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Blessings in Disguise

I know I’ve been a bit whiny the past week or so, complaining about giving up my freedom, independence, and serene solitude. Yesterday I got to see a little gift in our current circumstances: Bug and his grandma.

 

We moved away from family when Michael was only fifteen months old. He’s grown up without his sister, grandparents, or cousins. Over the years he’s kind of adopted other grandparents and extended family through church and neighbors. Kind, sweet people who’ve embraced him and loved him and made us all feel like family.

 

When we had the opportunity to move home again a couple years ago, I was happy that Michael would actually have the chance to finally get to know his grandmother and cousins. No longer would we have to spend birthdays and holidays with just the three of us. Still, there are only so many of those ‘special’ days, and we’ve not had as much time with family as I thought we would and now we’re moving on once more. Fortunately, this move will take us to be with Bill’s family, and Michael will have his sister and more cousins around, and a chance to know that side of the family now.

 

Yesterday was the first day of a four day weekend from school for Michael. We have bowling plans the last three days of the break, but nothing was scheduled for Friday other than a trip to our favorite Chinese buffet: the Fortune Star. We stuffed ourselves silly, full of crab rangoon, stir-fry green beans, egg foo yung and more…Michael couldn’t wait to show Grandma his dessert concoction of pudding, chocolate cake, cookies ‘n cream ice cream, all smashed up with fortune cookies. Yeah, it looks pretty gross, but he makes it every time we eat there, and you kinda have to admit–what could be wrong with a combination like that?

 

After we came home, Bug and Grandma played a few games, then cuddled on the couch, gabbing away. Michael is as much of a talker as Grandma is, and the two of them prattled on most of the afternoon. It melted my heart to see him so happy. As frustrated as I have felt, I’m really thankful that the two of them have this time together–this gift in the darkness, a light of love…makes the rest seem easier to bear.

 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~Matthew 11:28-30

 

Pigging out at Fortune Star–such manners…

 

Noise

I don’t do well with noise. I am a huge fan of golden silence. Probably half my problem these past couple of weeks…Even when Bill was still here, he’d get up and head off to work, Michael would go off to school, the dogs would all settle down for their naps, and I’d have beautiful, sweet silence. Not so much now with another person in the house…

 

Mom’s a talker. A constant talker. And a fairly negative commentator. I grit my teeth and shoulders tense, bury my face in my book…I don’t like noise. And I can’t get away from it right now. There isn’t an off button. Deep breath, try another paragraph…

 

I’m sure I sound ungrateful. She did fly up from Florida to help me get through my recovery time, and I am thankful for that. It’s just everything else that comes along with it is a rather hard pill to swallow.

 

Michael is having a difficult time right now dealing with our upcoming move. Facing leaving all his friends once more, and heading into the great unknown of another school and having to make new friends all over again is very daunting. Daddy’s been gone almost two months now. Then he watched as I lost control during the tremors and was rushed off to the emergency room in an ambulance, followed a few weeks later by a stay in the hospital for surgery. How much more can be piled upon his shoulders? I’m in my forties and it’s a struggle for me to handle…I can’t begin to imagine how scary all of this is for a ten year old!

 

So he’s been acting out and having meltdowns. And I’m getting lectured about how my child isn’t normal and he needs help because he’s too out of control. Everything in his life is not normal and out of control right now! She broadcasts to her friends his bizarre behavior and my apparent lack of parenting skills, as if my family’s private business is hers to share and I fume inside.

 

So I cherish my few hours of morning time in silence. Pray for peace, strength, patience. Wishing my husband was here, wishing all of this was over. I need to get back to my routine, and find the quiet within. Soon…soon…

Feeling Better

I went for a walk yesterday morning. A quick couple of miles around my usual running route. Made me really want to run, feel my heart pounding in my chest, cold air chilling my lungs, the beat of feet on pavement. But I contained my pace to walking, breathing deep of fresh, cool morning air. Waving as neighbors left on their way to work. It was freeing, being out on my own for just a little while. Restoring a tiny semblence of independence for just those few minutes away. Helped me hold on better the rest of the day.

