Brayden but I told him to go. Jeremy made me promise that I would not be upset with their choice (in case you were wondering, it is my favorite tree ever). Jeremy suggested that we all decorate the tree together (another gasp but this time bigger). I love my children, I want to have Christmas traditions but decorating the Christmas tree…it is my happy place of perfectionism. I spend hours putting things on, I have a method in which to put things on, I stand back and adjust, I walk by, I adjust, it has to be just perfect.

Every giving birth to my 3 sons and each time the doctor handed them to me; all I could think was perfect. They were perfect. They had all had the most perfect little fingers and toes. They were breathing and crying. I love them. Perfect.

Then a few days after Brayden was born I came face to face with loosing that perfect baby. What did they mean my baby was not perfect? He was broken? How can that be, he looks perfect?

Letting go the idea of a perfect child is like grieving a loss. I am no way comparing it to actually losing a child. It is grieving the loss of the perfect or ideal child.

A book that was sent to me after Brayden was born and describes this feeling:
When our baby was born we lost something we were already in love with-our idea of what [he] would be. No baby could ever completely fulfill that idea or be that fantasy, but most babies approach or overlap our dream baby…A child with a disability was not in our picture at all, except maybe as an occasional fear. We who have a child with a disability lost not only our fantasy baby, but our reliance on having a normal baby…It makes our heart ache. - Changed by a Child

There is no manual for this kind of grief. Grieving perfection, or at least the idea of it. How do you deal with a severely disabled child? My perfect child is being stripped away little by little with each problem that arises. For months we left specialist offices with more bad news and a list of things he more than likely will not be able to do.

My grief does not come all at once and it is not frequent. It comes in those silent moments. It comes after another doctor visit, when sitting in the car trying to absorb all the information that was just thrown at us. It comes after a long day of seizures. It comes when I feel helpless. It comes when I watch him sleep. He looks so perfect but he is not. He looks like he should be a normal healthy child. He is so broken. I feel so broken.

I have my moments of grief. It hurts. Sometimes I feel like I cannot breathe but those times are rare. We love Brayden, we are thankful for him. He is broken but to us, he is perfect is his own little way and perfect for our family.

At times the idea of grieving the loss of a perfect child felt vain, almost silly. I know that not one single child is perfect. Not my other two boys. Sorry to say not any of your children are either. We are all broken. Some more broken than others; whether it be physically, emotionally or spiritually.

There was only one baby that was born perfect, Jesus. He came to this earth perfect. He came because we are not perfect, we are broken. He came to save us from this imperfect world.

For Christmas we can celebrate His perfection.

The Bible tells us that Jesus was not an ordinary baby. In fact, this baby was the God of the universe clothed in human flesh. That’s right. Jesus is actually God, in human flesh, who came to this earth because mankind had been separated from Him by their sin. Jesus became a man so that He could reunite mankind with God.
We all know that we are not perfect. But did you know that one day we will all stand before a righteous God and give an account for our lives? In that moment, we will either be sentenced to Heaven or Hell. Today, we can be sure that we are going to Heaven because of what Jesus Christ did for us.
Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins by dying on the cross. Three days later, He rose from the dead—proving that He is God (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). He now offers free access into Heaven to all who trust in Him and believe in His death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 10:13). That’s why He came and that’s why we now celebrate His birth at Christmas—because “while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Christmas is all about Jesus Christ. He came to this earth, was born, lived, and died in order to make a way for you to get to Heaven. -


K said...

Carrie, you are amazing and an amazing Mom! You are doing a great job with all 3 of your boys and they are so blessed to have YOU as their Mommy! Thank you for sharing your thoughts, frustrations and heart with us...we're praying on the other side of the world for you guys.

Courtney said...

yes, thanks for sharing your heart!

Anonymous said...

Just found your blog. I can begin to understand the extent of your grief. My two oldest are hearing impaired in addition my daughter is in remission from kidney disease and is undergoing some less serious but incredibly bothersome health issues currently.

Sometimes as a mom it really, really hurts. I believe God's plan is a perfect one.

Blessings to you!

DeeX said...

You are a strong, courageous woman who has been blessed with wisdom too. There are people who don't have one of these qualities. You posess all three. God knew what he was doing when He selected you to be Brayden's mom.

the deKorne family said...

ugh. you are amazing. when does your book come out??!

Amity said...

wow...shivers.......this post is right on.

Keri said...

My goodness! You have me sobbing like a baby. It's as if you wrote a chapter out of my life. You have a way with words and I'm so glad to have found your blog.

As much as you've already heard it and will continue to hear it... God did choose you for Brayden as God chose me to be Logan's mommy. We may never know the purpose behind it all, but He does.

Leanna said...

WOW! You put into words the things that float in my head but I am too scared to voice it. Like you said, I feel vain. I didn't know how to explain that I don't love my 'broken' baby any less than my other 2 boys but I would love to have him 'fixed'...yet again, that would change who he (and we) are today. Could you please pass the kleenex?

Debbie said...

That is a brilliant post Carrie. I mean you just nailed the message so eloquently...