I sat in a waiting room today. I sat there with my oldest as he tried to chew up a blue gumball.
He hasn’t ever had one before and actually asked me how to eat it.
Of course, the thing was so big that it was hard for him to chew it. I encouraged him to just keep chewing it and eventually it would get easier. Soon a middle-aged couple and their teenage daughter came and sat across from us and my Son’s blue lips caught the Mother’s attention.
She stared at him.
Her face didn’t really change much as she looked him up and down, but my Boy noticed and suddenly his gumball wasn’t worth the effort anymore.
I managed to keep the Mama Bear instinct under control and chose to ignore this woman’s stares. Her daughter looked like she could possibly be having the worst day of her life and I imagined that maybe this woman saw something in my little boy chewing his gum…
…memories of happier, easier days?
Ok, to be honest…I didn’t think of that until the waiting room was long behind us. In the moment, I was irritated. My Boy is normally happy to be the center of attention. He has no issues carrying on conversations or telling stories or showing off his strong muscles to anyone who might pay attention for a minute or two.
But just then, as his eyes met hers, I saw a side of my Boy I have never seen before.
In that moment, I was introduced to a part of him that maybe never really existed until today…and my mind froze. My initial response to the sudden anxiety that stole the joy from his eyes was to smile and grab a tissue and be silly…so I went with that. I stood in front of him and quietly encouraged him to just spit out the gum into my hand. I giggled over the shade of blue and reminded him again and again that everything was ok until he was giggling with me.
I helped him clean up his face and his hands and then I sat next to him again.
His eyes immediately sought out hers. He looked to this woman who had finally directed her attention elsewhere and a bit of relief came over him. He looked up at me and I saw my child again. I put my arm around him and he quickly found entertainment in a new Magic Trick that he had just invented, right that minute.
I didn’t look to that woman again. I kept my attention on my Boy.
I did my best to be calm and steady and sure, because ONE of us needed to…
This weekend was a mess. Before I found myself sitting in a waiting room with Aden, I had already cried too many tears, complained a few too many times and worried some really kind people. I didn’t sleep enough, I experienced a few life-changing moments on the bathroom floor as pregnancy horrors took hold of an ENTIRE embarrassing, disgusting chapter of my life story.
I’m fine. Baby is fine. Everyone is fine.
I mean, I WILL be fine as soon as I figure out how to eternally block these moments from my memories…
#pregnancyisgross #imscarred #youreallyjustdontwannaknow
Anyway, my husband was at work (( because he works the night shift, remember? )) and my younger two little Loves stood at the bathroom door, more confused than concerned by what they were witnessing.
It was well into the wee hours of the morning.
I had been sharing a bed with my 3 year old and almost 2 year old.
#donteverdothat #theyaresoviolent #samuraisleepers
After cleaning up from whatever it was that happened in those moments, I tucked my kids back into my bed and I quietly prayed for sleep from my few inches of mattress space. The Terrors fell asleep fairly quickly and I must have, too. Before I knew it, and LONG before I ever could have been ready, a sharp pain in my side jolted me awake.
A jab from the Baby or the Toddler I’m really not sure.
At that point, my cat had come into the room and stood above my Girl’s head. Of course, he MEOWED his meow of DEATH that comes when he has slept for more than 3 hours at a time and has woken up only to realize that he is practically starving.
His whining and moaning successfully woke up my tiny sleepers before I grabbed him up and whispered threats of ACTUAL DEATH into his fat, furry face as I furiously stomped down the stairs and TOSSED HIM TO THE FRONT PORCH.
(( …he eats a lot, ok? And I didn’t really toss him so much as I CHUCKED him out into the cold, rainy Monday morning… ))
*** OK, people. The cat is fine. I threaten death upon him so often that he probably has come to understand it as a term of endearment. THAT HAS to be the case because more often than not, I find that his favorite place to sleep and purr and spread his ridiculous amounts of orange hairs is ON or NEAR my face. Maxwell is a very loved but also very annoying FAT, WELL-FED, OPINIONATED little SHIT of a cat. So…moving on…***
I walked back into my room to a couple of happy, shiny, tiny morning people smiling EAR TO EAR as they so very loudly asked for all the food there ever was. I ignored them and laid back down into my spacious corner of the bed and I zoned out while catching up on the latest of the fail videos of my favorite “make-fun-of-everyone-but-yourself” site. As I did, my kids began to wrestle and tickle and fart all over the bed…until…FINALLY, my husband walked through the door.
And like a knight in some kind of kid-crap-deflecting-armor, he set a cup of ginger ale beside me, swept up the little devils jumping on our bed and he whisked them away from me.
So, anyway, the weekend was rough and my transition into Monday wasn’t much better. I mean, that night was definitely uglier but not quite as expensive. Over the weekend the alternator and battery for my car BOTH jumped ship and called it quits on life. I’m thankful, because we were able to pay for it. BUT I’m sad and bitter towards my car and it’s incredibly poor timing.
I spent a lot of time messaging one of my people, whining about my life and my current state of despair. I cried a lot, which I’ve learned means I’m smarter than you (( if you don’t cry often…sorry, but…the internet said so. )) I spent too much time yelling at my kids, especially my 3 year old. I got sarcastic and snappy and grouchy and I puked a few times and I cried some more and I begged my husband not to go into work because I was sure I was going to die.
I’m not pleasant when I don’t sleep.
Actually, I’m not pleasant when I’m pregnant.
Which means I’m a very lucky woman to have a husband who puts up with me.
