Tag Archives: faith

First Leg of the Journey-Big Prayers for Big Kevin (Update)

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First Leg of the Journey-Big Prayers for Big Kevin (Update)

Greetings from the Lone Star State!  The Cancer Crusade left St. Louis on Thursday and arrived safely in Houston.  Friday was a long day for the patient (and his entourage) with a busy schedule of registrations and more testing.  Although Kevin had a lot of tests kev2leading up to his diagnosis, MD Anderson does all their own testing.  It is obvious that these folks are the experts and we were anxious to get the process going.  Kevin had another biopsy, which is currently being analyzed by their pathologist.  He also had more labs drawn and then a marathon MRI.

Friday he was also seen by his main doctor, Dr. Shirley Su, who is not only adorable, but brilliant and one of the few experts in the bitch-ass trespassing type of cancer that has called squatter’s rights and established residency in Kevin’s sinus cavity.  If anyone can deport these illegal alien cells, I am confident it is her.  Bonus track—she is also from Australia and I LOVE to listen to her talk.  She is a small woman of Asian descent, but I fully expect her to slap him on the shoulder and say, “No worries, mate.  We will have you back to being just a big healthy bloke in no time.”

Her initial impression is that the cancer was caught in the early stages, but is waiting on the test results to confirm the grade and stage, which will determine the actual course of treatment.  She nearly guaranteed surgery (removing the tumor, drilling into the brain to make sure the little jackass cells haven’t migrated, and removing the healthy tissue or margins around the tumor), but the unknown is if it will also include radiation or chemo or both.   We had hoped that Kevin would be able to get the surgery completed during this trip, but unfortunately that isn’t going to happen.  Apparently, when people come from all over the world to seek cancer treatments, there is a high demand for the experts and Big Kevin requires two—Dr. Su and a neurosurgeon.  Despite what I think, Kevin is not the only patient here and there are some logistics involved (insert sassy wife eye-roll here).  He has to endure a couple more weeks of not being able to sleep or breathe.

So really the update is- there really is no update.  MD Anderson is an AMAZING place and there is no doubt we he is exactly in the right place.  Being here has dialed down my panic a few notches and I am a little more at peace with getting him better and keeping him that way!

The only thing more amazing than MD Anderson is the love, support, and generosity of ALL OF YOU!  For those of you who know me, you know that no matter what I am feeling or thinking there is little or no guesswork involved.  Kevin, on the other hand, is geared quite differently.  To say that he is laid back and even keeled is probably an understatement.  In fact, I have witnessed extreme displays of emotion (anger, sadness, etc.) maybe 10 times in the two-plus decades we have shared.  As the messages of hope, concern, encouragement and support have rolled in, it has hit our big guy in a BIG way.  More than once over the last few days he had to put his phone away, completely overwhelmed.  It is pretty hard to piss Kevin off, but it is even harder to make him cry and he probably won’t like me spilling the beans about his “leaking eyes”.  There is no way I can express what a positive impact the community rallying around Kevin (and his family) has had during a time like this, nor could I begin to convey how the display of love and support has left him in awe of “all the fuss” over him.  There are no words worthy enough to express our gratitude (I even used my thesaurus).

Kevin will resume his appointments with his doctors on Monday and hopefully we will soon learn what the treatment plan will be.  Thank you in advance for your continued prayers.  There is no denying that God is at work in a BIG WAY and personally, I am expecting Him to come through in a BIG way!  With that being said, those of you who send me text reminders of God’s promises and God’s love, please don’t stop.  It keeps the tendency for my prayers of gratitude and faith escalating into sassy and angry rants to a minimum.  Kevin is good and I remain a work in progress.

Big Prayers for Big Kevin

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Big Prayers for Big Kevin

There is a line from the John Wayne movie In Harm’s Way: “All battles are fought by scared men who’d rather be someplace else.”  It would seem that this statement can be applied to all sorts of situations, but it struck a chord with my heart.  Even though I am not a man and the battle on the horizon is not mine to fight, but I am utterly scared to death.

