Because I promised...
Because of a dear friend, this weekend Big was able to participate in EMDR therapy. This friend has noticed what we knew to be true, that since the tornado, Big hasn't been the same in regards to storms, wind, rain, and if we were being honest, even white puffy clouds. He is constantly aware of the weather. He gets incredibly anxious when the sky turns grey, even just for rain. I can hear him chanting to himself, "It's just rain. It's just rain. It's just rain."
My heart breaks for him knowing how scared he is. Knowing that we don't go anywhere for the day when there is the threat of rain. I try to balance it out and push him out of the house when I know there isn't rain, but just clouds that day, though I can tell it is hard for him.
A couple of weeks ago, a friend of ours, Kyle Hood, was watching the kids, and while at the park, it started to rain. Big had a huge panic attack and cried like it was the day of the tornado. Our friend Kyle, who is a counselor, offered to do EMDR therapy with Big after watching his reaction. Of course being so close to our family, she can't do regular counseling for him, but she could do this. So on Saturday, Paul and I went with Big and did our first session of EMDR.
In its basic form, EMDR therapy is taking the person back to the day and moment of the trauma and having them retell the story. The idea is that because a certain event is so traumatic, the brain has stopped connecting from right brain to left brain in regards to that experience, so it is not functioning fully. Therefore, every time something similar to that traumatic event happens, that person is thrown back to that day, that moment in time. Their emotional response is just as heavy and intense. If I understand all this correctly, the EMDR therapy is sound and vibration that bounces between right and left ears and hands so that when the person retells the story, their brain is making connections, new paths, between the right and left brain. This will help in moving them forward from the trauma and helping them heal.
Big was timid when we started, and after him retelling the story, then Paul and I both retelling the story and then Big retelling it again, by the end, he was remember new details and could talk about it without crying. It was pretty cool to see. I even think just talking about this helps a ton. What really took me back, was asking Big to retell the story, because I have told it so many times, I forget to ask my kids their opinion about what they remember seeing and hearing and feeling that day. It was fun to hear his side of the story again.
So we leave for camp on Friday and are going to visit Kyle one more time on Thursday morning to do it again. We were a little nervous for Big being away from home, his safe place, but at camp if there was a storm, and just want to do everything we can to help him. Its been bright and sunny here for the last few days so no way to know if the therapy worked or not. This isn't a cure all, and I don't think the first storm he sees he's gonna want to throw a party or watch from the porch, but I am hoping he can think things through a bit more, and his anxiety will be less. We still plan on going to therapy, but just haven't figured it out with insurance yet.
After therapy while in the car, the kids had lots of questions about death what happens to them when Paul and I die. In a weird way it was such a great way to express to our kids that even in our death we still love them. That we made a plan to have them taken care of and loved. Middle had all sorts of questions about when we die, who tells Nana and Papa so they can come for them, are they going to be alone, can we go to the police and hospital and give them Nana and Papa's phone numbers so they can call them when we die. It was a little weird for me hearing my son figure things out so fast and make a plan for himself when we bite the dust.
That night, after a wonderful day of fun and healing, we went to our neighbors party where they were celebrating two of their children's birthday and a baptism. Our neighbors, whom we play with all the time outside are Mexican and this party was in full tradition, the cream of the crop. Big white tent out back, a bounce house, Spanish music blaring, over 100 guests with all the woman in their finest, and little girls running around in dresses. In the garage were pots filled with enough rice and chicken and beans to feed a village. Drinks overflowing and dozens of kids running around. It was a scene out of a movie or a book. It was so wonderful getting to experience a completely different world just three houses down. We enjoyed playing basketball with the kids, playing catch with Big, and getting time to visit with our neighbors. I'm not gonna lie, one of the best parts was that the food served was food my family could eat. They had boiled chicken with garlic and onion and delicious rice. My kids were able to eat a feast and I didn't have to cook it. Do you know how rare that is?
After all the fun and excitement, we came home, enjoyed bath time, stories and then sang to our kids and prayed over them till they fell asleep. It was a beautiful day.
I think a lot of times we look at the 10 commandments or law or guidelines that God sets before us for living.and look at it as a chore. Something else we have to do or can't do. We feel guilt when we don't do it and God's judgement if we ignore it. I believe that if we approach his word and will for our life that way, than we won't ever want to participate in the gifts that he has for us. Making and creating a Sabbath is hard to do. It's hard to not work. It's hard to break habits and create new ones. However, the gift of the Sabbath and all that it gives and offers is irreplaceable. It changes your mindset to focus on relationships instead of "to do" lists. It makes it about people and not about work. It allows time to focus on God and what he is and what he has for you.
We were abundantly blessed on Saturday. The ground work of spending time with our kids and prayer over them has blessed the rest of our week. We see the fruits of that for days on end.
The other bonus is that our work has been more productive because we started from a place of rest.
Thanks for letting me share my day. Look at the link above to know more about EMDR. And take time in prayer to see how you might be able to incorporate a little bit of Sabbath into your life. You won't regret it.