Sunday, January 2, 2011

Attitude Adjustment

Attitude in relation to an aircraft has to do with the angle of the horizontal alignment of the aircraft in relation to the horizon....or more simply put, how much the nose of the plane in tilted up or down during flight. Wrong attitude, especially when landing, can cause, well, a crash. Wrong attitude when flying can cause a stall and then......a crash. No matter how you look at it, attitude is important, and a bad attitude can quickly lead to a major mishap.

We have had some very wonderful experiences and moments while visiting Louisiana. For those of you new to our blog, we lived in Louisiana near Grouchy's (my husband of 13 years) parents and family for 9 years before moving to Idaho in September 2010. We have been here almost three weeks staying with his parents in their very comfortable, spacious home. There have been cousin and friend sleepovers, a very special Christmas together, shopping trips, hunting and lots and lots of playing!! The weather has been pretty great, too! And of course Grouchy's mom, DiDi, can cook like no one's business and likes to do our laundry.....I know, I am still spoiled beyond measure!!!! Oh, and great, bittersweet news is that we did sell our Louisiana house last week!!!

However, we have experienced some very, very low times here. Not because we are here, necessarily, but just because we ARE. I think our attitude got misaligned, and we have been flying along very uncomfortably and finally rached a critical point of danger. Some of my blogs over the past weeks have shared some of these times. But tonight I want to share the attitude adjustment and some good things about our recent lows.

We are Christians, Methodists to be exact, and we do our earthly best to turn to God when things are good, bad and neither. But sometimes that doesn't happen. Sometimes we ask for things and we do not get them or do not get them as we seem to think we should. Many times I am not thankful. Many times I am a spoiled four year old stomping my foot and demanding what I WANT!!!! This past year has been about transition: Grouchy's 20 year fighter pilot military retirement, our move, new job, and the kids growing and changing. Somehow change is a very hard thing for me. I love to initiate change, plan change, even move through the change, but when change happens that I did not start or know about, I get my attitude out of alignment. I lose the big picture and try to control way too much.

Ahhhhhh, and there's the word of the day. You have to control your attitude!!! Sometimes for me it feels like I am not adjusting my plane's attitude, but that the horizon shifts beneath me. That's when I have to get on my knees, offer my fears and frustrations of the known and unknown to God and then TRUST that I don't have to adjust my plane's attitude at that point because God will......if I let Him. (Oh, and I need to communicate with my husband too....small point I neglected to mention.) These past weeks I have not let God. I have put it on myself to need to affect change to make everyone else happy even if it kills me. Not healthy!!

Grouchy and I have both found ourselves guilty of trying to shield the other from frustrations with Garrett. We have both been working to protect the other from overload of being "stuck" with Garret while the other does things with the girls or family. One stays behind and "takes it on the chin and misses out" while the other gets to escape reality and be a normal family. But note the sentiment of things like "stuck, escape, missing out." Not good. Garrett is a beautiful, healthy (for now, visibly, physically), funny, precious child. But he has so many -isms that make him frustrated, complicated and restricted. Most of these things come from inside his little mind, and talking more to our new G.I. expert and Grouchy's friend with Mito, much of his frustration is likely coming from his tummy discomfort. Wow, he has to be miserable, and he lets us know sometimes. And then the rest s due to his developmental delays caused by mitochondrial disease.

Grouchy has helped me correct the attitude of my aircraft by saying that we need a plan. Yes, it may change or have to be adjusted repeatedly, but we need a plan. Shoot, it may not even work, but we need it!! We an always make a new one! We need to plan for 1-2 days per week where we leave Garrett with a sitter and go do things as a family without him. That thought has broken my heart so much in the past as I felt that meant we were leaving him out. But truth is that he doesn't enjoy many of the things we do with the girls, especially the ones involving long car rides, waiting in lines, sitting in restaurants, skiing, so he will be happier with one of his sitters than with us, truly. We have to get things rolling for behavioral therapies, Medicaid and help with respite care funding and diapers. Yes, we have a 5.5 year old child in diapers with no end of diapers in sight. We use sitters with him more than we had to with the girls when we were not opening restaurants years ago. We have extraordinary expenses and we need to seek ways to get assistance and budget and save for these expenses in the future. We need to plan these days without Garrett on our calendar and look forward to adventures with Addie and Ainslee without feeling down about not bringing Garrett. Who knows? Someday maybe our idea of "family togetherness" will happen for us. It just isn't now.

Grouchy is my rock. When my rock is rolled, it isn't good. He and I spent about 48 hours in the dumps with a really screwed up attitude last week. We felt the weight of our family's restrictions and quirks crash on us as we watched the normal kids and families around us come and go quite freely and without major struggle. And while I love them all and would never wish my emotions or situation with Garrett's frustrations on anyone, I found myself feeling resentful that they could just "take their happy little families right on home and live normally, happily ever after," yet we were feeling so stinking stuck in a rut!!! They could walk away, escape, drive home, and we could not escape ourselves. That was the lowest low I have ever had, when we both hit the attitude problem. And then things cleared up some. Grouchy's college friend came into town, driving over 8 hours to spend a few hours with us. He was encouraged by what he saw. We attended church and heard from a pastor here whom we have grown, quite quickly, to love and "get it" from. And that was huge to hear his words spill God into our wounds. But most of all, we talked, I cried, and we fell into each other, and we have allowed God to take the controls again and adjust the attitude.

Thank God our life isn't a plane with me in control. I think things are off sometimes now, I cannot imagine how I would have fouled things up on my own. Grouchy is my best friend God is in the pilot seat, and right this moment, I can see some better flying ahead!!!

Keep your attitude right and Godspeed!!!


  1. CL,
    You're not alone in planning for change, but not wanting change put upon you. I have the same problem!! We're Type A, and that makes us want to control EVERYTHING and when we can't, oh Lordy. :) I love that you guys have worked together to find a plan. Sounds like meeting with those folks from Unbefuddled is also a good start. And like you said, if that plan doesnt work, you two will just work and pray for a new plan, a better plan. Love you girl! Here's to the new year and a new plan!! :)

  2. I'm just catching up on your blog. When you said:

    "And while I love them all and would never wish my emotions or situation with Garrett's frustrations on anyone, I found myself feeling resentful that they could just "take their happy little families right on home and live normally, happily ever after," yet we were feeling so stinking stuck in a rut!!! They could walk away, escape, drive home, and we could not escape ourselves."

    I could so relate. In a different way, but that is how I feel when I'm with a bunch of "normal" people and families. They can walk away from my pain, they don't have to live in my body every day, with my constant state of overwhelming emotions that I have to work at keeping "my attitude adjusted" as you say. Like you guys, I feel like I must be this superwoman, paragon of virtue, be a beacon of Christ's light (or Vivian's for that matter) in the face of these overwhlming situations we find ourselves in. I am none of those things.

    Thank you for the reminder for turning to the "Almighty Attitude Adjuster." You are so right--I always feel like our pastor is speaking directly to me about how to live with these overwhelming situations. But I walk away, and go back to my "rut" without any real change taking place.

    It was so good to see all of you over the holiday.

    Love you guys!!!