Nearly a year ago my husband, Kevin, had a seemingly routine sinus infection.  It was treated with the standard combination of antibiotics and steroids and it did get a little better.  Several weeks later, it flared up again and the treatment was repeated, but it never completely resolved.  Advil Cold and Sinus, Mucinex, Flonase were used relentlessly with little or no relief.   Eventually, he was having such difficulty sleeping due to the chronic congestion he returned to the doctor, which resulted in a failed sleep study and a referral to an ENT.  I would like to put it on the record that Kevin DOES NOT LIKE to go to the doctor, so he didn’t go to the ENT right away, he sniffled and blew and popped Advil Cold and Sinus for the sinus headaches.  The congestion had progressed to the point of him not being able to breath from the right side of his nose.  He was miserable and so he went.

I returned home from a business trip for my brand new job and Kevin reported to me that he had seen the ENT (who also happens to be our friend) and was sent for a CT scan. “A CT scan,” I had asked, “what does he think it is?  Polyps?”  Kevin told me, “He isn’t sure what it is, but he doesn’t think it is a polyp.”  So what does any wife do in this situation? Of course, I Googled. The results of my ill-advised Googling actually made me feel better.  I soon learned that the risk of having sinus cancer is extremely rare ( 1% of cancers are in the sinus cavity).  I have one message for Google, “Screw you, Google and your false sense of wellbeing.”

The results of the CT scan revealed a mass in right sinus cavity.  This was followed by a completely horrific MRI experience to rule out the erosion of the orbital bone and possible invasion of the brain.  Much to our immense relief, this was not the case.  The biopsy followed the next morning and after a brutal bloody retrieval, the tissue samples were sent off to pathology.  I had already hung my hat on the sound medical advice rendered by Google and was confident that the results would be benign.  So we settled in for the 2 or 3 days for the test to come back.

The results didn’t come.  I started getting a little nervous and started texting our friend the ENT, “Hey, it’s me, have you heard anything yet?”  After being told that the results were still not ready, my texts started to escalate from nervous to borderline hysterical.  My nurse brain started to bully my Google brain a little and my worry was compounded by further delays.  The biopsy was sent to a special ENT pathologist in Louisville and then more tissue slides were requested.  I tried to stay positive, but I knew in my heart the news was not going to be good.  Unfortunately, I was right.

Esthesioneuroblastoma, (aka olfactory neuroblastoma) was the official diagnosis.  Have you ever heard of it?  Well, if you have, then you are among a very small circle of either very smart or very unlucky people.  As it turns out, it is one of the rarest types of cancers on the planet.  Our big lovable Kevin had better odds of getting struck by lightning TWICE than developing this rare breed of cellular proliferation.  I made it from the doctor’s office to the truck before I fell apart and my fear engulfed me.  As we drove home, I looked over at Kevin through my tears and he sat quietly and bravely digesting the news.  Par for the course he prevailed as the logical bulwark in the face of crisis and I remained his never failing maniacal ball of hysteria spewing sidekick.

It is hard to conceive how truly blessed one is until you find yourself in the valley and are simultaneously lifted up in love, support and prayers by family and friends.  Holy kevandevcow!  We are extremely lucky.  But sharing the bad news with our kiddos and watching those sweet hearts break was almost more than I could stand.  Our two oldest, kevandrileyEvan and Riley had been kept fairly abreast of the unfolding situation, but it still didn’t soften the blow.  But Sophi is in Medical School in Kansas City, and we didn’t want to cause her any additional stress than she is already under. She came home and we were snuggling in bed with her late on the night of his diagnosis and while trying to be as positive as possible, Kevin told her he had cancer.  I have been witness to few things I kevandsopfound more excruciating than watching a kid who loves her daddy like Sophi loves Kevin crumble under the weight of something so heavy.

