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Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Road Less Traveled

After I wrote the last post, I felt a little of my bruising start to heal.

Words are cathartic for me. Expressing my feelings openly and honestly has always helped me through tough times. Although, there have been plenty of moments when I've not known how to channel my feelings properly.

Sometimes I'm like a volcano -- everything just spills out and makes a mess.

Some people cry. Some get depressed. Some ignore the problem altogether.

I get mad.

As I've gotten older, I understand better what my anger means. I understand that it's ok to feel that way, because it's just how I manifest my emotions.

But, I try deal with it in more productive ways. Like writing.

Sure, I still have a thermonuclear meltdown every now and then, but they are few and far between.

The exception being this past month. In the last four weeks, I've had temper tantrums that put Miss Elle's to shame.

She'll watch me with those wide eyes, and you can just tell she's thinking, "So THAT'S how it's done."

No sweetie, it's not. Mommy has been a bad, BAD example.

Mommy is not 3-years old. Mommy should not act like it.

Lord, sometimes I wish I was. But, no. I'm an adult and I have all of this responsibility, so that type of behavior isn't exactly sustainable.

Anyway, I spent the first few weeks here being very angry. Mad. Fighting. Talking about how unfair it all is.

But, I'm hoping I put most of that behind me. I know I'll still have my moments. I don't think you can go through something like this and not have incredibly deep emotion over it. But, I'm trying to focus my energy on what's important instead.

Patrick said something that I found to be incredibly poignant. He very kindly said to me, "If you keep focusing on the past and all that we left behind, then you'll be unable to focus on the present and all that is ahead. We have to get our son well. That is all that matters. We are still a family. We are still us. We are in this together and it doesn't matter where we are. We have a job to do it, and we can't do it without you."

Well, damn. I knew I kept him around for something. Pretty sure it's because he always keeps me in line.

So, excuse me for being a jerk. Diapers off, big girl panties on. Let's do this thing.

And here we are, Day 27.

I can't believe it's only been 27 days. It seems like a lifetime.

Tomorrow will mark the one year anniversary of Reid's open heart surgery.

I keep thinking about that day for several reasons. Mainly, because I am just so proud of my little boy and how strong he is. I wanted to have a big party on Friday night for him.

(There's always next year, right?)

But, I also keep thinking about perception and change. That's a huge theme on this blog, because that's a huge theme in my life.

Last year on this exact date, I was crippled by the idea that my 10-week old was about to have such a major operation. And that after the surgery was complete, we'd still have to tackle the Down syndrome piece.

And tackle it, we did. We knocked down all of those obstacles and kept cruising.

I honestly thought I had a my life figured out. I experienced some incredible things and learned some amazing life lessons.

Well.

I guess I had more lessons to learn.

Cause we met another roadblock on our journey.

And, I'm trying really hard to understand it all. To figure out what it is that God wants me to do in this situation.

Maybe I didn't listen hard enough last time?

Maybe I got too confident? Too comfortable with my new perspective?

Maybe I didn't get the right message?

I don't know.

And I want to know. I want so desperately to understand what this is about.

What am I missing here? What is it that I need to do?

I want to do the right thing. I want to make a difference. I want to be there for my son. I want to continue to change for the better.

I don't want to mess this up. I don't want to stall out from fear or anger.

So here's what I've come up with so far.

I don't need to know everything. I don't have to understand. I may never know what this is all about.

And that's ok.

I don't have to know the reason behind something in order to do the right thing and make a difference.

I don't have to have all of the answers all of the time. I just have to take it all in and let the lessons flow. Allow the people that I meet along this journey to make a difference in my life. I need to be still and let others teach me for once, instead of always being the one trying to teach.

When you walk the halls of St. Jude, you see some things that you can't unsee.

Very, very sick children. Tired, worn-down parents. Tears. Vomiting. Scars. Bald heads. Pale faces.

Smiles.

Love. Happiness. Joy.

It's all there. Sometimes you have to look past the masks and the beanie hats to see it. But it's there.

When you have a sick child, you realize that every day is a gift. That all of the stuff that you were worried about before doesn't matter anymore.

Your perspective is so completely different, because you are experiencing a very real fear. This isn't a cold. This isn't teething. This is life or death.

And there is always the unspoken pain. What if my child doesn't survive?

No one talks about that, because that's not an option. It's unfathomable. You have to put your head down and you have to push through and you have to fight.

You can't get bogged down in the what-ifs.

People always tell me I'm so strong. And that's nice. But, I'm no stronger than any other parent going through this.

People wonder how we do it.

And the answer is, you just do. It's your child. You'll do anything. Not to sound like a Nike ad, but you freaking JUST DO IT.

I learned that last year when we went on our roller coaster ride.

Maybe God does give his biggest battles to his strongest soldiers. I'm told cliches like that all the time.

But, I don't know.

I think it's more about the love that a parent has for a child. And the fact that you will do anything.

ANYTHING to take care of your babies.

I didn't know what we were in for when I became pregnant with Reid. If you would have told me my life would turn out this way, I wouldn't have believed you.

I would never have believed that it was possible to endure so much.

Reid may not be the boy that I envisioned when he was brand-new in my belly. This life may be different than the one I daydreamed about in years past.

But, I wouldn't change it. Because it is SO much more than what I imagined.

Reid is my teacher.

He is everything I want to be.

He is everything that anyone could hope to be.

He has been here a mere four weeks, and the nurses already fight over who is going to take care of him.

He will vomit because he is sick from chemo and then clap.

He will cuddle the very person that just stuck him with a needle.

He will spend his uncomfortable, sleepless nights babbling and practicing his Downward Dog.

He will refuse to eat but attempt to play.

He will wake up from anesthesia with a smile.

That doesn't mean that he likes any of this. Far from it. He gets frustrated. He cries and yells and screams. He gets mad. He gets angry. (Lord knows he comes by it naturally.)

He hurts.

But he lives his life day to day.

And Every. Single. Day.

He forgives.

He takes what they throw at him and he hits it out of the park.

So. I look at him. And I look at all of the other kids going the same thing. And I know that there is nothing in the world for me to be angry over.

Because if anyone has the right to be angry, it's them.

But there they are. Everyday. Making a choice to be happy.

They are heading down this very long, very difficult road and they are facing each battle head-on. They know that these obstacles are just that. Roadblocks on an otherwise wonderful path.

Maybe it's the Road Less Traveled, but they get what most people don't: It's not the destination. It's how you navigate your journey that matters.

So, I'm going to try to navigate mine accordingly. I may crash and burn along the way. But if I follow Reid's lead, I know I'll make it to the finish line.







7 comments:

  1. Well put, m'lady. Keep up the good work and keep form-tackling those obstacles. You and Reid and Pat and Elle are gonna rock this like no one has every rocked it before. You already are! Love you! Ceej

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  2. Love this one. Love y'all.

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  3. Well you ARE so strong. Cliche or not!

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  4. Love y'all! Grab a cup of coffee, get to blogging and know how much you are loved! Today is about celebrating Reid's strong heart and strong will. #Reidstrong - Mon

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  5. Thanks for the update. All of you are on my mind tonight.
    Love,
    Caroline F

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  6. Absolutely loving the updates and the blogging. Love the pictures. Want to be there with ya'll. As I always say, you are such a great writer. I laugh. I cry....and I love it. Thinking of you all tonight and every night. Kiss and hug those sweet bebes for me. Hope to see ya'll soon.
    Love, BB.
    P.S. Love Reid's outfit with the gray peacoat and the blue gingham.. no wonder he is such a ladies man!!!

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