Friday, June 20, 2008

Calling All Moms...

Or Dads. Or Smart People who know more about life's challenges than I do.

My little girl has a broken heart. I mean a truly devastated, crushed and bleeding heart. And I don't know the best way to comfort her and advise her.

Ever since Lauren learned to read, she has had a thing for horses. She would read every book she could get her hands on about horses. First, the fictional chapter books about a little girl with a horse, etc. Then the how-to guides on caring for horses, showing horses, riding horses, etc. She loved the "Felicity: An American Girl Movie " in which the main character shared her passion for the animal. All of this happened long before Lauren ever got up close and touched one. Much less rode one.

Then last fall, the opportunity presented itself for Lauren to ride. And she was such a natural, putting all that she's read and heard into practice, that she was offered free riding lessons looking toward a future of showing their horses at all the local fairs and the Horse Park. Lauren was beside herself with joy. So ecstatic. So we had begun the lessons every week that the weather permitted. Each time the owners were so complimentary of Lauren's natural talent with the horse. Lauren has suffered with asthma, eczema, and severe nut allergies since she was very small. So we already carry an epi-pen and Benadryl everywhere we go. Her first couple of times on the horse she had some itchy red eyes, nothing too serious. We didn't even worry about it. Then at her last lesson, she began to break out into hives from her neck all the way up her face. Soon she was swollen like something you'd see in a movie. She got sick, and wanted down from the horse. I knew something must be bad wrong since nothing can usually get her down from that horse.

There had been fresh cut hay, and we were hoping and praying that that was it. However, we have spent the last two afternoons at the allergist office. And Lauren is allergic to horses. And it's such a significant allergy that he strongly discourages further contact with the animal. He feels that her reaction is on a progression that could swiftly lead to ana-phylactic shock or even death.

Breaking this news has been one of the hardest things I've faced in parenting. Lauren has cried till her eyes are swollen miserably. She is bemoaning the "unfairness" of it all. I have encouraged her to get all her feelings and thoughts out and express any of it she wants to to me. She told me "I feel sadness, and madness, and green-eyed monster jealousy. I bet Satan's having a great day for what he's done to me. And this is all Adam and Eve's fault anyway. How could they do such a terrible thing to bring sin into this world?" I's pitiful and humorous all at once.

Up to this point, I have let her express her pain, and I have told her how sorry I am for her. That my heart is broken with hers, and that I agree with her that it is unfair. I've promised to help her through it the best that I can. But I have left all "spiritualizing" of the subject left unspoken. Lauren brought up Satan and Adam and Eve all on her own. :) I admit I was relieved that she didn't naturally revert to blaming God. But there probably is a spiritual lesson in here. And I want to find it. I'm just VERY RELUCTANT AND HESITANT as to what I assign to God and "His will". I'm waiting till Daddy gets home to even pray about this with Lauren. Because I feel like this is an incident that she's going to remember for the rest of her life, and how we present God's role in this will stay with her forever. No pressure or anything on us, huh????

How can we make this a life lesson that will count for something? How can we take advantage of this moment to treat fragile faith with care?

I humbly ask for your prayers...and advice. Whatever ya got. Seriously!


Kimberly said...

Not a Mom here:)..but SOOO sorry! Lauren's's not fair!! I'm not sure there really is a spiritual lesson here...except for trusting God to give strength to get through such a disappointment. I'm sure others will have better advice. Can she be involved at all with "helping out" in some way...maybe be a scorer or something at events?
If nothing else, I guess at some point (when not so upset) Lauren can be focused on other skills/interests she has...and also a compassionate realization of how many others "miss out" on things they would love to do for a variety of reasons. She may develop a caring heart through this that w/o this "trial" would have had a missing element. Bless her heart!

There are no meds. that would help?

jenny said...

Wow...I'm hurting for both of you...what a sad and scary event. And my words, you all have had a lot of things happening at once. Tell Lauren that friends she does not even know are praying for her...I will share her story with the kids and we will be praying. Sometimes it takes a while for the answers or clarity to emerge.

Also want to add I think that you are the perfect parents chosen uniquely to parent this beautiful child...that doesn't mean life works out perfectly...but you are God's gifts to each other, especially suited to help each other through the highs and lows.

Crystal said...

Tara, That is a tough one:( I'm so sorry for her. We will pray for her. Crystal

Savanna said...

I am so beyond sorry. I cannot even fathom what you all are going through. Monee' told me about it and my heart broke and then reading your post had me in tears. Ever since I was a little girl I have deeply loved horses, I can't imagine not being able to be near them. I will definitely be praying for Lauren's fragile little heart. That the Lord will be able to heal it and help her to understand somehow. She is such a sweet little girl.

Ladyluck said...

Oh Tara... I got nothin' ... Lots of prayers though, that when you and Derek sit down with her that the Lord will speak through your mouths the words that she needs to hear.

Sometimes faith means that there isn't an answer (that we can see), but wow that is a hard thing to explain.


Kim M. said...

Bless your hearts and poor Lauren... that is so hard! I will be praying for her. My Justin is allergic to rabbits (and his cousin has baby ones and he isn't allowed to hold them). But rabbits aren't his passion or anything like that so I don't really know what I'd do either. That's such a hard one!
Maybe you could simply pray with her about it as long as you need to and let the Lord work on her heart. I really don't know what I'd do! I'd be interested in reading later what you do decide!

Tara said...

