The good news never stops. My computer died. Apparently, according to my IT-gifted Hubby, it was a tragic, nothing-could-have-stopped-it death. Irreversible. Bad news for someone who passes many of the hours of the day online.
The computer I'm using now is one that Hubs managed to resurrect "just enough" from the family electronic graveyard (What? Doesn't your family have one of those?!?). He pulled a power cord from the mix-and-match pile that fortuitously made the green light come on. Ahhh.....sweet relief!
Baby has taken a liking to Goliath's euphonium. 90% of the time, Goliath fails to put the instrument fully away in its case, which is more of a temptation than his youngest brother can handle. I doubt I will ever fully get used to that which sounds like a dying animal in my front room.
Little Middle is playing baseball for the first time. Unless you are a baseball mom, you can NOT understand the feeling of the knot in the pit of your stomach when your little guy steps up to bat. No amount of time spent in the batting cages or balls tossed in the backyard can prepare either one of you for the enormous pressure of
wanting needing to make the aluminum 'POP!' sound when the bat and ball make contact. The pressure is SO intense, in fact, that when the pitcher (whose mother is biting her fingernails 2 rows in front of you, by the way) pegs your little man with the ball on his fifth pitch, you have to restrain yourself from rushing the mound to hug him because your kid just walked to 1st base!!! And so it goes...until the next time he goes up to bat. There is not enough Xanax on the planet for this wonderful walk into the world of beginning baseball.
Me: What is your test about in Contemporary World tomorrow?
Nana: Oh, like India or East Asia?
Goliath: Just regular Asia.
His face was deadpan serious. He didn't know why we were laughing, and it probably annoyed him to death that we were displaying any kind of jolliness. Because middle schoolers, you may not know, are not the most jovial bunch. They are moody and--dare I say it?--obnoxious. I am not getting on that well with my oldest son these days. Not because of anything I've done, or anything he's done (except for a few academic and relational flaws, which must remain blog-less)--just because of where he is in life and I must have limitations. He's pushing them at every turn. But then I hear him laughing with his brothers over the huge split in someone's undies...aren't these things always funny?...and I know that all is still (in a weird, twisted, middle-schooley way) right with him.
Of course, real life continues to barrel its way straight through our family. Kids can say and do the darndest things, but Monster threatens to cover their light with his darkness. Truthfully, each morning I open my eyes, and I am disappointed. What I would really like to have happen is that I could go to heaven one night while I sleep. Wouldn't that be perfectly lovely? Fall asleep and transition from this stupid broken world into the next beautifully perfect one. Talk about a dream come true!
I have "settled" (a term I use super-loosely) into a daily sick routine. I still get up and wake the boys up at their appointed times each morning. This is my favorite. I think, especially for the littles, that it helps promote a sense of normalcy, i.e. "Mom's face is the first one I see in the morning. That is right.". We get them fed, dressed, and out the door, usually on time, with lunches in their hands and completed homework in their backpacks. I know that's a lot more than what a lot of healthy parents are able to do, so I try to be thankful. Honestly, though, it's not enough for me. I can't believe that I, who was once such a hands-on, do-it-all mom, have been reduced to a watch-them-shovel-in-Lucky-Charms mom who considers it a successful morning if she doesn't vomit in front of them.
After they go to school, I breathe a sigh of relief, take my first handful of many pills, and make my first big decision of the day: to shower or bathe? Yes, I do one of the other each day. Both are wrought with perils that an ordinary person might not consider. A shower means that I need to wash my hair, a problem all in itself. Fortunately, I have added to my repertoire of medical equipment a shower chair. I hate it just like I hate all the other stuff. BUT...you'd be surprised how helpful it has been in doing something as simple as washing my hair. I had one morning when my sweet daddy was here that I asked him to help me wash my hair over the kitchen sink. It was the day after that that the shower chair was delivered! A bath...well, who doesn't like a nice warm bath every now and then? Especially when they don't feel well? The problem with that is that I keep falling asleep in the bathtub. It's happened so often that now my caretakers (i.e. Hubby and Mom) have strict instructions from Nurse to keep a close eye on me. That eye that she has in mind is closer than I will allow, so we've had to compromise with sponge baths a few times.
After I get cleaned up and changed into fresh pj's, it's time for a nap. Yes, even though I just got up, it's time to go back to bed. Very often, I will sleep for another 2 hours (or longer). Truthfully, I wish my body would allow me to sleep even longer. There are points in the day that I think would be better if I just let go and slept straight through.
