The Forgotten Few…

This week’s update is brought to you by none other than Sam Forrester. In his own words, live in technicolor. Here he is. Welcome, Sam.

I’m here because Danielle does too much.  And by too much, I mean everything possible to keep us sane and alive in this rambunctious house of ours.  Also, she’s doing everything she can to save our kid from a life of itching, scratching, screaming, and avoiding foods, outdoors, swimming pools, and anything that could possibly make him sweaty or uncomfortable.  I’m here because she needs a break.  And if I can give her an hour or so of a break from writing so she can keep her head down, cook some food, or just relax, then I’m happy to do it.

So many times in situations like this, the mother is the one who has to handle the difficult day-to-day stuff with the kids.  The mother is the one who cooks, cleans, washes, dries, folds, scolds, praises, and disciplines the kids.  The mother is also the one who gets the calls, cards, prayers, and well-wishes.  And please, don’t take this as me being scorned because of all that she receives, because she receives way less than she deserves.  That’s the God’s honest truth.  However, I do have a point to all of this.  A point that I think deserves to be made.  Fathers carry the burden of these ailments, too. And while neither of us are doing any of this so that we can somehow be praised by anyone;  sometimes it feels like fathers get left in the background when the discussion begins.  I’m never left in the background by my wife.  She praises me constantly.  But, we tend to be the forgotten in the journey.  We, and the sibling sitting along side who we’re tasked with caring for while the other is getting mommy’s much deserved attention. We, the forgotten few.

I work constantly for my family.  I work two, sometimes three jobs at a time to provide for my family so that we can afford for Danielle to stay home and rear our children in a Godly, homeschooled environment.  I work these jobs so that we can afford to give our children the best food possible, about 98% organic at this point, so that their bodies can grow and form in the ways that God designed them too, without any help from the extra hormones or additives that are put into the American food system these days.  And, it’s because I have the task of providing for my family that I’m rarely home enough to help Danielle in the daily struggle of providing education and care for our children.

You see, I work as an educator.  I’m a high school English teacher.  I love my job.  But, because of the demands on me from August through May, I regularly spend 10-12 hours away from home during the year.  Because teachers don’t make enough to care for our families on a single income, I’m also a basketball referee.  A job that I equally love.  It just so happens that it’s the perfect job for someone who works full-time during the day.  I spend anywhere from 2-5 days a week officiating men’s league and AAU club basketball games, usually 4-6 game sets.  Which means, after my 10-12 hour school days, I typically spend another 4 hours away from home during the evenings.  And that doesn’t include the high school basketball season from December to March where it stretches to 6 days a week, every week, without a break.  And during the Spring, I’m also the girls golf coach at my high school, which means there are plenty of days when I see darkness when I leave for school and darkness when I come home, with my children having woken and fallen to sleep without me in the home.  And this is so we can afford to live, not so that we can take lavish vacations or buy new cars.  We both drive cars that are old and paid completely in full.  We haven’t taken a vacation since the summer of 2009, not even having been married a full year.

But, I do it because it’s what I’m supposed to do.  My family is why I get up in the morning at 4:50 to prepare for a workout so that maybe, one day, I can be ready to take my basketball officiating career to the collegiate level.  If that’s the case, then maybe I won’t have to work 3 jobs at 17-18 hours a day just to scrape by enough money to make ends meet.  I’ll only have to work 2 jobs to do that. 🙂  But seriously, no one has to ask me to do this.  And I know many fathers who are exactly like me.  We sit in the background, grinding in jobs that don’t pay us enough, yet jobs we would never imagine leaving, just so we can give our wives and children everything they need to be happy and healthy.

But, then you get the news that one of your children isn’t healthy.  And that’s the hardest part.  Because my job doesn’t change.  My job remains.  I must provide for my family.  Yet, I’ve worked my entire adult life into a career that makes it very hard to provide fully for my family.  It would be almost impossible for me to go somewhere else to try and do something else.  So, I must keep working to make the best of this situation.  Maybe I’ll become a principal one day and help my family that way.  Maybe I will make it to the big times in officiating and help my family that way.  Maybe I’ll do both at the same time and be superman.  Who knows?  Well, I know the answer to that question.  God knows.  And I continually put my trust in Him, because He’s the only one that can sustain me through this journey.

Fathers sometimes get lost in the shuffle with situations like this.  And, you know what, sometimes that’s ok.  We don’t do what we do so that other people will congratulate us.  Ideally, if we’re doing it the right way, we’ll stay right there in the background, providing everything our superwives need so they can work their magic for our families.  But, remember the fathers when you run across families like ours.  Maybe shoot a prayer for him next time you’re talking to God.  Pray for his strength.  Pray for his sanity.  Pray for him to be single-minded in his approach to how he can take care of his family.  And pray that he always remembers that the work he does is plenty important in taking care of his family, even if he’s not at home consistently.

With all that said, let’s talk about Raleigh for a second.  In my estimation, he’s had a pretty good week.  We’ve seen bowel movements 4 days in a row now, and because of that, we’ve seen some skin clearing.  I think those two things are intricately connected at this point in our journey, much more than the foods we’ve eliminated.  And because of this, we’ve introduce beef back into his diet.  We made some bone marrow (crunchies) as well as meatballs over the last few days, and his skin has continued to gradually clear.  There are times during this journey where it’s my job to talk Danielle off the ledge.  One of the ways that I’ve had to do that is by reminding her that his skin will not be completely clear until he’s completely healed.  I don’t believe we can wait for full clearing before moving on to new foods.  We won’t see full clearing for quite awhile in this process.  Therefore, my constant encouragement to her is to look for the bright spots in his skin journey, and let’s start thinking about introducing some new foods. We’ve been in the phase 1-2 part of the GAPS diet for 60 days now. Most books say anywhere from 2-3 weeks tops.  So, we’re hanging out here much longer than we anticipated.  Once we talk to our practitioner on Aug 30th, we’ll get a better idea of where we can go from here.  I’m praying that she gives the go-ahead to get some new food into the rotation.  Raleigh needs it.  He’s beginning to beg for the foods we have on our plates, even if he previously didn’t like those foods.  The boy just wants something more than chicken, chicken stock, and vegetables.  I get it.  I would too.

We’re moving right along in this journey, and I think we’re seeing some success.  I pray that things clear up more and that we don’t have anymore setbacks.  Pray that for us, too.  We, as a full family, are dealing with some pretty difficult stuff.  Pray for Evelyn.  She, like her father, gets lost in the background of this journey.  She’s dealing with this just like Raleigh is.  Her path is just different than his.  She needs your prayers as much as he does.  Pray for the Forresters.  Pray that we’ll continue to grow closer together.  Pray that we’ll make it through all of this in one piece.  Pray that God will continue to provide for us through my means of employment.  Pray that I have a good year at school.  I’ll tell you one thing right now, there is nothing harder for a father than to leave his family for 10-15 hours a day to a job that he hates.  Pray that I continue to have successes at my school that make me want to go back every day.  But, as always, most of all, pray for Danielle and Raleigh.  They’re the ones bearing the brunt of this journey.  They need your prayers every day of their lives.  They need your encouragement in any way that you can give it.  They need your help, as a community of people who love them, to get through this struggle.  We’ll get through it.  I know we will.  But, we need you along the way.

Thanks for reading.  I’m not so sure she’ll let me do this again.  If she does, I’ll see you then.

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