So, this blog post sucks big fat hairy buffalo balls. Personally, at this point, I was floundering and didn’t really know what to do.  My step-dad, Ron, found me hiding in the basement the day after his diagnosis, paralyzed by helplessness.  He asked me what I was doing and I told me that everything was going to be okay.  I promptly responded by bursting into tears and sobbing, “But he’s my best friend.”  It was then Ron took the wheel and I have never felt such relief in my life (Ron and I have a long history of struggles over the proverbial wheel, but I have never been so willing to give him the controls).  While I was hiding in the basement worrying about everything from possibly losing Kevin to affording treatment, he had researched hospitals, treatments, and specialist and was ready with a plan.

We will be leaving in a few days to travel to Houston, Texas to MD Anderson Cancer Center.  They are one of the few places in the country who have treated this type of cancer.  We are scared, but we are hopeful and ready to get him better.   I have teetered on being angry at God and now I am lying.  I have been really angry at God.  Kevin is a much better person than I am, he’s a wonderful husband, the greatest dad to our children and my very best buddy.  He lost both of his parents when they were much too young and he has endured a great deal.  Kevin isn’t one to share his feelings or express himself quite as demonstratively as I do, but I know he is scared, as are all men heading into battle.   A little over a year ago, I had a breast cancer scare that turned out not to be anything at all.  During that time, he assured me that everything was going to be fine.  However subdued, however subtle, this text exchange is just one example of how big he loves:

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Please keep him in your prayers.  We are expecting all kinds of miracles.

The Security Breach at Breakfast

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The Security Breach at Breakfast

There was a time not so long ago that the avoidance of national and world news by my sister, Kim, was viewed by me as bordering on irresponsible. I would ask her opinions on a crisis, mass murder, or natural disaster and she would respond with, “I have no idea what you are talking about and I don’t want to know. So, shut up.” Recently, I have started to envy her ability to close herself off from the world that seems to be unraveling. It seems to be open season on human beings killing one another has had me considering looking for real estate under one of the secluded rocks she likes to hide under. The world is a scary place.

One would think that with all the headlines screaming violence, I would be extra vigilant in protecting myself, my family, and my home from the volatile world. In many ways I am. I have educated myself on gun and personal safety and I have obtained my Conceal and Carry permit. I have purchased a firearm I am comfortable carrying, handling, and shooting. While traveling, I try to be aware of my surroundings and not put myself in vulnerable situations. But Sunday morning, when a homeless young man showed up on my porch asking for a drink of water, my heart overrode my brain and I invited him inside for breakfast.

He couldn’t have been more than 20 and he had a heavy pack and a long road ahead of him. It wasn’t just hot; it was MISSOURI sticky-sweaty-humid-as-hell hot. When I went outside and handed him a couple bottles of water he was very grateful and thankful for my offering and as I watched this kid turn back toward the highway, it never crossed my mind that this shaggy-haired tattooed kid with more than one piercing was a serial killer or an axe murder. All I saw was a kid who probably needed something in his belly and so I called after him, “Hey, are you hungry?”

After offering him a seat at the table, I made him a plate of biscuits and gravy, something to drink, salt and pepper, etc. His only request was a napkin which he placed in his lap. While he ate, I asked him where he was headed and if he had any family in the area. I didn’t want to pry. It was obvious this kid had a story, but it isn’t my story to tell. He ate. He said very little.

Things really got interesting when I went to the bedroom to give my husband, Kevin, a heads that I was feeding a wayward stranger breakfast. He was not overcome by the warm fuzzy feeling of helping out our fellow man. In fact, I believe the emotion I identified reflected in Kevin at that moment was: completely pissed off. We had a rare and heated exchange in whisper voices:

Kevin: What in the hell were you thinking?

Me: I don’t know. What was I supposed to do, let him starve?

Kevin: NOT invite him inside the house would be a reasonable thing to do.

Me: I had to invite him in so he could eat biscuits and gravy.

Kevin: You know better!!! I can’t believe you.

Me: ….

