The other day something my sister said made me think about why we have spent so much time up at the hospital. As I’ve posted before, most nights when Mom is there one of us sleeps in her room. When Mom is just coming out of surgery she needs someone there to give her ice chips, help her get comfortable in bed, and to keep track of all the information the nurses and doctors are giving her while she is semiconscious. Also, since she has had four abdominal surgeries, she needs help doing things like lifting her legs back into bed for the first few days.
I’ve written before about how sweet this time has been and I am so glad we have been there but I have just been thinking about how we decided that this would be our routine during this time. While pondering that I remembered the feeling I had when I heard that Mom had ovarian cancer and would be having surgery the week that school started and one week after we moved into a new house. I felt so utterly overwhelmed and afraid that ‘I DO NOT HAVE WHAT IT TAKES’ to do this well. For a couple of hours panic took turns with denial thoughts like ‘it won’t be that bad’ and ‘I can do this’ but I was really scared.
Then my sister called.
That sentence deserves its own paragraph. She called and said “how are WE going to do this?” My sisters live fourteen hours away. It hadn’t really crossed my mind that I would be able to truly share this load with them in any way other than occasional weekend visits and lots of phone calls and emotional support. But one of my sisters is a ‘stay at home minnie’ and she has left her life for weeks at a time to come help Mom and Dad – and therefore to help me. The other sister has taken time off from work to come give us a break when she could. Together we have made it through a very difficult year.
Mom has one more surgery, Lord willing, and this one will be small compared to the other four. I wouldn’t trade the time I have had with her for all of the gold in the world. And the reason I have had that time is that my sister called. She wouldn’t let me do this by myself and I wouldn’t let her sacrifice so much to help me without giving my all in return. Because of that we can finish this year of hospital visits with a sense of having done well and having been pleasing in God’s sight. Without her, I couldn’t have dared to give this much. Together we have climbed a difficult mountain and as I look out over the view, I feel peace and gratitude for the sister who said “we”.
This is my baby girl. I show you this stunning photo because of the one I’m about to show you. You see, she turned 16 two weeks ago and was slightly excited. If you read my last post you are aware that being excited is not conducive to photogeneity (haha! I think I just made up a word!) in our family.
Two weeks ago yesterday, my daughter woke up and was asked to go get something from my van in the garage. When she got there, this is what she found:
And she was pretty excited.
It is a 1987 VW Cabriolet convertible named Daisy. What? Your kids don’t name their cars? She (the car) is a little cantakerous about how you start her and since Micayla is used to driving a new minivan that’s been a little bit of an issue. But Micayla is in love and Daisy has taken my daughter away from me. I knew it would happen. The nice thing is that since she is so old, she will spend some time in the shop and I will get to have that quality time with my girl again every once in a while. Sigh.
First you go to pioneerwoman.com and look at the sites she loves. Then you start going to those sites. Start with Aiming Low where you will read a discussion of making eggs in the microwave. Yawn, but somewhat fun to read. At that site you can also click on an ad for Mabel’s Labels and consider spending $50 on labels for everything your kids have ever lost at friends’ houses. Then you realize that your kids are not kids any more and probably would neither put the labels on their stuff nor allow you to do so.
Go back to the aim lower blog and read some comments, which will lead you to a blog post that is entitled (excuse me but it’s just what it’s called. I didn’t name it. I just read it. And posted it on my blog.) “the suckiest suck that ever sucked” because you just have to read about the suckiest suck that ever sucked. There you will find that your life was very easy last week even though your mom went into the hospital for unrelenting vomiting that led to emergency surgery that now has everyone waiting on pins and needles for her digestive system to come back on-line. But even that week was not the suckiest suck that ever sucked and the Domestic Goddess may actually have won the prize for that with the events that inspired her blog.
Hit back on your browser and you will come to Boo Mama where she will link to Conversion Diary and a great blog about autonomy not being all it’s cracked up to be. This will lead you to “do you want more children?” which might lead you to a great article by Chuck Colson that you might also post on your facebook. Then you can go back to the conversion diary and consider the “openness to life” viewpoint and grieve a little (again) that you and your husband so quickly got the “snip-snip” when your second was a baby without fully considering whether or not you wanted to be finished having children.
Then, you write a little about the whole experience on your blog, wish you knew how to do those neat little links that don’t have all the punctuation garbage in them (which I discovered and fixed!), and tie it off and move on so you can get your to do list done for the day.
Today started with a trip to my mom’s fabric store – the one in the closet of her sewing room. I found some great fabrics that I took with me but I didn’t end up using them in my finished project. I just couldn’t find anything at the (slightly) larger fabric store that went with it. I’m joking, Mom does have a lot of fabric, but not THAT much. It was nice to see Mom and Dad though. While I was there Dad and I moved the gardening workbench that he made for Mom from the basement to the deck. It is amazing! I come from a long line of creators.
