Day 2 of Brain Surgery-Super Zayne

Day 2 of Brain surgery.

 

He slept most of the night, my sister and I on the other hand not so much.  The nurse came in every hour on the dot.  I wasn’t looking forward to the morning knowing Zayne couldn’t eat anything until after his MRI.  He quit eating Wednesday at 9pm.  So the next morning was Friday.  He didn’t wake up enough to eat anything but a couple bites of pudding the day of surgery, so now going another 12 hours plus some was going to be brutal.  His MRI was scheduled for 10:30am.  I was really bummed it wasn’t 7am.  That would have been difficult already but to bypass breakfast almost into lunch was gonna be a task.  He woke up around 7:30 and said he was hungry.  I told him we had to wait until after the pictures of his brain before he could eat.  He didn’t put up too much of a fuss and quickly went back to sleep.  I was thankful.  After the disheartening news yesterday I didn’t have much in me to tell this kid no.  10:30 came and went.  Around 11am I went out and asked the nurse when they were going to come and get him.  She said she already called and they were running a little behind.  My stomach turned and I walked quietly back into the room hoping not to wake him.  If he slept til they came to get him it would be ok.  He was going on 38 hours with no food.  And my son…..doesn’t do no food well.  I looked over at my husband with a worried look and told him the news.  Zayne started to stir.  “Mom….”  He said already looking very uncomfortable.  “Yea baby?”  I went to his side and rubbed his arm.   Not being able to use the left side of his face well it came out so mumbled I couldn’t make it out.  “What baby?”  His eyebrows came together as if he was in pain.  I felt I couldn’t read him well.  The last brain surgery went so unbelievably well I was almost off my game trying to know what he needed.  “Mints please.”  My heart twisted with pain.  He wanted his junior mints his GG had gotten him.  He was hungry.   I spoke in the softest voice I had, “Just a little longer and they will come get you for your pictures sweetie.   And then you can eat whatever you want!!”  He pulled his right arm out of the covers and in the most pitiful gesture held out his hand in front of him.  His eyes were still closed and he said almost in tears “Mints please…..mints mom?”  I started crying knowing how hungry he was and just wanting to be able to take the pain away.  I can’t imagine how his stomach felt.  All the pain meds with no eating.  It had to be awful. He started to cry.  It was not a mad cry.  He was hurting.  I just didn’t know if his stomach was burning or if he needed pain meds for his head.  The feeling inside me made me sick.  I couldn’t do a damn thing for my boy who just had his head cut open.  He is so little.  And I couldn’t even comfort him.  I looked up at the clock…12:45pm.  I went back out to the nurse’s station while wiping my tears away.  “He’s miserable.  I don’t understand what’s taking so long.  We had a slot at 10:30… it’s almost 1.  He’s 6.  He hasn’t eaten since Wednesday night.  I’m gonna email Dr. Sandberg and tell him if they don’t get us in, in an hour I’m feeding him.”  The nurse kinda looked at me oddly.  “Let me go get the charge…hold on.”  I didn’t know what she meant by that but I waited.  A lady came out who I assumed was over all the nurses.  I told her my problem through tears.  I knew Zayne was in the room crying and in pain.  She called down to MRI and I stood there and listened to the conversation.  She was as mad as I was.  I gathered through the conversation that they thought he was an add in, meaning he wasn’t really on the schedule.  “Do you realize he is a little boy?  He is 6 years old.  I know that would be hard for an adult let alone a child.”  She was not happy.  She hung up the phone.  “You email the surgeon, maybe he can get something done faster.”  I nodded my head and asked everyone to stay out of our room so he would hopefully go back to sleep until they came.  I walked back into the room to Zayne screaming.  I couldn’t breathe.  My husband was almost to a breaking point.  “Baby, baby…”  I rushed over to Zayne’s side.  “It’s ok sweetie. I’m right here kiddo.  It’s ok.”  He rolled back and forth…”MOM…my stomach…..my stomach…” he screamed.  I wracked my brain for how to hold onto my sanity in this moment.  Did he need pain meds or would that make it worse?  Is it really his stomach or is his head hurting?  Zayne has had cronic headaches for 3 years now.  He has done a good job of teaching himself coping mechanisms.  Food being one of them.  If he says he is hungry after a meal I know a headache is on the way.  But this time it could be absolutely legit.  He’s starving.  As a mom I found myself not knowing what my son needed.  And as a parent that is the ultimate torture.  Especially when there is screaming and crying. I found myself trying to zone out.  Trying to just sit and be there but not so much that I lose my mind not knowing how to help my boy.  After 30 min. of screaming how hungry he was and tossing in the bed he drifting off to sleep.  I sat there looking at him.  My emotions that had been behind a wall for the past half hour came out.  I put my head between my knees and cried.  I felt as though I was gonna have my own heart problems if I didn’t find an outlet.  My body shook with each sob I tried to keep quiet.  He lay there sleeping but his expression still one of that in pain.  I reached out and softly touched his hand.  God….help me.  I can’t do this.  I can’t watch this.  Nothing about this surgery has been ok.  Help me.  I need to be here for him.  I can’t go down.  You HAVE to help me.  My plea’s turned into demands.  You said you would be here.  You told me this was the way to go. That we were supposed to be in Texas.  Now my boy can’t move his body.  Father….PLEASE.  The pain has to stop.  I need to breathe. You can take this away.  I know you can.  DO IT.  DO IT DAMN IT.  He’s so young…Be who you told me you would be.

