"We are going to focus on LIFE for Katya. I believe, one day, she will amaze the world."

Dr. Ben Carson on Katya Dueck

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Part 3 about our Joni and Friends Family Retreat

At breakfast, we enjoyed bacon, eggs, fresh fruit, juice, and our choice of cold cereals or oatmeal. Due to Nicole having a nasty sprain, Kristina was paired with a new STM, Heather. Kristina and Heather quickly hit it off, and things were lined up for a great day we thought.

However, it would not be our family without a little drama . . .

After breakfast, we were all sent to "The Dome" for our morning wake-up. The combination of Praise and Worship songs and a few fun "camp style" songs thrown in for good measure woke us up. The children were taken to their various groups for activities, and the adults were broken up into small groups. Charity trailed along with Katya and Marcia in order to give Katya some reassurance. We assumed that she would need to tail along with Katya probably the whole first day in order to keep Katya from being too scared.

However, our best laid plans . .. by lunch, Charity was sick and had to make a mad dash from the table to the bathroom. When she came out she looked pretty bad, so one of the STMs went and fetched the Camp Doctor, Dr. Chris. Charity was helped out to the porch as Dr. Chris said to bring her out there and he would check on her. While she was sitting on the floor there waiting for him to show up in his wheel chair, a crowd began to gather and swirl around her. When she learned over the railing and hurled into the gravel bed, she got even more attention! I knew she was going to make it though when she yelled, "Run! It's catching!" as soon as she could after puking. ;-)

Dr. Chris immediately ordered everyone to scram when he arrived so he could talk to Charity and me. He took her temp, (no fever) and asked one of the J and F staff to round up some non-acidic juice and tea with sugar to be sipped as Charity was able to try to keep her blood sugar from bottoming out (which can trigger a non-stop cycle of vomiting for her if we are not really careful). We then got a golf cart ride down to our room and I got her set up there.

Of course, with Mom and Charity both tied up, Marcia  had to go off with Katya alone for their next set of activities. When Katya (predictably) began to have panic attacks, it quickly became evident to the J and F staff that Katya was a "two STMs child". Marcia needed someone with her to help support Katya through her pain and fear.  Bless their hearts--the staff moved to find another STM for Katya, and she was quickly paired with Kayla, an energetic 16 year old who was a cheerleader with a ton of energy and a uncanny ability to reach right into Katya's heart. I was thus left free to tend to Charity till she was sure she was settled enough that I could go rejoin the group of women. Paul was out of the main "camp" area with a group of men doing a Dad-activity--rides on the King Swing and a cook-out, so he wasn't around at all to help with our situation at all.

By the time I got Charity settled, and rejoined the women in "The Dome", a pampering session was well underway. On one side of the room, volunteers from the local area had set up a hair-cutting station, a manicure station, a hot wax/lotion station, a foot pampering station, and a couple of craft stations. I surveyed the area, then got in line for the foot pampering!

And I have to tell you . . . oh my goodness! My poor pegs that normally ALWAYS hurt and don't feel entirely connected to the rest of my body?? By the time those ladies were done with my feet, my feet felt GOOD and the best they have felt in years!!!! It was amazing!! God bless those women who lavished love on us in a practical way that day!

I also had just enough time to get my hands dipped in hot wax and then after that was done, one of the ladies massaged our hands with lotion, then prayed for us before releasing us as we needed to go to supper. I was just a tiny trifle disappointed that there had not been time for a manicure (something I have never had done and would have found fun, at least there at camp, I think) but still, I had a great time. ;-)

Actually, that whole entire day I spent much of the day with tears leaking out of my eyes. I can not entirely put into words *why*. But I think it was a combination of gratefulness of what God had done for us through His people, and just seeing the love and joy everyone had in their eyes and face as they related to Katya and our other kids, seeing the joy and fun my kids were having, and being touched on a very, very deep level emotionally and spiritually by the things I was seeing and hearing there.

One of my FB friends commented on my vague FB post about how much I was crying that it sounded like I was in "sacred space". Yes, I think so . . . God was there, and I felt Him very closely and clearly, and saw Him in so many practical ways that week. Some things were also made clear to Paul and me about steps we need to take to try to best meet our family's needs for the long-term. Those steps do not look easy so there were some tears about that as well.

 Also, I think I finally was in a place where I felt safe enough to let a lot of the emotions from the last several hard years just roll out . . . so often, I have to be brave, strong,  and **THE MOM**. Here, I could be myself, let down my guard, and for little periods of time, be "Hope Anne". So the tears rolled. But it was "good crying" . . . . releasing a lot from within me, both joy and pain rolling out in a mix that was such that it was not easily separated.

The tears kept up pretty much the whole time I was there, but I noticed each day that I was there, there were less and less, so I guess I was being able to get it "out of my system", which was a healthy thing.

--To Be Continued


hoonew said...

I had to look up this organization to see what they are about. How inspiring to see what they would do for families like yours and mine. Thank you for sharing your experience.

hoonew said...

BTW, that's hilarious, Charity's comments to "Run, it's catching."

Hope Anne said...

hoonew, Charity has a great sense of humor, and as long as it's active, I know she will make it. ;-)

Monica @The Mennobrarian said...

Just catching up here and loving the playback of your time at camp. Right when I was thinking the foot station would be my choice, you got in line. Ah, great minds..and tired feet.