 

The weekend will be busy, that will help. Bug has a four day weekend from school so I think we’ll hit the Chinese buffet for lunch tomorrow to get us out of the kitchen. Saturday is bowling, and then Sunday he has a tournament–the first that Grandma has gotten to see. That’s also our new pastor’s installation service in the afternoon and I think I’m ready to brave church again, even with my choke, er, cervical collar–I’ll sport my pretty purple paw-paw bling! Monday Bug is off for Presidents’ Day, so we have a bowling date planned with friends and I need to get a couple quick X-rays done to take with me to my appointment on Wednesday with the neurosurgeon, hoping to hear I’m allowed to live again…please!! So close I can almost taste it…freedom!!

 

Who knew I’d ever really want so desperately to get on hands and knees and scrub my house clean again? Two weeks watching dirt accumulate has been as stressful as living with this collar strangling my neck. When did I become such a clean freak?? I need to get the house presentable for showing again, my realtor as anxious as I am to get things moving once more. The time is coming and I can feel it…Almost there…almost there….

What I Miss Most

Freedom and privacy. You don’t realize how much you take simple freedoms for granted until you no longer have the ability to go and do whatever you want, whenever you want. I’m not allowed to drive for at least another week. I’m not allowed to clean my own house. Never in a million years would I have thought that would bother me, but it is driving me insane this week! Watching dog hair and water spots accumulate and I can’t do anything about it…I have surrendered my laundry to another woman who doesn’t fold the way I do and she keeps putting my pants in the dryer even after I told her not to. I can’t just pop in my car and zip over to Walmart or run to the mall, swing by Sheetz for a quick cup of coffee…I want my house and my life back.

 

And all of my life is under her scrutiny. Everything I eat. Everything I watch on TV. Every piece of clothes I wear. Every text I get. Everything I do wrong with Michael. And I have to hear about it. Or I hear her telling others about it on the phone when her friends from Florida call, or my uncle who she talks to daily. As if my life is her business to share. It’s pushing me to the very edge.

 

Tucker wanted to wake everyone up at five-thirty this morning, growling victorious at the baby gate with chewies crammed in his mouth. I whisked him outside with Ruby and sent the people back to bed. This is my time–my peace. I can’t run away but I’m trying not to scream. I’m praying for patience to make it through another week…

Me and Nebuchadnezzar

It’s hard having my mother here while I’m recuperating from surgery. Growing up, I was a rebellious child and couldn’t wait to get out on my own. Now here I am at forty-four, being chased after and chastized again, only in my own home this time-humiliating and frustrating.

 

My temper has been on a low simmer since the surgery. First of all, angry that something was actually wrong with me that I had to allow another human being to cut me open and ‘fix’ that problem. Then, angrier that I wouldn’t be able to run or work out, not just for a few days, they’re talking a few months! Physical exercise is my therapy, it’s how I cope and burn off stress. The low simmer started getting a little warmer. Putting the pot on a full boil came when I had to accept having my mother come stay with me and look after my house and my child while I myself had been deemed incapable.

 

I like being an independent person. As much as I’m not crazy about my husband being some six hundred miles away starting a new career while Michael and I stay behind waiting for the house to sell, I know it’s a situation we can manage. We’ve done it before and survived quite well, and I knew we’d make it through this time, too. Then came the tremors and everything changed…

 

I’m reading Daniel right now. This morning’s chapter was about King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the beautiful life giving tree being chopped down and stripped, the stump chained and left alone in a field of grass. God wanted Nebuchadnezzar to acknowledge all that he had, his kingdom, his wealth, and his success had not been obtained on his own, but rather all had come from the hand of God. He wanted Nebuchadnezzar to swallow some of his pride and give proper credit and praise for all that he had been given. So God took away his kingdom, stripped him of all his power and wealth and left him to live on his own, wild, eating grass like an animal, until Nebuchadnezzar finally acknowledged God’s graciousness and repented of his pride.

 

I’m feeling a little like Nebuchadnezzar this morning. All the time I thought I had the strength on my own to see Michael and I through this move. You know, that ‘Been there, done that’ attitude? It certainly feels like I’ve been chopped down like that tree and stripped of all my strength, in an attempt to make me see that I cannot do all of this on my own. It is God who gives me my strength, patience, and endurance. It is God who holds together my marriage separated by so many distant miles, binding my heart to my husband’s when we’re not even able to hold each other’s hands. It is in God’s perfect timing that He will send us a buyer and provide us the means to pack up our belongings and move on to our new lives. And it is God who will heal me and restore my strength again, when He is ready.

