I just wanted to let everyone know how I'm doing. Thank you for your prayers. I know that they made a difference.
Just to explain a bit about what I meant when I said it was really hard...
For starters I got about 4-6 hours of sleep a night for about a week and a half before going out to visit Grace and the girls. (I usually need 8-9 hours per night.) That and the emotional drain of having my family far, far away and Anna getting really sick was a pretty bad start to my visit. Then, there was the lack of sleep with those jet-laggers. Abigail was falling asleep during dinner every night and waking up at 3 or 4am. Yikes! That did not work out well.
It was not what I expected and it all weighed on me. Heavily. I think if I had planned on being incredibly tired and laying around in pajamas all day and just doing the basics (making sure everyone ate, poor Lily, I think she ate on average about every other day) I would have been very impressed with all that we were able to do. We made it to the grocery store almost every day (we couldn’t get it all together to make a list beyond what we needed for that day!) We got all the laundry done before my mom had to leave. We made it to church Sunday morning. (Thanks for your prayers!) Umm…I think that’s about it. If my to-do list had been much, much shorter, I would have felt amazed at all that we were able to do. I was expecting WAY too much. (I had lists of the nearby attractions that I wanted to visit, the hours and the prices…yeah, high expectations)
Loving Anna was not hard. She is very happy and affectionate. She puts her hands up to be picked up. She gives hugs and kisses (which I loved except the snot bubble part.) She throws a mean toddler fit but wants to be comforted and snuggled afterward. (I don’t think she had any real attachment issues, but I’m no expert. All I know about attachment I read on y’alls blogs. I am praying for all of you who are dealing with attachment issues. I can’t even begin to imagine…God Bless each and every one of you and may He move mountains on your behalf.) It was NOT hard for me to spend time getting to know Anna. It was very hard for me to do that while spending time with and loving Abigail. She did wonderfully. She was very understanding of all the time that the baby needed. But, it was a major change for me. I am accustom to giving Abigail my undivided attention. She has been my only niece for almost 6 years. I am used to spoiling her. (Not condoning it, just telling the truth here.) It was very hard for me to divide my attention. I wanted to spend time with them both. I wanted to give undivided attention to them both. It was so difficult emotionally for me. It is like a hard-to-break bad habit.
One day (they’re all blurred) I had a God moment. I realized that I was trying to be everything for everyone. I was not created to do that. That is not my place. That place belongs to God. After I had some quiet time I felt better. Things began to improve after that. I learned to divide my attention and my time. I made myself step back and let Abigail do her own thing or wait until I was finished helping Anna. I made myself start putting Anna down some. Guess what...she can walk! She likes playing on the floor with her toys. She likes to "run" around chasing her ball. She likes to dance. She likes it when Abigail dances. She likes being on Abigail’s level. And Abigail loves playing with her. I realized that by trying to spend quality time with them I was taking away from their time with each other. It is fantastic to see Abigail and Anna’s relationship develop. They really like each other a lot. Abigail is a great big sister. And Anna misses her when she is not around. Abba (for Abigail) is one of the three (I think) words that Anna says now. It was such a blessing for me (and for them) to step back and allow them to bond further.
I hope and pray that those who will travel soon will have the prayer covering that we had thanks to all of you and our churches. Also, I hope that you will have more realistic expectations then I did. And please take lots of pictures. Even if you are in pajamas and there is stuff everywhere. Believe me; if you don’t take pictures you will surely regret it.