Monday, July 28, 2014

The Schedule

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 
gentleness and self-control.
Galatians 5:22-23

"I love you more," she says as she walks by with the sound of flip-flip-flopping from orange-jewel-sparkle sandals.  My daughter rarely ventures into the office these days - these summer days of headphones and HGTV, of books on her lap, and ipad FB messaging.  Her favorite place is the end of the sofa.  The end with the table, with the lamp, with the space to spread out.  Her nerf-dart gun.  Her flashlight.  Her phone.  Her papers.  Her space.  I think it might be the 21st-chromosome-Down-Syndrome-doubling that gives her this hyper organization.

Sometimes I sit in her seat; I tease her.  I want to see what she'll do; I want to hear what she'll say.

"That's my spot," she stands in front of me, hands on hips, chin jutting forward.  The words hang for a moment before they are shattered by an eruption of giggles.  Her posture changes; her expression changes.  Her eyes widen, as if she's surprised by the laughter - her own laughter.

"It's Sheldon," she says - in reference to a character on a popular TV show.  She has just quoted one of his lines.  Like she has to explain the context of her remark to me.  

"I love you double more,"  I call after her, smiling to myself because I am behind in my plans for the day and she loves me this time because I just finished printing off her schedule for her.  

She has been reminding me all morning.  Right after she delivered her morning hug.  "Mom, my schedule...."  During her morning coffee, "It is Monday, my schedule..."  While eating breakfast, "My schedule yet..."  Her hands in the air emphasizing - palms up in the I-don't-know position - like she wants to say so much more.  Shaking her head at me, voice accusing.  "I need it, my schedule."

The fact is, I AM running behind.  Wake up with husband - check.  Coffee with Sierra - check.  Exercise - check.  Help Sierra in the shower - check.  Shower myself - check.  Get breakfast, let dog out, get dog's breakfast, empty dishwasher, put breakfast dishes in, go back upstairs - brush teeth, wash face, fix wet hair, call mom, wash Sierra's face, fix her hair - check, check, check, check, check, check, check.  I haven't written my post yet.  I haven't checked the paint in the garage.  I haven't put a load of laundry in the washer.  I haven't checked my job status, or my emails, or .... 

 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Galatians 5:1 (NIV)

It only needs one appointment - one change - and then I can print it.  My daughter's schedule.  Then she will be able to relax into her day.  Into her week.  She'll look at her watch, placed just so on the arm of the sofa, and she'll check the boxes off as she completes them.  She'll keep the schedule on the coffee table with a pencil - checking off boxes all week.  At the end of the day on Friday, after she checks that she made the coffee for Saturday and set the table for dinner...the last two items for the week...she will throw the schedule away.  Completed, purpose fulfilled.  She'll need another on Monday.

Context.  The I love you more statement?  Yes, she can finally pick it up from the printer.  But it's more than a simple thank you, it's also an I-know-I've-been-bugging-you-and-I-want-to-be-sure-we're-still-ok. 

Context.  The smile behind the I love you double more?  First - I'm always working on communication skills with my daughter.  According to the Down Syndrome experts, her speech falls far behind her thinking.  We are always working on ways to bring her thinking to us - to the people around us - to the world in general.  She's 23, and hasn't stopped progressing, hasn't stopped trying, surprises my husband and me on a daily basis.  So, we've gone through I love you to the moon and back, I love you to the ends of the universe, I love you most, I love you....times a million, I love you bunches of flowers... I'm proud of the way she's using a variety of these formulaic phrases.  Extend, extend, extend. Second - it strikes me as humorous that I'm giving my daughter a schedule when it is obviously me who needs one.

How often does it happen that the thing we provide to others is the thing we need the most?  I plan and provide a schedule for my daughter to keep her on track and to help her a navigate a world of independence within the big, broad world of anything goes.

Context.  So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.  Galatians 5:16-17 (NIV)

Guess what - we ALL need something to keep us on track and help us navigate a world of independence within the big, broad world of anything goes.

Heavenly Father, thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit.  Thank you for guiding and directing us in our busy lives.  Help us to hear.  Help us to listen.  


  1. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE READING YOUR BLOG.....8) I think you and Sierra are so lucky to have each other! Would you please do a schedule for me??? However, I can not promise to be as good as Sierra at checking those boxes! You can tell Sierra - now she is my inspiration to get my stuff done too!

    1. Oh Donna - you've always been able to make my day! Thank you! And absolutely - but you have to promise that we get together to do it! I wanted to post a picture of her schedule after she's checked it off, but of course it's Monday and last week's completed one is in the trash and long gone. I'll have to tell her she's an inspiration (I can't wait to hear how THAT comes back in conversation...) Have a great week!

  2. Janet, I loved reading this just now. I love that at 23, Sierra has not stopped progressing and hasn't stopped trying. And neither should any of us. May we continue to grow every day until one day we are "measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ." (Eph. 4:13, NLT) May you & Sierra have a great Tues.!

    1. Thank you, Joanne. If you can't tell, I'm pretty proud of my daughter - she never stops surprising me! What a wonderful verse - yes, may we continue! Hugs.

  3. I love this! A schedule is a great idea for my son, too, but like you, I am the one who needs the schedule! My son is so involved with activities that my schedule is just an extension of his. :-) Take care.

    1. We first started the schedule after Sierra's graduation because we knew she'd be spending some time at home without us. She's proven to be pretty capable at following the schedule and our lock-the-door rules. We've had to practice emergency stuff a few times - but I knew she got the message when I came home after a quick run to the store - during a thunderstorm - and she was in her bedroom closet with her flashlight and phone. The lights had flashed out and she knew... I didn't know, however, when I first came up with her schedule, that it would end up running my life on Monday mornings... :)


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