Rathjen Family

Rathjen Family
Rathjen, Party of EIGHT

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Wanting More Out of Christmas

Every year I try to down size Christmas without offending or disappointing anyone. I simply don't believe it's honoring to the Lord to go in to debt, or to be over indulgent and lose focus of the true meaning of Christmas by turning it into an excuse to spoil ourselves and others. Most the people I know, cannot think of a single thing they need and have a hard time coming up with something they even want. Gift exchanges are great, don't get me wrong. I do think it's important to keep Christmas special and a time to look forward to. It's wonderful to create good memories of the Holidays in all our minds. But I think it's more important that our children are raised with a clear understanding of what it really is they are celebrating. Almost everyone gets into Christmas whether they are Christian or not, which I think is kind of amusing. I think many are raised with the understanding Christmas is just simply a time to exchange gifts, bake, send out Christmas cards, and decorate a tree. This is all true, but the REASON we are doing this is being forgotten.

Christmas is Jesus' birthday. Without Jesus, where would we be? Jesus is our Healer, Comforter, and most important our Savior. So what does that mean? Savior...He came and lived on earth. A human, so he could teach us, feel what we feel-hunger, despair, loneliness, joy. He lived a perfect, sinless life.
But then he took on all our sin-yours and mine-on the cross, and was tortured and beaten so we could go to Heaven. He DIED for us, so we would never have to die, so we could live eternal life with him.

Now that's a lot to celebrate. That's much more exciting than any gift you could place under the tree. I know it's hard to relay all this to a child. However, there are ways to do it. There are lots of story books out there that you can read to them to help them understand. They can watch cartoons that teach the real meaning of Christmas. Maybe instead of making the focus on what children want for Christmas, we could talk to them more about what they think others may want. It would be wonderful to involve them in a conversation about what they think we should send to Grandma and what they would like to include in the box. What children really want most from us is our time. I feel we could spend half the money and twice the time with them during the holidays and they would have very fond memories of Christmastime. Children love to bake, craft, sing, decorate and read stories.

It's a great time to teach compassion for others not as fortunate as us. We are richer in general than 2/3 of the world. We can teach them about charities, and different ways to give. We can teach them love, which is what Jesus is after all.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

I'm Not Waiting...On Anything.

And that just occurred to me. I'm not waiting on anything. I went from waiting for God to make a move and place adoption on my husbands heart, to waiting for my husband to make a move, to waiting on a match, then of course to waiting for each and every step in the adoption process. Once home with our new boys, we started waiting for things to smoothen out, to then waiting for our first appointments at Children's Hospital. Then we waited for Ivor's surgery, then Trigg's. Last night the waiting came to an end. At 10:00 p.m. we got an email from our pediatrician giving us the results of Ivor's final blood test. He's perfect, genetically perfect. All of the boys medical issues are a result of the twinning process. They are indeed identical, and genetically perfect. Awesome.

So what do we do now? We live. We live with out surgeries and test results looming over our heads. We move forward. It's nice. I know you are supposed to live every day to its fullest and blah blah blah. But really, there's freedom in not waiting. I hope the next time I am waiting on something, I will just keep on living while I wait, instead of holding my breath. Today I realized the last several months I have been holding my breath. Today- I exhaled. Today, we cut down our first Christmas tree as a family. I had done it when I was a kid, but not since. I still remember that day. I remember the spot we found the tree. I remember our old family dog, Odie was just a puppy romping around. I hope my kids remember today like I remember that day.

That's what life's about, making memories.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Over the Hill and Through the Woods

Those are the words that come to mind when I rehash the week.  Trigg had his surgery on Monday.  We thought we were smooth sailing.  He went back about 8:30 and was done by 10:30.  We had planned on going to a recovery room for about 2 hours.  We had an appointment for Ivor in the cleft clinic and we let the nurse know.  I think she became focused on getting us out of there in time and she let us go by about 12:45.  All went well at the cleft clinic and Ivor was cleared to eat whatever he wants.  YAY!  This child will probably forever refuse applesauce, and he was pretty excited to get something crunchy to eat.

We got on the road by 3:00.  We have a six hour drive from the hospital to our little town.  As we were climbing the pass (big huge mountain) Trigg's pain was escalating.  It was then that hit me, he was still in a dry diaper.  I called the surgeon and he was sure they would not have discharged him without a wet diaper.  I called the O.R. and had them look in the chart and my fears were confirmed. 

Needless to say we went strait to our local ER and Trigg's bladder was near bursting.  They had to drain it which was totally traumatic, after a two our wait to see a doctor.  Let's just say, our small town ER needs a lesson or two in treating kids.

These boys continue to teach me how fragile and resilient kids are, all at the same time.  They are simply amazing in how well they bounce back.  Through all the pain and agony of these surgeries and the changes they have been through, God still continues to be faithful and bless us.  It is a gift, a sweet, precious gift we have been given simply in watching them interact.  Ivor knew Trigg was down, and he acted accordingly.  He would feed him, literally feed him, and Trigg would eat, even when he did not feel like it.  He would randomly go to him and kiss him.  He would bring him drinks.  They are TWO.  Toddlers generally don't show empathy till the age of three.  They help each other up when they fall.  Again, we praise God for reuniting these identical twin boys.  He knew, HE knew how badly they needed to be together.  I am so grateful He chose us to witness their love.