When I wake up, sometimes I eat lunch, and sometimes I eat nothing at all. It all depends on how I'm feeling. I can't seem to hold interest in my books. I've always been an avid reader! But right now, for example, I am at the halfway point in a new book by one of my favorite authors, and I just can't feign enough interest to talk myself into reading further. What a letdown. I'm not much of a TV or movie person, but a lot of times I leave it on for background noise. What else am I going to do?
I don't drive anymore. Correction: I can drive, but I don't. I am taking so much medication (23 pills a day to be exact, and that's without "extra" stuff like phenergran for nausea or Xanax for
my 6th grader stress), that who knows what is happening to my response times, my reflexes, etc. So I depend on Hubby or Mom or the occasional friend to get me where I need to go. It's not really that hard to work out, because I don't leave the house much. Still, the loss of that independence stings. It's amazing how I never seemed to care about just getting out of the house for no reason before, and now that I can't, it really feels like it matters. The Bus just sits in the driveway, seemingly taunting me.
Anyway, back to the rundown of my day: The boys come home in the afternoon, and then the craziest thing happens. I swear that as soon as the door opens and I hear the first, "Hi, Mom!", my stomach starts to hurt. I become uncomfortable in my own skin, and that horrible feeling increases over the next several hours until the clock mercifully allows me to take bedtime meds and I can sleep. I don't know why those two things have to intersect, but that is what happens nearly every. single. day. I hate it so much, because I feel like I don't spend nearly the time with them that I want to. They come in my room and tell me about their day, of course, but I'm no match for them. Most nights I have reading time with Baby, usually some math or some other can't-wait-to-be-done assignment with Little Middle, and then Goliath will come in and demonstrate his newest playlist for me before bedtime. I am so thankful for these times with them, but again: it's not enough. I've fallen hard. And every day is a tough reminder that I'm not what I used to be.
So that's a typical day. Of course, weekends are a little different. I have been trying very hard to make Little Middle's baseball and Baby's soccer games. Mom and I sat out in the crazy wind on Saturday morning cheering for a bunch of second graders who were falling all over themselves. Hilarious! But even that felt bad to me: I used to be the team mom. I went to every practice, I set up the snack schedule, I made sure he had his cleats, his socks, his shin guards for every practice and game. Now I have no idea how it all comes together each week! Of course, I'm not so arrogant as to believe that the world of soccer needs me to make it all jive. I simply miss being an integral part of my children's lives. And I'm at a loss how to achieve that feeling of closeness again in this new world.
The boys seem to be doing well. They have each had their own mini-breakdowns from time to time, and that is to be expected. I don't think you live knowing that your mother is dying and not have issues. School teachers, counselors, coaches, church personnel...they're all on board with us. There are people falling over themselves waiting and wanting to help the 3 little cowboys. And for that, ya'll, I am unbelievably, overwhelmingly thankful. Crazy thankful. God has been so gracious to put our family in a place where we are cared for and loved on. There's no way that the boys could be carrying on so well if they weren't in the middle of a you-are-loved cloud everywhere they go. Life is hard enough, and a curveball like this can really alter the course of one's entire life one way or the other if we let it.
I still worry, of course. I spend a lot of those empty hours in my days worrying. Some days I feel like all I DO is worry. I love this translation of a well-known verse: "Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life." (Philippians 4:6-7, MSG)
This Scripture offers an option: Instead of worrying, pray. And don't just pray asking for things, but offer up praise. I love that. If I am doing it right, I shouldn't just ask God for his watchcare over my sons. I should praise Him! And there's plenty to praise Him for: He is big enough to handle my requests. He loves the boys even more than I love them. He has good plans for them. And before I know it, my need to worry is replaced with Christ. A sense of God's wholeness...I can't think of anything better to have on this earth until I can get to heaven and be remade!
I don't know how it's going to happen. A lot of days--more often than not--I get bogged down with the imaginings of everything that can go wrong. Raising three children with two parents is a huge job. Raising three broken, hurt children with only one broken, hurt parent is an astronomical, how-can-it-be-done job! But my God knows. He knows our hurts, and He can heal. That's what I pray for: healing for my sons. I don't want them to ever forget me. But I do want God to use the experience that this hurt and loss is/will be for something spectacular. I can't even imagine yet what it could be!...But God knows. And I trust Him with them...even the one who never takes his ear phones out of his ears just to make me nuts.