Deep sigh. Finally, I am here. With the quiet of my own head. My own thoughts. It’s been a while since I have found myself in a coffee shop. Away from the busy of my life. Alone with the blinking cursor of my laptop.
I haven’t had time for this piece of me lately. Life has been… exhausting. And hard. And overwhelming at times. And when I let this place go. And find myself in a place of pushing these feelings — which flow so easily out on this laptop — down deeper and deeper. I stuff one post on top of another deep in my heart. And I ultimately just don’t go there. I just let it be buried.
In these times, I just put my head down and climb.
And I keep climbing this mountain called life. This mountain called parenting.
I just weather this storm and hope that somewhere on this journey the climb won’t be so steep. That I might stumble across a path that someone has walked before me. That I might find an easier way. Or a helping hand. Or I don’t know… anything. Anything to make it not so hard. Not so tiring.
And that is where I have been. Fucking climbing. Without a rope. On the edge of a cliff. And hanging on with my fingertips. I know, I know, whoa is me — right?
But now? In this exact moment? I am sitting here. On the other side. And I am not sure what part of me to let out first.
Asthma. Sickness. Metapneumovirus (don’t worry, I had no idea what this was either). Kindergarten Registration. Moving. Sensory Processing Disorder. Birthdays. Holidays. Gallstones. Migraines. That time I forgot to do Valentines with Brooks for his class party. You know. Mom of the year stuff.
(proceed to bang head on keyboard.)
I guess I’ll start with My girl.
There is something about this girl of mine. Miss Roman. From the moment I found out I was pregnant with her. She started changing me. Challenging me. Exposing this part of my heart that I didn’t know was there. A part of my being that — without even knowing — so desperately needed to be changed. A part of me that doubted God. His goodness. His power in this world. His plan. Dare I say, His existence at all. Then came Roman. Just continually shining light on that for me. She has from the beginning.
It’s like I can’t hear the Lord when he is speaking to me. Just to me. But when he uses her. When I see her. I see HIM. I don’t know how to describe it. But she’s that. And I don’t know if there’s any one thing or one person that could be more important than that.
This last month, She got sick. With a virus. And it wasn’t long before I knew her asthma was out of control. She breathes too fast. Too hard. And too shallow. And that cough. I hear it in my sleep sometimes. That cough that can only mean one thing. Asthma. And this virus alone was wicked. Combine that with asthma and it was devastating. A quick ER trip turned into a week on the pulmonary floor at Children’s Hospital. Long story short, we went from MetaPneumoVirus to Asthma to Pneumonia with double ear infections. And I watched her fight to breathe. I watched her almost give up. I watched her lay still as nurses attatched cords and monitors to her. I watched her lungs be suctioned more times than any mother should have to endure. I watched her oxygen numbers grow and fall in some sick mind game. And finally, I listened as the doctors explained to me all the medicine she was on. And that still the virus was taking over. That this was up to her now.
“She has to fight.”
But she wasn’t. And that was the hardest part. Day after day in the hospital, she was getting worse. Where was my fighter? She’s a bitch. I mean really. She is such a bitch. She runs this family. She gets her way at all times. She insists things be her way. Always. Because she is just…such a bitch. Really. And what bitch isn’t a fighter? Even on the small things. She fights. On the big things? Get out of her way.
So naturally, I held on to my beliefs that she’s got this. And for a majority of my stay there, I just wanted to get home. To get out of the hospital. It all had just felt like run-of-the-mill asthma stuff. Not serious. Not serious serious. I wanted to get back to my boys. I missed them. Ohhh How I Missed Them.
My mom thinks worst-case scenario. At all times. She asks herself daily,
“What’s the worst-case scenario? Can I live with that?”
All her decisions stem somewhere from that point. My dad is a boy scout through and through. And that boy scouts motto,
is abided by in his life in every way shape and form. He is always prepared. Always. Emotionally. Spiritually. Physically. He is prepared.