 

In all my arguments with Kevin I end up sounding like a toddler, especially when confined to whispers. It is hard to really sell a good point in ‘whisper voice’. Kevin went into full protector mode talking briefly with the young man and seeing him on his way, all the while keeping our .38 in his pocket. He made sure the kid made his way down the highway and proceeded with the following: Complete perimeter check, locked and secured all doors, reviewed the security modus operandi with the kids for locking cars and doors, emphasizing the point that someone had breached security protocol and so we were all going to have to be EXTRA vigilant for the next few weeks (followed by an accusing stare at me for my reckless behavior).

I went about my day justifying in my own mind what I failed to articulate to my husband. Later that afternoon, I asked if he was still angry at me for inviting a potential murderer, terrorist, puppy kicker inside for breakfast. He assured me he was not mad, but I had to promise not to do it again. I was compelled to try and justify my actions and I probably should have just made my promise and kept my mouth shut.

Me: Kevin, I traveled thousands of miles around the world to feed hungry children in Africa! Do you think I could just let a kid starve on my front porch?

Kevin: Of course not, you invite him in and feed him biscuits and gravy. We will see what a good idea it is when he comes back and kills us in our sleep and steals all our shit.

Me: …..heavy sigh.

Kevin is right the world is a scary place and I could have very well invited danger into our home. I appreciate his ability to protect us and keep us safe. I do hope that in some small fashion he finds a way to appreciate the innate flaw in me that allows my heart override my head in some situations. The truth is, I am so caught up in my own crazy life I neglect so many opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others. My focus has gotten so blurred that it has become easier to see only what I don’t have and I have become blind and complacent to the abundance of my blessings. I hear the news, read the headlines, and I become consumed by all the things that separate us. I needed a reminder of the one thing we have in common; at the end of the day, we are all just human beings.

heartPerhaps the good Lord sent that young man to my door to remind me that I need to look for opportunities to lift up others around me. Perhaps, it was God himself coming to the door as a scruffy homeless kid to see if I would give him a drink or turn him away. Truly If nothing else, I can rest easy knowing that had I been chopped up by the biscuit eating guest, I would probably go to heaven (the way I am quick to anger, cuss like a sailor, struggle with envy and pride and occasional slothfulness I need all the help I can get)….AND if it was God testing us, I fed him biscuits and gravy and Kevin covertly held a gun on him while he ate them (I am still winning). We make a great team– I can try and save the world and he can try to save me from the world…and myself…and coyotes….and spiders…and BigFoot… I think this text he sent me says it all:

murder

A Mother’s Day Wish List-Revised Edition

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A Mother’s Day Wish List-Revised Edition

As Mother’s Day approaches, I have been making a gift guide for my sweet children to utilize, in the event they want to borrow money from their father and purchase me a little sumthin’-sumthin’.   The following is the first edition of my Mother’s Day Wish List:

  1. Fitbit Fitness Band (in black)finch
  2. Converse Monochrome shoes-Size 8.5night vision googles
  3. Atticus Finch T-Shirt and the Preorder purchase of Harper Lee’s Novel Go Set a Watchman, to be released in July (the T-shirt will keep me happy until the book release).
  4. Yukon Night Vision Tracking Binoculars
  5. Conceal and Carry Compression Tank (in black)
  6. A very tiny monkey.

After reflecting on the likelihood of my Mother’s Day wish list ever coming to fruition, I decided to make some revisions. As I attempted to whittle the list down and refine the focus to practical customary wishes, it was apparent the list, while authentic, was not representative of the true spirit of Mother’s Day. I dug a little deeper and explored what my true wishes were for Mother’s Day. The following is the compilation of my revisions:

