Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Girl in the Window

There is nothing better than putting on my tennis shoes and iPod to head out for my nightly walk.  This is quickly becoming something that I look forward to each day.  With downloaded Podcasts of my favorite talk radio shows, it serves as a time for me to decompress and work on toning my legs and backside at the same time.  I’ve always preferred walking to running, and cannot even begin to relate to the popular running trends, complete with flashy outfits, water bottle belts, and neon shoes.

(I’m not just making fun… I’m probably just envious of those who can run 10 yards without getting winded!)

Walking to me is more of a time to expend some energy and get out my occasional frustrations while feeding my brain with something other than Team Oomi Zoomi.  I’d like to say that I pray and sing songs to Jesus, but I typically don’t.  When I have that mindset, I tend to walk slowly which completely negates the purpose of my going in the first place.

With the sun fallen, and only the street lamps and hints of the moon to shed dim light onto my path, I am able to peer into people’s living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, and lives.  I smile at the family eating dinner around their kitchen table.  I see the fathers who watch the game and mothers who are working at their computer, their faces illuminated in the night.   I can see them, but they do not see me.  I hear babies’ cries, and backyard laughter, reminding me of how many stories one small neighborhood can hold.  

As I round the corner onto my street, heading down the home stretch, I notice an uncovered window with curtains pulled aside.  It is the most interesting and enticing of them all.  It is the window of a young girl’s room.  I slow down to get a better look, as if peering into some alternate world that I have always wanted to visit.  Night after night, it is the only room in this house that is on display.  Door closed...light on… bed neatly made.  Her room is beautiful, complete with white furniture, a colorful bedspread, and endless toys just waiting to be played with.  

A few nights ago, just as I was beginning to wonder if the little girl that belonged to this wonderful room even existed, there she was, kneeling beside her bed playing with Barbie dolls.  My feet slowed; my heart raced.  It was a moment not to be shared by anyone else besides me, a mama with a little girl of her own, never to know her in this way.  

Where her dresser held stuffed animals and a cute alarm clock, Elise’s holds her medication and feeding tube supplies.

With her toy chest filled with the latest “girly” toys, Elise’s is brimming over with baby toys that vibrate and light up.  

Beside her bed lay her Barbie collection, where in Elise’s room we keep her leg, arm, and foot braces.  

A dollhouse and art desk take the place of Elise’s therapy chair and standing frame.  

This little girl is dressing her dolls and using her imagination, while mine lay in her bed, unable to hear, see, or even get up.

What a perfect time to wallow in self-pity and focus on what will never be for my daughter or for me as her mother.  Pacing in front of her window with tears welling up inside, I then and there decided instead to enjoy the moment.  Watch her as if she were a gift, given to me by my Father, who knows how to grab my attention when he wants to talk to me. 

This little girl’s window may give me a glimpse into my own human desires, but  there’s no window that exists in my neighborhood or yours, that could give us a look into what is truly important.  Giving thanks for what we have.  No matter what your circumstances in life are, I’m betting they are accompanied by a long list of things to be thankful for.  Big, little, obvious, or not…they are there.  

I could gaze into this girl’s window for days at a time, and never be able to tell you anything about her life.  I don’t know if she is loved or emotionally neglected.  She could be happy, sad, healthy, or sick.  Staring in from the outside leaves out so many important details.  Coveting what looks desirable doesn’t take into account the real story.  We can get so caught up in looking into the windows and rooms of everyone else’s lives, that we fail to recognize God’s blessings in our own.  It is far more productive to simply concentrate on what you do have and what you have been given.   

It makes me wonder what people walking by Elise’s open window see.  Do they see a room filled with sadness and despair, saturated in broken dreams and hopes that will never be reached?    Or do they see a room brimming with the devotion and affection that we have for Elise?  I hope that they see a little girl who is adored, prayed over, and the object of unconditional loveHer room is her refuge, a place to rest, and a spot set up just for her and what she needs.  It is a room given to us by God, just the right fit for Elise.  

My 4-year-old son, Ty, has a favorite set of books that introduce each story as looking into a “Word Window”.  I have chosen my personal “Word Window” as the Holy Bible.  That’s where I want to stop and pace a little, looking through it to find my desires and stop to thank God for my life, as is.  Even when I don’t feel it, I say it...and then in turn, I feel it.  Crazy how it works that way!

Tonight I passed by that same window, and for the first time the curtains were closed.  After walking on several more yards and reaching my own house, I turned to see inside my daughter’s window, open and bright.  What I saw confirmed what God has been telling me all of these years.  No matter what anyone else has that I don’t, whether by hard work or just sheer luck, being grateful and appreciating the life offered to me is the ultimate giving of thanks.     

What do people see when they look in your open window? (Metaphorically, of course.  I don’t want to endorse peeping toms!)  I’m not proposing that we all play “If You’re Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands”, completely ignoring the pains that have made themselves at home in our lives.  I’m merely suggesting that we try different perspectives when it comes to a hurt, annoyance, or disappointment.  What if we all stopped, looked into our own windows, and designed a room worthy to be viewed from the outside?  I’ll try it if you will…

John 14:2
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?

Mine and Hers

Me on my bed as a little girl.  I loved my room, and spent many hours playing by myself and with friends there.

Elise on her bed.  It goes up and down like a hospital bed, and best of all, it vibrates!  She also spends many hours in her room.  Instead of playing by herself or with friends, she relies on Mama, Daddy, and therapists to keep her busy and occupied.  
I am thankful for the stranger who gave us $100 toward her bed we found at an estate sale.  

Elise’s bedroom.  She gets the master in whatever house we are living in.  She needs the extra space for her equipment, therapy mat, and enormous light box.  
I am thankful for the accessibility to equipment for kids like Elise who cannot sit or stand on their own. 

Her toy buckets.  We use these to hold her feeding supplies, therapy and sensory toys, and any baby/toddler toys that she may like.  
I am thankful for g-tube feeding supplies and cool toys and switches that are available.   

Elise’s dresser, where I keep her medication, earrings, and pacifiers.  I need to get her a new dresser as she is still using Lane’s from when he was a baby.  I am aware that tigers, zebras, and lions do not match her girly decor!
I am thankful for Elise's medication.  Without it, life would be very different.  

Chris made a board to go across the bed to keep her from falling out.  The lights on the ceiling are for her to look at when she lies awake at night.  She is blind, but will gaze at lights.  

I am thankful for her lift system above her bed, that helps us to transfer her in and out of the bathtub, saving our backs!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!


  1. You are a very very wise woman, and I am so blessed to have found this post.

    1. Hi! I just saw this comment for some reason... Thank you for your kind words :)