So that’s how I was raised. Some strange mix of “Can I live with the worst-case scenario?” and “Be prepared…for the worst-case scenario.” And well, it’s just dawning on me why I used to live with anxiety. Why I would live my life at all times expecting the worst-case scenario. Or anxiously awaiting and preparing for the worst-case scenario. I get it now.
It took a combination of medicine, therapy, and some tough lessons about control to let it go. And that’s not a critique on that mindset. It works really well for both of my parents. It just finally dawned on me that it did not work for me. It scared me. Like, debilitatingly scared me. But then here I go. Doing what every kid does when they break away from the mindset of their parents. I’ve swung the pendulum. All the way to the other end.
I don’t anticipate bad things happening. I don’t think about them. I don’t plan for them. I am caught off guard by them. And you know what? I like it that way. I make it that way.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not an idiot. I don’t live recklessly. I am not blind to the bad that this world has to offer. I see it. I feel it. I just don’t live in it when I am not forced to. I just don’t rest in that place of “bad things happen”. I don’t take a little piece of bad and make it horrible. I actually fight that urge. To take a headache to “I must have a brain tumor.” Or, to take a bad day to “my life sucks.” I fight that urge with everything in my being.
So there I was — in a hospital bed next to My girl — fighting that urge day in and day out. Until I couldn’t run from it anymore. And I held my baby in my arms. And watched her blink at me. With shallow breath. A simple shell of that bitch I loved. And my world crashed down on me. And I guess I got what I wanted. I was caught off guard by the bad things that can happen.
I called Dave. I was sobbing before he even answered the phone. I remember him just yelling helplessly in the phone.
“WHAT? WHAT? WHAT IS GOING ON?”
He was crying before I could even say anything. I didn’t know what to say.
“Tell me she is ok. IS SHE OK? OE IS SHE OK?!”
That is all I could get out. Followed by…
“I just don’t want her to die.”
Without knowing why I was crying, what the doctors were saying, or what brought on this sudden emotion he replied,
“Me too baby.”
That’s about all he got out. He pressed further and I told him what the doctors had said. That it was up to her now. That this battle wouldn’t be won without a fight.
And he started praying on the phone. I closed my eyes. For the first time in days I wasn’t staring at her. And I listened to Dave choke out a prayer. I don’t even know what he said (Something along the lines of Please Lord, we need more time with her.) We’d tossed it up to the Lord and an 18 month old. The Lord, who’s plan you have no control over. And an 18 month old who, well… is an 18 month old. I mean, I am a Christian but I completely understand why people who aren’t look at us like we’re insane. But you know what? I did feel better. And in that moment of prayer I did feel Him.
“Hey It’s Kelsey”
Kelsey was our nurse. She had seen us through our darkest hour — her shift was ending. And as the door swung open. I quickly hung up on Dave.
I hid back my emotions for a split second and then — who was I kidding? — I started crying again.
“I just don’t want her to die.” “I just don’t want her to die.” “I just don’t want her to die.”
Kelsey came over and adjusted the mask on Roman’s face. And she held her little hand. I watched her thumb run across the top of Roman’s hand.
“It just takes time to fight off the virus. She can do it. It’s not a fight without a struggle.”
I held onto her words. I held onto our prayers. I didn’t focus on the negative — the worst-case scenario. I focused on the present. The hope. The fight. And she did do it. Slowly but surely. She fought. She fought like hell. She got stronger. And better. And little by little they turned her oxygen and her pressure flow down. And before I had time to process it, we were home again. Changed. With a renewed faith in prayer, In God, In the goodness of people that carried my little family through this. In my newfound outlook on life. And most of all, a renewed faith in this little girl.
She’s changed me from day one. And she just keeps on doing it. Teaching me. Guiding me. Bettering me. I don’t know if by societal standards she is going to do “big things” in this world. But man, she does big things for my world.