  1. For my oldest daughter, Riley, I hold these wishes for you. I wish you could embrace the amazing young woman you are and hold tight to the beauty of your soul. Each morning, when you wake and you look at your reflection in your mirror, I wish you no longer sought out your perceived imperfections, but instead focus on the gifts God has given you. My hope is that with each passing day, you will learn to love yourself. The many ways you guard you heart serves you well, when done so for the right reasons. Hearts are made to be broken and human beings rarely escape a life without some degree of heartbreak. A heart that has been broken beats on, but a life without love is just a beating heart. May you always know how much of love being your mom.                            Addendum: I wish you would someday in the future reconsider your decision to opt out of motherhood. I cannot be a Nana to a batch of rescued cats.
  2. For my son, Evan, these wishes are for you. Looking back on the long journey that has brought you to this moment, I wish you to know how very proud I am of you. I know that the things that are so easy for others were not so easy for you. I want you to know that the mistakes I made along the way were my attempts at helping you the only way I knew how. There were many people who might have given up on you, but that was never an option for me. It is my hope for you that you will remember to give more than you take, lift others up, treasure the little things, and don’t be afraid of failing. There is something great inside of you, Evan and I pray each day you have the courage to discover what it is, the resilience to carry on when you fail, and the graciousness to appreciate those who help you along the way. Don’t let a day go by without fully knowing how blessed I am that God chose you for my son. Addendum: I wish you would please stop teasing my sweet old Cooper. He is over 70 years old in people years!! Please be kind to my crabby geriatric furry friend.
  3. To my baby girl, Sophi, I wish these things for you. There will never be more minutes in an hour, more hours in day, more days in a week or more weeks in a year. I know of no other who crams more living in a space of time than you. It is my wish that you are able to make the most of each moment and give yourself some space to breathe. The only thing that ever gets in your way, Sophi, is you. It makes me proud that you are motivated to set the bar high, but don’t forget that you don’t have to be perfect. All that you have to do doesn’t have to be done today. It is my wish for you to find balance and understand that if you always stay true to God, yourself, and the people who love you, the life you make will be successful. You are forever and always my bonus baby.                                     Addendum: I wish you would PLEASE put the lids back on your makeup and quit leaving it all scattered on the bathroom counter!! And for the love of all that is holy, you only need ONE towel for a shower

kidsThe truth is the greatest gift is one I have already been given. It cannot be purchased at the store or ordered online. I have been blessed with the privilege of being a mother, and this is simply all I could ever want (except for a very tiny monkey, that would be freaking AWESOME)…and maybe the night vision goggles. Seriously, this nest is going to be empty someday. I really should start planning ahead.

In Other News…I Didn’t Throat Punch Anyone Today

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In Other News…I Didn’t Throat Punch Anyone Today

It’s been one of those weeks. You know the kind. The kind that sucks all the life out of you and then sucker punches anything positive that comes along to attempt to resuscitate you. Nothing catastrophic occurred and I am usually a tad more resilient that the tone of this post suggests. I try to keep a firm grasp on perspective, but sometimes (and this could be completely hormonal) I let this stupid world chip away at my resolve. There are times, like this week, when I cave to my fragile state of being human and I just want to rage against some of the ridiculousness around me.

The truth is I am cranky. I am on the road this week for work and I miss my family. My new gig will take me away from the homestead for several days at a time. Usually, when things go smoothly at work, I can cope with the homesickness. When I baboon encounter work issues that leave me feeling like I have had a piranha gnawing on my fleshy backside all week, it tends to increase my longing for home.   This is actually a tad ironic, because I know that upon returning home after several days, my house will look like a troop of half-tamed baboons live there. Just the same, they are my troop of half-tamed baboons, so I can miss them if I want.

There may be more to my sour mood than I am willing to admit. I am not at all equipped to comfortably spend extended periods of time with myself. Dealing with people all day and then retreating to my hotel room, I am left with no domestic distractions to defuse my day. Instead of laughing at my kids or grappling with the laundry or following Kevin around, while chatting incessantly, I am left with just ME! To be completely honest, I am not really a good influence on myself. There resides in me an innately powerful imagination and when left unchecked it can go off the rails in a hurry.

