Christmas 2002. Noah came into our family on the last day of 2001. In these pictures, he is almost 11 months. Benjamin is 2 1/2 years. Hannah is 3 years. Little did I know, at the time these pictures were taken numero cuatro was on her way. I still don’t know why I ever bothered trying to “plan” our children. I’m still learning that there really is only ONE plan.
2002’s pictures are rather boring compared to 2001’s. I will tell you that this photo session was our first and last trip as an entire family to a studio. Yes, we came away with a picture of the whole family, but I’m afraid my husband came very near to a coronary. Benjamin did not want to cooperate, so we have a picture of just Hannah and Noah together. I can’t include it in this post because our pictures have moved to the attic to make room for our Christmas decorations. It isn’t very different from the ones you see here.
The winter months wreak havoc on the boys’ skin. The cold air helps to make it more dry than it already is. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned our nightmarish ordeal with allergies, eczema, and asthma. The eczema first appeared when Benjamin was about six months old. First, it was just a couple of circular dry spots. Over time, it became worse. The red splotches on his face are dry spots. His hands are open cuts from incessant scratching through the night. Noah was, and is, the same way. We have visited doctors, specialists, dermatologists, and allergists. We’ve tried every expensive cream and ointment known to the FDA, and a couple of those that have not been approved. Their skin is so sensitive, even the gentlest lotions cause them to break out. There is nothing on the market that will cure eczema. We can only do our best to manage it. For us, this involves keeping the boys clean, applying antibiotic creams/ointments, lots of moisturizing, keeping fingernails very short, and avoiding certain foods. Even all of that doesn’t help much.
The hardest part of all of our allergic-trifecta-trials has been seeing my boys in misery and being powerless to help them. I can recall several sleepless nights fighting asthma. In those times, all I could do was sit beside their beds and pray, listening to them wheeze, waiting for the doctor’s office to open. When they couldn’t sleep at night because of the itching and discomfort, I would sit up with them, holding their hands to keep them from scratching, singing, telling stories, anything to keep their minds preoccupied until they fell asleep. But I can only go so far–they even scratch when they are sound asleep.
Now that they are getting older, we talk about self-control, among other things. I suppose it is inevitable that they would want to know why they have eczema. Benjamin (one of the more spiritually sensitive of the four) and I have had deep discussions about trials and sufferings and why God allows eczema even after we’ve asked him to take it away. My answers vary. I believe God made them this way. Even though it may seem to us that something is wrong with them, I believe God does not make mistakes. Therefore, there is a purpose in their having allergies and all that goes with them. And because they are still children, they do not question whether or not God and His purposes are good. My prayer is that their characters are developed as they learn to persevere and endure. I pray that they become sensitive to others and can offer words of comfort to those who aren’t well. As they cannot enjoy many of our favorite things, I pray that their souls are expanded to enjoy more and more of God. As they are repeatedly told, “No,” because of allergies, I pray that their eyes are repeatedly opened to God’s “Yes” for them in Christ. I pray that my boys grow to love God and desire Him more than the things of this world. If God chose allergies and asthma to teach them those important truths, then I welcome them, thank God for them, and consider them gifts. I pray that Benjamin and Noah will, too.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18