Friday, December 12, 2008

The Valiant Ones

From the four inch cut in my daughter's chest to the piles and piles of packed boxes inside my front door, it's easy to say my life isn't normal.

I remember my senior year. I worried about seeing my girlfriend, paying for prom, playing time on the basketball team. Where to go to college.

Teia's senior year: she's wondering where she's sleeping. If her sister will die. If she'll see her dad. What she should pack and what she should throw away.

The truth is, I have toyed with the idea of pulling them out of school so we can just manage this troubled time. But they love school, their friends. Kellen needs basketball.

Last night I got home at 9ish. Teia was packing dishes and making snickerdoodles. Isabel was packing Jen's closet. A typical school night.

So when Isabel's teacher told her she was downgrading her for being late with homework - homework late in part because we didn't have internet for days - I just deflated.

I guess we can take pride that Isabel's teacher figures Isabel's life is so normal that she should suffer the same consequences as a kid with a normal life. My kids are living valiantly, selflessly. I am so proud of their ability to appear like any other teen.

But I'm also saddened that her teacher chose not to walk with Isabel on this. Izzi's a good kid, a smart kid. A pretty good student. In one of her blog entries recently she described how "useless" she felt in the face of Zoe's trials.

Me too. But I wish to goodness that I could bear this instead of her. That she could worry about cell phone minutes and Friday's date instead of all this.

I'll try and write to the teacher, but pray for these kids. The world they know is different than the world many of us grew up in. It's been the strength they've found in faith and the same fighting spirit their little sister shows you that has gotten them through. I just hope I can get everyone to see that.


  1. Greg,

    In my gradebook, Izzie gets an A+++ for compassion and love for all things FAMILY. Apparently this teacher, if she knows what has been going on these past two weeks, needs a "Wake Up Call". Your kids are a model to us out here in Family Life first. Being downgraded for it hurts my heart for Izzie and you. I am praying for your family right now that this temporary set back is set straight. Could this possibly be another part of Zoe's ministry?:)
    Your family is doing it right, and I know God will honor you all for it. Just look at Zoe as I know you do, 24/7. This is what counts so much more than stupid grades for late assignments. I am praying for all of your kids as they pack up the family and wait for Zoe to be back with all of you.
    I love you guys and you bless me.

    PS. Thank you for blessing me with your visit. My blog isn't a "chicks only" site and you are my first Guy. Hope you come back. You have become a "heart friend" in so many ways through Zoe's journey.

  2. trust me. you don't really want your kids to be shallow "regular" teenagers. they'll know something more deeply than their peers - how to trust God through life and death stuff. not just praying for a zit to go away in time for the big dance. kids are strong and they can be very wise, 21st century america doesn't let them be that way much.

  3. I think once the teacher realizes what's been going on she will work with you. I also suggest maybe you contact the school guidance counselor so that way s/he can keep tabs on the kids (grades, teachers, how they are handling things) so that way they also have a helping hand at school. Maybe you've already done this, but I just don't know.

    Dan, today's teens are not as shallow as you think they are. They deal with a lot more than what we dealt with as kids. I taught teens for a while and I was always impressed with the vast majority and their maturity and outlook on life. Give them the benefit of the doubt and get to know them. You may see them differently.

  4. Howard Family11:03 AM

    I don't know if you guys remember me. I'm a nurse at Froedtert. I was working the day Zoe was born. I wasn't Jen's nurse, but I helped you guys take your stuff up stairs to post partum. I had a wonderful, brief talk with Greg. My husband and I also go to St John's and went to ropes in Aug with Izzie. I can speak from personal experience when I say Izzie is one of the most incredible people I ever met.

    I've been silently reading your blog for months, and now I have an incredible desire to help. What can I do for your family? Can I help move moxes, do laundry, carpool kids, Christmas shop, make meals??? Please let me do something for your wonderful, blessed family.

    I've been and will be praying for your entire family.

    Kim Howard

  5. huntsouth1:27 PM

    As my dad always said, when he was alive, "Give everyone the benefit of the doubt". Extending mercy to a teacher who may not know or understand is good. Maybe SHE has something difficult going on in her life. As a "sometimes" teacher, I know how easily I can err, even when I don't mean to.
    Wish we could help you pack and move, but you seem to have a great crew.
    The older song, Until Then, says,
    And things of earth, which caused the heart to tremble, remembered there(in Heaven), will only bring a smile.
    We pray for you for strength to do all of those necessary things of life. Lean hard on the Lord. He's there to help. Love Amy Hunt

  6. Anonymous1:35 PM

    Your kids are anything but normal. They are Superheroes. You can bet all of the teachers in my family would understand and walk with the kids. I think it's safe to say that any teachers in your family would do the same for someone else's children. Write that letter and write it proud. You don't know until you've tried. Isn't that sentence the jist of so much of what we do as special needs parents??? I take that back... Isn't that sentence the jist of so much of what we do as PROUD special needs parents???

    LOTS of love and prayers and admiration~
    Jen, Jeremy & Jacob

  7. Anonymous1:39 PM

    P.S.~ I voted 2x on the Charter pole (!!!) I think Isabel's teacher should be made to vote, too :-)

    Jen Schultz

  8. Anonymous2:10 PM

    Well this comment really brought memories back. When we were in the same circumstances my senior-high daughter asked for an extension and was told "no". She went to the principal to discuss the matter.