Left to my own devices, I mentally start to rewrite parts of my days, with different endings than what actually happened. It is sort of like a lonely game I play ripped off from those books I had as a kid, where I could choose different outcomes for the characters based on what I wanted to happen. If I wanted Billy to find the hidden treasure, I would be directed to page 65. If I wanted Billy to get stuck in a pit of quick sand with little hope of rescue, I could turn to page 78–Twist-a-plot books or something along those lines.

My week in twist-a-plot:

Reality: A handful of people I have encountered this week have been resistant, negative, and demanding. I remained pleasant, professional, and accommodating as humanly possible, while mindfully funneling the tension from my face directly to my tightly clinched butt cheeks.

Twist-a-plot: I look at them and propose, “That is an excellent idea. Let me just reach into my bag and pull out my magic lamp and rub on it. I am sure that genie will appear any second and make all of this possible.” When no genie appears, I smile sweetly and say, “Looks like you’re shit out of luck.”

 

Reality:  After wrapping up a long and trying day, my boss says, “Are you okay? You look tired and you seemed to have lost weight. I can really tell in your face.” I give a half-hearted smile and reply, “I am fine. I am just tired.”

Twist-a-plot: I look up and reply, “Really? You can tell in my face that I have lost weight?! My face has never been fat! My ass is fat! My thighs are fat! Hell, even my freaking knees are fat, but I am dropping weight in my face! When was the last time you saw a weight-loss commercial with the hook line: ‘got stubbborn face fat…we can help’…..” Heavy sigh.

 

Reality: Random Facebook post shows up on my newsfeed regarding the potential of a specific kind of creative expression to offend certain people. In reality, I keep scrolling.

Twist-a-plot: I pop my knuckles, in that I-am-about-to-get-down-to-business-now kind of way and I type a comment: It is beyond me why so many people have to make a damn mountain out of every little mole hill. It is your choice to make this into something it clearly isn’t. There can be an argument that most of what people do or say can in some fashion potentially offend others. The least of these is passing close-minded judgments on others. Teach others to be tolerant by example…learn to laugh at yourself.

 

Reality: When FaceTiming with my family, my son, Evan, appears on the screen and I am so happy to see him. I say, “Hey, Bubby! How is your week?” He replies, “Good, but you better hurry home, the laundry is piling up fast around here.”

Twist-a-plot: Evan replies, “Hey, Mom! We sure do miss you. Don’t worry about things at home! We are keeping up with all the chores so you won’t have to come back to a huge mess.” Just as I smile and say goodnight, a large pterodactyl comes crashing through the window into my hotel room, lays a giant pterodactyl egg and collapses dead on the floor.

 

NOTE: I added the pterodactyl to the last twist-a-plot, because the idea that Evan would be a willing participant in an effort to forge through the household chores to spare me from having to do so, is so far-fetched, I felt the prehistoric bird was needed to add an element of believability to the scenario.

This is life. It’s okay to laugh, even when you are homesick for your half-tamed troop of baboons.

 

 

Off Road Parenting-Because Kids Don’t Come with a GPS

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Off Road Parenting-Because Kids Don’t Come with a GPS

evan4Parenting is a journey, of sorts. The moment I would see those fuzzy distorted mugs in the ultrasound pictures, the hopes and dreams of the little underdeveloped gummy bear would begin. Dreams of future scholars, athletes, musicians, or humanitarians begin to unfold. I always dreamt big when my children were in utero. God always had something special planned for dealing with the preconceived notions I had of the children I had not yet met as well as my aptitude for being a mother. In both cases, I have a feeling that my higher power was laughing to himself, because what I believed and what I found to be true were two entirely different things. Parenting my girls has been, at times, challenging. However, parenting my son, Evan, has been exhausting.