Here is what I created today:
It’s a roll up crochet and knitting needle holder. I found the pattern and instructions at Made by Loulabelle. This is what it looks like rolled up:
I have a habit of telling people what is wrong with the things I cook. It drives my husband crazy but I am actually just thinking outloud about how I will make it better next time – a habit he has benifited from during 20 years of improvements. So here is what I will do differently on my next needle holder. First, I will use one of the patterned fabrics on the outside rather than using the plain fabric. I think it would be prettier and it would also make the top of the inside look more polished if it matched the outside. Second, I will put a buttoned top on one of the pockets to hold small items. I don’t think they will fall out because it is wrapped pretty tightly but I would just feel more secure with a buttoned top. And security matters.
I bought some fabric to make another one but I think I have decided that I don’t really like it as much as the fabric I used for this one so I’m heading back to Hancock’s tomorrow. I may make the next one a joint venture and send the fabric to my sister for mongramming. That would be fun! A cross country sewing project!
In honor of PW’s recent haiku contest and because I still haven’t found my camera cord, I offer this ode to my dog:
“Charlie is my dog
He is a white fluffy mess
Of love and kisses”
I don’t think it’s officially a haiku since it doesn’t reference anything in nature, unless you consider Charlie to be something in nature. And no, I didn’t name him after PW’s dog. I didn’t know about her when I met him. Here’s a picture of him on our first day together. Isn’t he the cutest thing ever?!
And this is what he looks like most of the time – especially when he wants me to play with him instead of working on progress notes.
I admit that I am a little bit obsessed with this dog. I do try not to dress him, although I did buy a sweater for him on clearance at Walmart and haven’t been able to make myself return it. And a frog costume for Halloween. And I’ve thought about crocheting something for him. Hey, I’m just being honest here. He’s never actually worn any of them though because – well, honestly because he doesn’t like them. I know. It’s ridiculous.
Well, I just thought I’d share The Cuteness with you. You are welcome. Feel loved.
Due to some insight into secret keeping from my husband a certain blog entry has been removed.
I just thought you should know.
It’s Thanksgiving! Our tummies are full and the first load of dishes is in the washer. More family will be here soon for the leftovers meal and the BIG GAME! And I have time to update my blog.
The big news today was that Mom was able to come to Thanksgiving! She has had a rough month. The chemo treatments have been hard on her. The stories we hear about people working full-time during their chemo worry us a little because she DEFINITELY COULD NOT work right now. She is exhausted. Her blood counts have been seriously low and she just feels cruddy most of the time. We had been concerned about whether or not she could come to dinner because her white count was down too low to be around people. Her platelets and hemoglobin were also really low so she had a transfusion two days ago and we were waiting on a call during the meal to know whether or not she had to go inpatient for a platelet transfusion. Thank the Lord she was able to be with us and didn’t have to go into the hospital today. She will have another blood test tomorrow but it looks like her numbers are coming back up. The doctor said they will decrease her meds some for the next chemo treatment because apparently, although this was the normal dosage for her weight, it was too much for her.
The reason it’s been so long since I posted is that I have tried to return to my normal work schedule. Dad has been such a blessing and a wonderful caregiver for Mom. It’s what she was “thankful for” during our meal today and I am truly grateful as well. My dad has always been a great man – an Air Force pilot, a leader in every church we attended even though we moved every two years, a college professor and dean, my husband’s mentor and my son’s hero. Now he is showing us all how a man loves his wife “in sickness and in health”. As their daughter, I have been given a gift that I must attempt to repay – both to them and to the Lord.
I have been sick A LOT this month. Nothing ever really serious but some fever and just crud that keeps me from being able to see Mom. It’s been pretty frustrating. And why have I been sick, you ask? Ummm, let’s just call it stress. I started taking vitamins today and I am trying very hard to remember that everything I say “yes” to that I really want to say “no” to requires me to say “no” to something I really want to say “yes” to. Did that make any sense? Read it again if you need to. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
I think the most important lesson I’m trying to learn right now is to say “no” to people. Especially people I love. We have had two divorces in our family this year and they have resulted in some really serious needs that we want to meet but can’t always. It is really hard for us to see someone we love in a hard situation and not try to help. It is definitely our first inclination. But we are learning that if we use all of our resources helping in “emergencies” we will miss out on the things that are truly our responsibilities and the things that bring us joy. Wade and I are just trying to be led by the Holy Spirit and keep our priorities straight. Not easy.
SO . . . today I am truly thankful for another day with my Mom and Dad. I’m thankful for a husband who is my partner in this life. I’m thankful for a job that brings me satisfaction as well as income. I’m thankful for two teenagers who are growing in grace. I’m thankful for little doggies that cleaned up my meal prep mess from the floor as I was cooking. And I’m thankful for quiet moments in between family times. Life is good. God is better.