The nurse opened the door and I quickly ran over to her and shuffled her out the door.  “I will talk to you out here.  What is going on?”  She looked at me sympathetically and said “The surgeon is on the phone for you.”  I walked over and picked up the receiver.  “This is Jessica”  “Jessica it’s Dr. Sandberg, I’m so sorry he hasn’t been taken down to MRI yet.  I’m very disappointed and have been calling regularly.  I will call again, but please do not feed him.  I know you want to and as a mother you just want to fix things. But we need to see how his brain is and make sure there is no swelling.  This needs to be done.  Do you understand what I’m saying?”  I started to cry again.  “I understand but then they need to get this done. I can’t do this anymore. This is not ok.”  I held the phone tightly to my ear trying to control my emotion.  “I know, I know, I’m so sorry.  I’m going to call again.”  I got off the phone and turned toward the nurse.  “Who do I need to talk to, this is ridiculous.”  Moments later I was talking to a social worker and she was handing me a card to contact someone in patient advocate.   I held onto the card as I told her of my story.  After a couple minutes I went back into the room to see Zayne stirring.  It was going on 2pm.  The anger that wrapped around me seemed to be almost materializing.  I felt my muscles tense and my lips become tight.  “MOM…”  I felt like a different person walking to his bedside.  One with vengeance.  “I’m right here bud.”  He tossed and turned and began screaming of his stomach again.  To sit here and write about the next half hour would not only be brutal on you but me as well.  Even trying to go back to that day now makes me sick to my stomach.  30 minutes passed and he finally drifted off again.  I simply sat there feeling hot angry tears roll down my face.  My stomach felt like a rock.  I got out of my chair once more.  I walked toward the door fearing what was going to come out my mouth.   As I put my hand on the door to step out to the nurses station I almost felt bad for the person who was to get my wrath.  I stepped outside breathing hard.   I saw a girl walk by in a tech uniform, she looked at me and said “I’m here to take Zayne down to MRI.”  My anger disappeared so fast I almost dropped to my knees.  I exhaled as I pulled her in for a hug.  “Oh my goodness,  you ok Ma’am?”  I pulled back and smiled at her.  “We’ve been waiting for so long….yes let’s get him”  She was a mother as well and as I told her my story she became more determined to get him down there as soon as possible.  She was supposed to wait for another tech to come help and decided the poor boy had waited long enough.  As we wheeled his bed out of his room I grabbed his hand and walked beside him.  “We are going to get your pictures baby!”  I said through happy tears.  I looked up at the clock it was going on 3pm.  Jake and I walked with him down to the MRI room.  Through talking to the nurse they weren’t even aware he was an ICU patient.  They weren’t told his age.  Someone dropped the ball.  I couldn’t take anymore.  I looked at my husband and we agreed Jake would be the one to be with him while they put him to sleep. Only 1 parent could take him back.  I kissed his forehead and looked in his eyes.  “I love you baby, I will have a chocolate pudding waiting for you when you get out.  Ok?”  He nodded his head and looked off into space.  I leaned closer to his ear, tears rolled down my nose.  “I’m so sorry baby, I’m so sorry.”  I looked at my husband. The look that we exchanged was so short but meant so much.  My look said Are you sure you’re ok? I can stay.  And his face said I’m nervous but I got this, go take some time.  I winked at him with tears in my eyes and walked out.