Thank you, each one, for your kind words and mutual commiseration with my little gal's pain. Time is easing the constant crying, and I admit we've done a bit of "spoiling" her to take her mind off of it. She had a special date with Daddy out to Barnes and Noble for cocoa and a chat. And then my sister and I had some "girly time" with her, giving each other pedicures and listening to a litte Natalie Cole jazz. :) So she's certainly milked it! She hasn't cried herself to sleep for a couple of nights, so we're making progress.

Tomorrow would have been her next lesson, so I know it will be a hard day.

So far, I think Lauren has a pretty decent grasp on the simplistic view that "every good and perfect" thing comes from God, and that pain and trouble (including asthma and allergies) are a result of sin coming into the world. That knowledge seems to be enough for her. And I did talk with her about what Kimberly commented on, as well. The need for compassion toward the pain of others, particularly when there are those who are truly suffering the loss of so much more than "just" a hobby or a dream. We had just gone to a children's event at our library last week, where there was a little girl there in a wheelchair unable to participate in anything the other kids were doing. I reminded Lauren of that, and I think she grasps this concept as best as a nine year old can. Or a grown-up for that matter. Life is hard sometimes, isn't it?

Again, thanks so much for caring. Blessings on you all.

Kimberly said...

There's not much that Starbucks cocoa (esp. with a great Dad) won't help:) Still sending prayers and hugs ya'll's way. (Lauren's been on my mind tonight.)

Jody J said...

My heart is breaking with you. Sounds like you don't need any advice from me. You're doing a great job with her. Make sure she knows that your friends are praying for her. Life is hard, but God is good.

David and Sarah Fry said...

You know what? I think that girl has already seen clearly through the situation. As my family has greived numerous tragic deaths and other (much smaller) griefs like surgeries and things, we have come to the same conclusion as her.

Sometimes we want to figure out God's brain and what big grand masterful plan He had in mind when he allowed the sadness. But really, sometimes sin just takes its toll on the world - just like she said! And then he holds us and molds us through the yuckies.

I think Kimberly's point about compassion is absolutely on-the-spot. You won't even have to tell her about it. She's already experiencing it. People who have never been broken are not too good with people. They're not as real. Sounds like to me that daughter of yours is starting young at having a broken heart of compassion.

It's a painful dichotomy for me: don't wish broken hearts for my girls, but I very much wish for them to have hearts of brokenness towards God and others.

For me, floundering around through those dark painful days has taught me the absolute most valuable lesson of my whole life: God is good. All the time. Not because of what he does or doesn't do. Not because of happiness or lack of pain. But because of WHO HE IS.

A rock. Big stuff for a 9-year-old. But those lessons sink in through the skin sometimes, not the head.

Wow. Tough mamma stuff.

Charity said...

Been thinking about this a lot. No brain waves here, but I thought I'd say I'll be praying for her during this tender heartbreak. I'm impressed that she so quickly associated it with the Fall~ speaks to effective Christian parenting. You go, girl!

Juwah said...


So sorry for Lauren and for you. It's so hard to see our children in pain. I will say though that her grasp of a Christian perspective should be heartening to you. Wow, most adults turn on God in their pain. It speaks well of your parenting.

I've been asking myself how would I handle this situation? I think Kim is right about focusing on others. One thing we try to teach our boys when disappointment comes, is to try to remember to hold things lightly. That if we put too much value on things that are temporal we will live our lives in despair. Not that we can't enjoy a particular passion or look forward to some "dream" they may have, but in the enjoyment always reminding them that our true source of joy & fulfillment can only be found in Jesus. A pretty big concept that I think we spend all our lives learning, but are really never too young to start being introduced to. I don't mean to sound trite. I also tried to put myself in Lauren's place. What if a Dr. told me I had cancer on my vocal chords? No more singing...whew that would be tough news. I'd have a few tear-filled days on that one for sure. But as the wise Lauren says, "It's Adam and Eve's fault" it stinks, it's not fair, but in spite of it we trust Jesus and hold tightly to him and more loosely to the temporal.

I'm not sure if that helps, just kinda where my brain is. If it helps Lauren at all, let her know that her situation has been a good reminder to me to make sure I hold things lightly. We will be praying for her and for you and Derek. So so sorry. Give her a big hug for me.

Toots said...

Dittos to all the great comments and wise motherly advice.
My heart aches for Lauren as well. It's especially tough when you're young and you face those crushing times! Our love and prayers to you and Lauren--to your whole family--as you continue your journey.

Kimberly said...

Just one more comment: So loved Sarah's phrase of lessons sinking in "through the skin"...great! And so agree that you won't have to tell her...the compassion will just grow, as has already been evidenced, her heart is already maturing in that way. I also would add to not move "too" quickly to thinking of others...she has a need to really "feel" her own pain...honestly.
(I know this is a little after the fact...just still thinking...of you all.) for the poll:)
I don't really think it's necessary for "Terriosts" getting = legal rights...just if I were sure they were terrorists....that's been the whole problem with this thing....alot of very unclear labels and lots of folks held with little evidence. (And that's why it was overturned at the Supreme Court.) That's not OK for my understanding of how our superior constitutional system is supposed to work. So it was hard for me to vote last time and this time...

Anonymous said...

Another "not a Mom" comment, and a late one at that. (Sorry.) Please know that my heart hurt immensely for Lauren and for you all as I read your post. I think you've gotten much good advice from lots of wise people. I echo the sentiments of others that the focus of her anger has been well-placed. Sometimes yucky stuff happens, and there aren't any easy answers. Bravo to you for not throwing trite (and usually useless) answers at your daughter. Your presence and grieving with her will speak much more than easy spiritual platitudes. Many blessings and much love to you all. I sincerely pray that time will continue to ease the pain (as it is so good at doing) and that Lauren will grow and deepen through this trauma. Love you!