 

And it is God who humbles me and allows me to let my mother take care of me while I’m not able to do so myself.

Where Do We Go From Here?

The house is a wreck. I’ve been running here, there, and everywhere this week having some test or other done, and I’ve managed to keep up with most of the cleaning. But it’s been damp out and the dogs have tracked in quite a bit of mud. So it looks dirty. And my mother is coming. To my muddy, dog hair covered house. I’ll have to run the vacuum this weekend and whip out my Swiffer and take a coating of dust off the shiny things, swap out sheets, and wash comforters when I figure out who’s sleeping where and when…

 

Sweet Pea is going to be my problem the next couple of weeks. She is a brat. Okay, I’ve made her into a brat by spoiling her rotten and catering to her every need and whimsy these past five years, never thinking it would turn around and bite me in the butt…but bite me it is…

 

Our morning routine when I wake up, the dogs all get up, let them out for pee ventures in the dark while I get the coffee brewing and organize my morning goodies: laptop, Bible, journal, coffee. Let the dogs back in, issue treats, vitamins, and chewies, and they all typically chomp away on their nummies in the livingroom before finding their way back to bed until the other folks in the house wake up several hours later. Ruby tucks her great white head back under my bed. Tuck is content either on the couch or he’ll jump up on my bed, toss around the pillows and rearrange the blankets, possibly bury a chewie while he’s in there for safe keeping. Pea, however demands assistance to be put back up in bed. She can quite easily jump on the futon in the office by herself, or on the couch or loveseat as well. Even so, knowing I am awake and available, she will park herself in the hallway, facing whichever room holds the bed she wants to sleep on, stomp her fat, bow-legged Basset paws, and whine until I come whisk her up and put her back to bed. No one else is allowed to touch her. She even runs from Bill when he’s tried to help. Nope–Mama’s job.

 

After my surgery on Monday, I won’t be allowed to lift anything heavier than five or ten pounds, including a certain spoiled brat Basset…I can just imagine how well this is going to go over! I can’t have her stomping her paw paws in the hall, waking up Grandma with her tantrums–I may just have to quarantine her to the livingroom where she’ll have to content herself with the couch or loveseat for my time of incapacitation. The poor thing…how will she survive??

 

Hanging On

I want to say I’m not scared of today’s appointment. I want to be bold and proclaim I know God’s got my back. Not that I think for a second that He doesn’t, but there’s, if I’m really honest, that small part in my heart that asks if He did, why I am going through this? I’m human…I was a spoiled Daddy’s girl growing up. And I am a spoiled wife by a loving, wonderful husband. But I have this precious little boy sleeping in the other room that is my life blood to love and protect from all harm and worry and I don’t know what darkness waits for the two of us on the other side of this appointment today. I kinda hoped God would simply carry us easily, peacefully, through this move…I certainly didn’t expect to bottom out upside down in this chasm along the way…

 

Maybe I’m being melodramatic, putting the panic cart ahead of the horse. But I don’t know of any other circumstance, if there was nothing to be worried about, that they’d cram an appointment in between the surgeries of a neurosurgeon. Surgery days are for surgery. If it was nothing to worry about, my appointment could wait until he had office hours. Maybe cram me in between a couple other patients, but between surgeries? Come on–that’s not normal.

 

Of course they won’t tell you anything over the phone. Rushed in prescriptions that I had to start immediately. Then we have to swing by the hospital to pick up my films from the MRI and the report from the EEG, head to my doctor’s office and get those records to bring along–I thought they faxed all this stuff or could send it over the computer?? When did patients become messenger services??

 

I am thankful they’ve postponed my TEE this morning so I can at least have my coffee and breakfast rather than starve and suffer through another caffeine deprived headache, and that I won’t have anything slipped down my throat–today, anyway. I am VERY, very thankful for my friend, Missy, and my uncle who have graciously made time to take me to all these appointments and all my friends who are ushering words of encouragement and praying over me–I definitely couldn’t do all of this without you guys!!

 

I found this quote from Stormie Omartian’s Just Enough Light for the Step I’m On:

“As you take one step at a time, holding God’s hand and letting Him lead, He  will get you where you need to go.”

So, I’m taking one step at a time today…that’s all I can do. And I’ll let Him get me there, through His infinite grace and mercy. And I can still be scared….aren’t we all scared of something? Just gotta keep hanging on…