He was born early in the morning the day after our first anniversary and he was 8 pounds and 2 ounces of adorableness. His appetite was monstrous and it hasn’t really slowed down much over the last 18 years. As an infant, he was golden. He evan3slept well, ate better and was content the majority of the time. The closer he got to being a year old, the more something seemed amiss with my boy. When he was 10 months old I attended a Pampered Chef with Evan in tow. There were several women packed into a small living room and they were fawning over him and squeezing his irresistible chubby cheeks. Evan began to hyperventilate, gasping for air and wheezing. I rushed him outside into the cool night air and he immediately calmed down and began to breathe normally. When I tried to rejoin the party, he began to breathe rapidly and wheeze with every breath. I was sure my baby had asthma. My baby didn’t have asthma. I didn’t know it at the time, but when Evan was 10 months old, he had his first of many panic attacks.

I had heard of anxiety, but I was completely unaware the debilitating capacity it could have on its victims. There was a tremendous lack of understanding on my (and Kevin’s) part about dealing with a young child with an acute anxiety disorder. We struggled, we faltered, and finally we accepted.

The Struggle:

We wanted him to be like all the other kids. Other kids were busy doing kid things. They were laughing, playing sports, going to school, and doing so without any apprehension. Anything outside of his immediate comfort zone (home) produced a evan6visceral reaction that left him crying, shaking, heart racing, and sick to his stomach. There wasn’t any amount of reassurance we could offer him that would ease his distress. We coaxed, begged and made promises of great reward if he would just “TRY”. If only we had known how hard he was trying.

There has been a long history of trial and error with medications, behavior modification and various attempts of discipline. It is a strenuous plight attempting to fit a square peg into a world of round holes. Regretfully, in doing so, I failed to recognize all the uniquely wonderful attributes of my handsome square peg.

There was a time when I thought we would lose him. His battle with anxiety and depression left us standing in the gap when he wasn’t sure he could make it through the dark valley. I have no way to know the battles that have waged in his soul; I just know I am so very thankful he chose to fight.

The Sometimes

Sometimes, I am accused of letting Evan’s struggle cloud my decisions regarding what is best for him. I have been accused of spoiling him, letting him get away with things I shouldn’t and not being tougher on him. I take complete responsibility for living up to most of these accusations. As evan1a parent trying to discern how hard to push a child who has been so close to the edge, I feel that the judgments of others standing in anyone’s shoes other than mine are simply a reflection of good intentions. I can tell you honestly, that even the best intentions don’t stick when they are thrown at a situation from any distance. In order to get things to stick, you wade out into the muck of the matter.

Sometimes, I want to choke him. He can be a real handful and this has nothing to do with his anxiety or depression. He has broken my heart and disappointed me time and again. His tendency to find shortcuts, expend zero effort and completely leave his gifts and talents unutilized in any conventional sense are things which have caused me many sleepless nights. In those ways, he is a lot like his mother.

The Seasons

evan2Today Evan graduated from high school. There were many days I didn’t think I would see him standing on that stage, accepting his diploma. I have seen this young man through the many seasons of life and now he is standing on the cusp between being a child of progress and a man of promise.   I know the depth of his intelligence and the strength he is capable of harnessing.   I pray that when he looks inside himself that he will recognize the man God created him to be and the courage to see the design through to completion.

Although we have walked through seasons of storms, there is no question the absolute sunshine Evan has brought to my life. His brilliant wit, imagination, and the ability to charm the pants off a rattlesnake have been a vital heartbeat in our lives.   Kids don’t come with GPS and Evan has often been an off-road adventure, but I haven’t regretted one minute of the trip.

To My Son:

  • May you always know you are loved.
  • Happiness is never found in things…true happiness is in the moments we share with one another.evan8
  • Invest your time and love in others, it pays unbelievable dividends.
  • Be quick to forgive.
  • Continue to be kind to those less fortunate.
  • Real men cry, kiss babies, change diapers, open doors for ladies, love Jesus, and hug their moms in public.
  • Always admit when you have made a mistake. Accountability is part of being human and so is making mistakes.
  • Don’t let the world define you.
  • Keep your promises. A man is only as good as his word.
  • Work hard and always give any task your best self.
  • Play hard.
  • Be kind.
  • Look for the positive in every situation and cling to it.
  • Always know that I am so thankful that God gave me a son and that son is you.