But it also means that he is a very lucky man to have a woman who willingly gives him beautiful, giant-headed, smarty-pants, sarcastic little children to smother him in Daddy Adoration every minute of his life.
Over the past few days, little things piled up until they felt like an avalanche of big things.
Like when I sat down to change my toddler and my pants found a sticky, squirty, stale blob of syrup to cling to.
Or when I finally sat down to drink my coffee and finish an article I had been dying to read only to be interrupted by murderous, monkey screams as my oldest drags his sister by her ankles from one bedroom to another in an effort to HELP me keep her in bed.
(( I do not condone OR encourage this behavior… ))
Or when my cat barfed all of the cat food he had just eaten BACK ON TOP of the mound of cat food he hadn’t stuffed into his gut quite yet…and then he MEOWED the death meow until I cleaned off the regurgitated meal off of the rest of his meal.
Or when I grabbed my glass of water and took a ginormous drink only to realize that one of my kids had emptied an entire tube of chap-stick into my cup and that I had just swallowed a disgusting amount of the minty wax.
(( Now that I’ve started, I really could just go on and on and on…but nobody needs that. ))
And then, the avalanche was triggered by the echo of a moment I may never forget.
The moment when my Boy sat on the couch with tears in his eyes.
That moment when I realized that a few weeks of ignoring his random comments about a pain in his back had led up to me finally hearing the very real concern through his shaky voice. And then the moment when I confirmed his appointment after hearing the same, very real concern in the voice of his nurse on the other end of the phone.
I took him in to his pediatrician with only an idea of what might be going on.
Spine stuff is scary and I tend to worry-search the internet in moments of crisis. I knew that anything related to the symptoms he had would lead me directly to the worst of the worst that WebMD has to offer…so I chose not to bother this time. Instead, I just waited. And I napped, thanks to my husband who got out of bed so that I could crawl in.
Now…skip ahead (( or back? )) to that other moment up above where I was working on being steady and calm and sure. Bear with me as I fast forward through the clothing changes and the nurses and X-ray techs. Hum past the moment when I was asked to leave my 6 year old in the room with the giant camera, standing there in his little blue hospital gown. Hurry by the quiet tears I shed as I stood outside of the windowless room, listening as the women encouraged my son while he stumbled through their instructions.
Eventually he was dressed again and we were allowed to go home.
I updated friends and family through phone calls, texts and Facebook posts. We made it home and my phone rang as I sat in the driveway and my Boy ran inside to show off his sticker. While we are in quick mode, let’s just skip through the rest of the evening, too.
There were no fractures. He needs lab work. I need to schedule an MRI.
They said scary words like, “Tumor” and “Disease” and “Growth”.
They told me not to worry.
My husband put the kids to bed while I stood in the shower until all of the hot water had turned cold. He came in and handed me towels and made sure I wasn’t losing my mind. I ate something, drank something, took my usual pills and I got into bed.
And I finally allowed myself to just…breathe.
I sat here, in my quiet room in my big, empty bed and I thought about my kids and my family and my pregnancy. I thought about that woman in the waiting room and about the glimpse of my predictable Boy becoming an independent individual, complete with unique fears and anxieties. I realized that sooner than I’d like to admit, my sweet, innocent Aden will experience life without me by his side more often than not.
Sooner than I’d like, he’ll be staring into the eyes of a pain filled world…
…and I may not be there to show him calm, steady and sure.
I don’t know what is going on with my Boy’s back, I’ve come up with a response I’ll most likely give to everyone who asks…
“It’s most likely growing pains. Very expensive growing pains.”
I get uncomfortable when people worry about me. I get protective when people worry about my kids. I get busy when I begin to worry. I make people uncomfortable when I worry.
So, I don’t worry.
Not out loud, anyway.
I try out a few light-hearted sentences in response to concerned friends and family and then I stick with the one that works. I repeat the one that best eases the tension and the questions and the fear.
And then I do my best to remind myself that this probably IS growing pains and that I really should be seeking the lesson here, instead of worrying about the future. And that’s where I’m at right now (( under very FIRM direction to stay FAR away from Google…and WebMD… ))
Last night, I was drowning in self pity. This morning I was cranky and wishing for a nanny, cursing the day I decided being a Mom would be fun.
And in a single moment, I watched as my healthy, happy Boy stepped a little too far from my protective reach. I stood helplessly as the world pulled him just a little farther from my arms. I was introduced to the reality that with every day that passes, my Boy becomes a little less mine and a little more of God’s. He finds a little more independence and a little less comfort underneath my wings.
And, in a single moment, I imagined my world without my Boy.
…in that one moment, where my heart experienced JUST THE THOUGHT of the void that this little boy would leave in my life, IN THIS WORLD…
…I could barely handle it.
I really don’t know what kind of lesson I have to share with you. I have been thinking of so many…like…
“Savor the moments” or “Appreciate the small things”
(( And plenty of other neutral, generic things you might find in a Hallmark card… ))
But the only real thing that my heart can’t help but cling to is something so simple, so calm, so steady and sure.
It’s what we hear so often…but we so rarely get to experience what our lives would be like without it that it’s just so easy to not truly appreciate the weight behind the words.
It’s silly, almost laughable sometimes.
As a Mom, it seems unthinkable to me to live ANY of my days without it.
But it happens…and sometimes – like today – scary, unthinkable things have to shake us out of the monotony of routine, out of the repetitive motions of our lives to remind us of even the most simple, basic parts of our lives…
…to just LOVE.