    It turned out that the principal had a son with Downs and my daughter's story brought all the memories of her own hospital experience back to her. Several Kleenexes later (on the part of the principle) my daughter walked out with not only an extension for the project, but she was excused from taking final exams (she had great grades) and even a donation to "order something" for dinner for all the kids at home who were managing on a wing and a prayer.

    Sometimes we are too involved not to appreciate the special people along the way. Thanks for reminding me about this principal.

    Incidentally, today there is an article in lifesite news about eugenic abortion and a Catholic Hospital that has been performing them for a long time. Very sad.

    Barb (annie's mom)

  9. I know where you are coming are so kind and I would probably call and lose it on the teacher. Continue to be strong and your family is in my prayer.

  10. Nichole3:11 PM

    I am praying for the whole Batiansila clan. Now I see where Zoe gets her "fight". She comes from a long line of survivors.

    You will all get through this.

    "This too shall pass".

    Love from California

  11. Barbara in TX5:59 PM


    Please let the teacher know and tell her until he/she HEARS you!!!

    We need to know their stories so we can differentiate with the pros!

    Please, please let that teacher give Izzy the gift of flexibility and care. If she doesn't know, she's not going to give her an "unfair" advantage. Believe me, I know! I've been there and I didn't give an inch until I knew . . . . and I regret that because they don't all share . . . . . Please let her in on your journey and share your story . . . . we'll keep that teacher, and Izzy, in our prayers!

    ps. We made Zoe a small pink hat when she was born . . . .does she need a new one in a bigger size now?

  12. I can understand you being deflated when you received that news. Like the others who have commented, I have to think that the teacher just doesn't realize the extent of what Izzie is going through right now - what ALL of you are going through right now. With a gentle phone call, maybe you can let her in a little, and she can work with Izzie. I'll be praying that happens. And if it doesn't, I'll be praying a little harder for the teacher...b/c she obviously has a lot less compassion than our Father calls for us to have for our earthly brothers. Glad to hear that Zoe is improving!!!! We'll keep praying.
    Thank you for blessing me with your blog entries.

  13. There is a principal that those who serve the most will lead the most. The servanthood that you have all faithfully display is evidence that you are all called to be leaders.

    The greatest among us are those who serve. Remember that and do not lose heart. Keep serving knowing that God will promote you and give you favor in due time.

    Your day is coming........I promise.


  14. Anonymous10:42 AM

    Dear Izzy,
    Your teacher will learn one the greatest life lessons in compassion when she realizes what she has done. Whatever grade you receive will remind you proudly for the rest of your life that God is working through you and you family to teach the world about love, compassion and bravery.

    Have your Dad forward this site to her and allow God to do the rest.

    Izzy, you are one special young lady. Thanks for making the world a better place.
    Lisa (one of Annabel's fans from Texas)

  15. Anonymous11:04 AM

    Just a comment on Eugenic Abortion-- A friend of mine who was 22 weeks pregnant had her sonogram and saw that her baby did not have lungs, amniotic fluid, huge kidney cysts and a misplaced liver among other less fatal under/non/misdeveloped internal organs. The doctos deemed that it was to dangerous for her body to carry the baby as her body was starting to reject it and some of her organs were starting to not function correctly.

    Before I continue--let me tell you how much she WANTED this baby. They had been trying for years to get pregnant, had a miscarriage early on and finally this one seemed to be going well, until the ultrasound. She was excited, ecstatic, thanking God profusely for this great gift.

    She had an Eugenic Abortion at 23 weeks. She did not do it because she wanted to and she has suffered miserably for losing her baby. But she did what she felt she had to do for her health (and was told was best for her health). She is Catholic and values life. However, she was presented with a unfortunate choice of circumstance and had to make a decision. It has not been easy for her. It will continue to not be easy for her.

    I just ask that you pray for people who have Eugenic Abortions because it's not easy for them to make the decisions they make. They are not horrible people. They are not people who want to lose their child. They are not people who don't value life. They are people who are being forced to make a choice, as in my friend's case, to do something she never prayed or dreamed of doing. She doesn't need guilt, she needs caring and understanding in her special circumstances because they are all different.

  16. Anonymous11:16 AM

    what about those little boys...i bet they miss their mama and baby sister? i am praying all your kids know they are specially loved by God! and that we are praying for them too

  17. Just checking in this morning to see how our Zoe is doing. I am thinking that no news is good news and that she is catching up on a lifetime of rest. Praying for her and for your family as you pack up for your move. You and Jen have great kids, you have every right to be so proud of them. Praying Izzie's school situation gets resolved with much grace. God is so good this way:)

    Love and Hugs, Laurie in Ca.

  18. Anonymous9:00 AM

    Maybe the teacher would be more considerate if you talked to her first, rather than broadcasting your issue on the internet....

  19. Deirdre10:14 AM


    I love you! You already know and believe God loves you...

    "Be not weary in well-doing"
    which is old-speak for
    "Let us not become weary in doing good" (Galatians 6:9)

    Keep doing what you are doing: love God and your family and serve Him through loving them.

    Love from Aunt Deirdre
    (who is fluent in old-speak)

  20. Anonymous12:36 PM

    or maybe the teacher was talked to and the situation was talked about and she knew everything going on and still decided to downgrade.



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