All My Love-MOM

 

100 Years of Dreams

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100 Years of Dreams

She is 100 years old and the best thing about my job. She is tiny and spunky and she greets me each morning with a hug and kiss. She is a mother, a grandmother, a great-grandmother and a great-great-grandmother. She has lived through times that I can’t even stretch my imagination around. She has seen the metamorphosis of this planet and the good, bad and ugly the changes encompass. On days when her old bones ache and she feels especially tired, she still manages a positive word and a smile.
I was never supposed to be a nurse. It is my younger sister’s gig, not mine. It was a decision of necessity; a consequence of my choices, which are now over half my lifetime ago. Yet, here I am. It is something I consider a genetic flaw in my character–the constant feeling of twisting in the wind. I have carried this feeling of incompleteness for so long that I no longer feel at1larg_fortune_cookie separateness from it, but rather it has become part of who I am. It’s a feeling of knowing that what I am doing isn’t what I was born to do, yet never being able to fully recognize my true calling. It is like chasing the tiny slip of paper from my fortune cookie on a very windy day; knowing my destiny is within my reach, and just when I think I have it in my grasp it slips through my fingers.

 

It is with deliberate effort that I have managed to make career choices, which keep the standard core of nursing (needles, IVs, blood, doctors, drips, monitors, instruments of torture, sick people, wounds, dressings, catheters, drains, etc.) at an arm’s length. I have made every effort to steer clear of the five P’s of nursing (PUKE, PUS, POOP, PEE, and PHLEGM). It isn’t that I am particularly squeamish or that am repulsed by the P’s, because that isn’t really the case. Nurses, generally speaking, are made out of durable, pliable, industrial strength quality material. My construction is more of the duct tape/string cheese variety.
In nursing school, all my classmates would get so excited when they got to take part in Emergency Department traumas or assist in a Code Blue resuscitation in the ICU.  If a CODE BLUE was called, my peers would go sprinting in the direction the distress call, eager to provide chest compressions or squeeze the air into someone’s lungs with the ambu-bag. I would go in the other direction and hide in linen closet or sneak into the newborn nursery and practice swaddling newborns. In my defense, if ever a newborn was in need of a swaddle, I had it covered. It wasn’t that I didn’t, or couldn’t or even don’t do nurse things. I can and I have and I do…it’s just that I am so distracted by that little piece of paper in the wind.
The fact that I found myself working in a nursing home as the assistant director of nursing is one of those things I never believed would happen. It has been nearly five years and there are parts of my job that I like fine and there are parts of my job that I don’t particularly like. But the people–the people I love. Not only have my co-workers and residents carved out a place in my heart, they have changed the very composition of my heart as well. Friendships have bloomed in places I would have never cultivated before I came to be a part of this community. In many ways it is home…yet there is always that little unknown fortune dancing in the breeze.
Recently, I was presented with an opportunity to try something different. There have been many times in my life when God has opened a door and I balked, because I was scared of failing. Fear of failure has had a lifetime paralyzing effect on my willingness to venture out of my comfort zone (i.e. hiding in the linen closet during a Code Blue in nursing school). I stared long and hard at that open door trying to summon the determination to step over the threshold. The fear of leaving my coworkers, residents, and security has me hesitant; but the fear of failing has a death grip on my courage.

IMG_1210She is 100 years old and the best thing about my job. Nearly every day she reminds me how important it is to be kind to others, even though she admits it’s not always easy. At times, she becomes frustrated with the parameters old age puts on her ability to be independent. I often slip away from my office and steal a moment or two with my friend and I always come away with a smile. Today I sat quietly by her bed and watched her sleep. I wondered what a person who has lived 100 years gleans from the recesses of her mind to dream upon. I wonder how many doors God has opened for this precious woman in her lifetime and I wonder if she regrets allowing herself to not pass through any of them. I wonder if she knows how much I love her. It is going to be hard starting my work day without her, but I know this one truth (and I am pretty sure she would agree) life is too short to watch my dreams flutter in the wind.