Day 1 of Brain surgery-Super Z

“Surgery went well.  He is in the recovery room now, so you guys can head up and I’ll meet you in there.”  The surgeon smiled at us.  Jake and I took a breath for the first time in 7 hours.  We looked at each other with tears in our eyes.  He was ok.  It felt good knowing this brain surgery went as well as the last.  We walked into the room and saw him hooked up to every machine imaginable.  He was still sleeping.  After a couple hours he was still asleep and hadn’t woken up yet. I started to get a little concerned.  His last brain surgery he woke up as soon as we said his name.  This time no one could.  The surgeon came in and tried waking him up.  Roughly….a little too rough for me.  He ended up pinching his shoulder in the muscle.  Finally Zayne’s face winced in pain and he started crying.  I relaxed just a little finally knowing he was ABLE to be woken up.  “He wasn’t moving his left side in surgery so I just want to check a couple things.”  He asked Zayne to move his left leg.  Zayne fell back asleep.  The surgeon woke him up again and asked very loudly for Zayne to move his limbs.  His right leg wiggled.  “Move this leg Zayne.” As he tapped his left leg. My stomach turned. Nothing.  He ran his fingers up and down the bottom of his foot. I felt my pulse rise and the sweat bead on my back.  Nothing.  He became more aggressive and pinched some pressure point in hopes to get some reaction.  Zayne’s foot moved ever so slightly.  The surgeon seemed relieved.  Jake and I on the other hand became more concerned.  His left arm on did nothing.  The doctor decided to try again when he woke up a little more.  Zayne never really woke up anymore.  He slept for so long.  Long enough to allow my thoughts to run.  Before the surgery I had a vision.  One of those you have when you’re not sleeping but not awake.  I saw myself leaning over Zayne’s bed holding his left hand asking it to move, asking him to wake up.  Begging God to give me my son back if he was to be himself and struggling to let him go if God had other plans.  The war inside me was so strong in the vision.  I began singing over him as tears flowed down my cheeks. I held his fingers to my lips and prayed to God that my kisses would heal.   What if he doesn’t wake up?  What if they hit something in his brain and he doesn’t have his fun, loving personality anymore?  What if he can’t walk? What if……  the list went on and on in my head.  I tried to be strong and brave while feeling these feelings.  I had to know that God had a plan.  I had to believe.  I had to CHOOSE to believe.  I didn’t know how long it would be until I felt peace but pleaded with God that it wouldn’t be too long.

Super Z update

Ok, I am going to be pretty brief.  I just can’t seem to catch up with life enough to sit down.

 

This surgery has been a challenge.  There was some damage in working to get the cyst under control.  This caused him paralysis to his left leg and left arm, and on the left side of his face.  We had a scare on Sunday, he seemed to go into these non responsive modes and Sunday’s lasted so long it was scary.  We think it was due to pain.  They had a hard time getting that under control, and since Zayne is used to chronic headaches he has developed a pretty good tuning out skill to manage.   Once they got pain under control, it seemed to help.  They are still working to manage the pain.  He is on a hefty pain pill still…so please pray that that pain subsides.

 

On to the good news.  The boy stood on his own 2 feet today and balanced by himself.  This is HUGE!!!  He was also able to take 5 steps just holding on to the Dr. hands(until now we have had to support his weight for him.)  And along with that there was a sighting of left arm movement…which is a first sense surgery.

They have now checked out of the hospital and head to the rehab center tomorrow where he will stay.  We aren’t sure of a time line.  I have heard anywhere from 2 to 6 months.  It is going to be tough and I wish they didn’t have to go through all this, but I am grateful that walking is still an option for this little guy.

Thank you all so much for your support!!!  YOU HAVE KNOW IDEA.  We could feel your prayers.   I do apologize for our lack of updates.  We really want to keep you informed, you have been so good to us.  But this experience turned into just putting one foot in front of the other  hanging on to any thread of our faith and quite honestly…our sanity…. And I am not kidding.  Toughest thing we have every been through.

 

Jess and I have so much more to say, but life doesn’t give us a moment these days.  We wanted to at least get everyone updated on what has been happening in this whirlwind.

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He didn’t bring me out here to drown…

So it seems these past 24 hours I have been working to grasp my mustard seed of faith, only to wonder if it’s even that big. It seems in a moment the clamor of fear in my brain literally incapacitates me dropping me to my knees. Then I hear a voice “Peter, step out of the boat. Step out of the boat and walk on the water with me Peter.”  In the darkness of my mind I search for this Peter that this steady and assuring voice has called to.

 

I recognized that voice, I knew it was God calling for him.   And then I realized…. He was calling for me.   I was who he was calling to. My faith was diminishing by the second so I called out.  “Send me my angel…. I want to see him.” I demanded in desperation.   The with fear was seeping into every crevice it could find.  Moments later my angel was sitting next to me. Only, his image wasn’t strong… He almost seemed faded. Through angry tears I said. “Why aren’t you really here? I can barely see you!” And he responded so calmly. “It’s you, not me. It’s your perspective, because I AM right here.”  He went on to say, “It is ok, your human perspective is clouding things a bit right now.  Let go of fear and expectation.  You will see me. You know you will.”

 

For a moment I believed him. The moment lasted just long enough to throw me what didn’t feel like rope, but like a string.  I now can literally relate to hanging on by a thread.  I grip the thread tight.  Deep inside I do believe I can walk on water and even in my doubt when I begin to sink… I hold on to the thread of faith I have that says, He won’t let me drown.

~Jamie Lightner

We believe…

Well, once again, this night before surgery we rally the troops.

You all have supported us from the very beginning(Um.. he has a what?).  As always our words can never express the way we truly feel about all the support.  It may not make sense, but we feel your hearts and there is strength out pouring from so many.

As we near tomorrow we a rally the troops, and as with any rally before a big battle, we need a unified battle cry.  And as Jess and I sit together pondering what to say tonight, we feel the cry is “We believe!” Believe in what , you may ask… and to that we say “Yes”.  We believe in hope, we believe in peace, we believe in love, and we believe in God and his ultimate plan.  We believe in a power within each and every one of us to do great things, greater than we ever thought possible.  To shine in a weary land.  To bring life and peace to every corner.  We believe the battles we face are about much more than strengthening our faith in God, but about him revealing to us who we are truly and meant to be.  We will transform.  Like the Phoenix out of the ashes we will rise.  We don’t care what things look like, and our own expectations of outcomes aside, victory DOES course through our VEINS. We may stumble, we may fall, our faith be shaken to it’s very core and weakness may suffocate us for but a moment.  I can declare this for sure, come hell or high water we know who goes before us and who is behind us.  And no matter the outcome, we will rise. We understand the fight we fight.  WE see the risks; however we also understand that these battle lines surge beyond this surgery we face tomorrow. WE reach deep into our core, to the very depth of our soul.  And there, burning with just the slightest glow, at the very center of our hearts, is our true identity.  And like a Trust fall from terrifying heights, we choose to believe and take hold of our true identity, glowing like an ember, just waiting for our very breath to bring it to flames.  With every breath we transform.  We have called out angels, and this is not a fight we fight with fists, but a fight where we draw on the power of our hearts and the very wings on our backs, that our angels have given us to take flight.  We will soar.  Soar with power, and peace.  Soar with determination and strength and an even greater knowing of who we truly are.  And that is what We Believe.

 

I know we all have different understandings and beliefs, and that ok.  We all have a piece to the puzzle.  So when you ask us, “What specifically are we believing for THIS battle?”… we say “yes”.  So tomorrow reach to the very depths of your own soul.  Allow your own empowering beliefs to connect all our hearts together and we will rise.

Below is a song by Katty Parry that has fueled both Jess and my hearts this past month.  It will be one of the songs on our playlist for tomorrow.

And then if you scroll further I have a couple more videos…a couple of Zayne singing…love it.

Will I be strong enough for her… (Super Z Stories)

“Mom.”  I heard Kate’s voice and immediately I knew why she was calling.  “Are you coming to get me?”

In my rush to get Bo to his scrimmage in Eaton Rapids, I forgot to pick her up when I dropped off Josh and Timmy to their practices at the school tonight.  And I thought I was on top of things because I actually had dinner done before 5pm tonight.  I sunk in my chair at Bo’s scrimmage and wondered to myself how I was going to pull off the next 2 weeks.  My college classes were starting(yeah, a story for another blog), my coaching was going well, brain surgery is scheduled for next week, and oh yeah, I have FOUR kids who apparently have places to go and people to see.

Last brain surgery I felt so strong for Jess.  If I even heard her voice over my phone, “hey Jame…”, I was already in my car on my way.  These days I find myself staring at all the plates I have spinning in the air and I can’t help wonder which will come crashing down first, apparently it was the “pick your daughter up from practice plate.”  But which one would be next.

And then I go and do the unthinkable… read my sisters blog post.  Why would I do that to myself.

So I take tonight to fall apart, I take tonight to wonder, “Will I be able to be enough for her this time around?”  “Will my kids know that despite how many times they are left at the school, they are a priority?”  “Will my kids understand that my lack of patience with them this week is due to the pressure on my shoulders right now, but that I love them more than the very air I breathe?”

I take this moment to feel weak, and tired and quite honestly a bit like a whiner.  I take this moment, in this lull before battle to cry and ask why.  I take this moment to challenge my faith, really put it to the test so that when tomorrow comes it’s stronger.  Tonight I cry, but when tomorrow comes I will lift my eyes to the sun, spread my wings and allow my creator to fill me with his strength and peace, for in a few days we will go to battle with the angles by our sides and I will stand by her. No matter what… because that is what we do.

Throughout our lives my sister and I have taken turns standing and strengthening the other.   And although I feel weak tonight, I accept that, because I know it will be just for a moment.

 

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Super Z blog

I quietly slid in his bed and snuggled up beside him.  Thoughts that day had been rough and I felt like as hard as I fought my thoughts were to strong and I came out of the ring pretty banged up.  My body was exhausted.  But I laid next to him and just took him in.  In the soft light I saw the silhouette of his perfect lips.  I have kissed those soft lips so many times.  His hands lay across his chest.  Those sweet little hands that have handed me dandelions, and other assorted weeds.  His eyes softly closed.  I just laid there and felt him.  Felt his presence.  I took in what it felt like to hear him breathe and to feel his little spirit even while he sleeps.  He is so creative.  So vibrant.  He is such a mix of bright colors.  I can’t imagine not seeing those colors.  Lord, tell me we are doing the right thing.  Tell me we are supposed to take all the risks and open him up once again.  Tell me he’s gonna make it out. Tell me I’ll get to lay beside him after surgery and watch his chest fill with breath.  Tell me he will come out and still be able to see me, talk to me, and be who I know he is.  I couldn’t help but imagine what the doctor’s face would look like if he had to tell me they did everything they could but just couldn’t revive him.  The emotion was so strong I felt like it was hard to breathe.  I felt like my lungs had quit working and to take a breath was like trying to breathe under water.  I shook the thought away and reached my hand out to touch him.  He was warm.  I scooted closer and put my nose against his.  I almost can’t describe that feeling.  As a parent there is an un-explainable love we have for our children.  It’s mind blowing, this love.  And in moments like these when you realize you have no control of an outcome if you don’t let go they become unbearable.  As I lay so close to my sweet baby boy, my whole being begged God to keep him safe.  He has so much life to explore, he has so much to do yet.  I breathed in the smell of him and slid my arm under his head and pulled him close.  I softly kissed his cheek and a tear rolled off mine onto his.  He woke up slightly and took a long breath in.  He mumbled something as he pulled away from me and wrapped the blankets around himself.  I put my head on his pillow and stared up at the ceiling fan.   As I felt my body drifting to sleep I prayed I wouldn’t enter the ring again with my thoughts.  I just wanted to sleep…to rest…and to just be… right here next to my beautiful boy.

Super Z update

It was going to be a good day.  I was going to make sure of that.  I like to take the days we go up to Devos for Zayne’s chemo pills as a little date for just him and I.  Heading in we were listening to our inspirational music with our little Biggby hot cocoa.  Well…of course I had a coffee.  We arrived and went through the routine.  Get our badge, up the elevators, check in, called back for vitals and finally in the room we go.  I looked down at Zayne and realized I forgot his cream.  Oh shoot.  Ugh, mom of the year.  Well he will be ok…it’s not an IV it’s just a little poke.  Not gonna let this change my day.  We are good.    Sure enough they come into to draw blood.  He doesn’t even notice that they don’t have to clear cream off his arm.  The nurse rubs the alcohol on grabs the needle.  “OWE….That was NOT one of the soft needles.  You’re MEAN…you’re NEVER doing this again.”  Yea…he was pretty ticked.  “Buddy buddy….it wasn’t her fault it was mine.  I forgot your cream.  But look how brave you were.  And it was just a little poke!! Good job!!”  I could feel what I said register.  “You forgot my cream?  You did MOM.”  I was laughing before he could finish.  He did not find it so funny. But I figure I can laugh knowing that he is ok and won’t be scared for life or I could beat myself up and feel guilty which would have ruined the rest of our day.   After that we got the good news from the social worker that an amazing company is going to give us a gift card to buy Zayne a bike that will attach to mine!!  Which will make family biking a possibility!!! She also requested we get a soccer ball with a bell in it!!  So he would know, even without seeing it, where it was.   We grabbed his poke prize and chemo pills and left.  In and out!  Just the way we like it!  On the way home Zayne was watching a show on the Ipad and my brain replayed the conversation with the social worker.  I think I was more excited about that bike than Zayne was!!  I can’t wait for family biking!!  Then I thought about the ball and it took me to a memory of a couple mornings prior.   Ayden and I were playing catch and Zayne wanted to join.  He came and stood about 4 feet from me.  “Zayne come over here by me and then Mom can throw it to both of us.”  So Zayne trotted over to where Ayden stood which was about 10 ft away.  “Ok..Ready Zayne?” I said getting ready to throw. He scowled and said “NO.”  “Why not?”  I said pulling the ball back into me.  “MOM….You know I can’t see you.”  He said pretty nasty. Which is what he does.  Frustration or embarssasment always comes out as anger.   “Oh gosh buddy, I’m sorry I didn’t know…but that’s when you just say ‘Hey mom I need to move forward a bit so I can see you better’ Ok?” He gave me his snarled nose and eyebrows down face.  “MOM….YOU DID TOO KNOW.”  And as quickly as that story entered my brain started from there.  I wonder how he rides a bike.  It’s crazy he can ride down the driveway without getting hurtWhat if he goes completely blind?  Do we move him to a school with other blind kids?  It’s already a little hard to find friends his age and things to do that he can do.  He doesn’t like to go to the movies because he can’t see it.  He can’t play ball/catch with other kids.  Going to a playplace isn’t ideal . He panics if he loses sight of Ayden.  We stay home a lot because he knows where everything is, he knows where he can ride his bike, he can swim, and he knows our playset.  Jake and I have noticed if we leave things out that aren’t usually there he runs right into them.    I wonder if he will be able to drive?  If he can’t he will have to use public transportation.  What if he gets mugged because he’s blind?  Will he live on his own?  Will he ever marry?  Ever see the face of his first baby?   Before I knew it I spiraled into a depressed state.  Tears fell freely.  I was thankful for headphones, knowing my boy didn’t hear any of my battle going on in the front seat.  Ugh….Jessie stop….It was going to be a good day.  Thinking like this is NOT a good day. I tried reminding myself to be thankful that we weren’t in and out of surgery like other children.  That we didn’t have to go to Devos every week for a drip, that we no longer had a port and a fever was just a fever.  I tried to remind myself that if sight was the only thing we lost we were doing ok.  And if we have handled brain surgery this should be easy.  But it didn’t seem like it.   Brain surgery seemed like a sprint but going blind… that was for a lifetime.   I reminded myself that some parents lost their children and mine was still here.  There is a lot to be thankful for.  But my tears and emotions were not listening to reason.  The night did not get better.  I found myself waiting for bedtime to come so I could just let go for the night.  I tucked this kids in and got real close to Zayne’s face.  “Can you see me buddy?”  He tilted his head slightly.  “Yup…yea I can see ya.”  He said with his adorable little boy head nod.  I covered his good eye with the palm of my hand.  “Can you see me now?”  He looked around distantly.  He did not make eye contact.  “Not really…no.”  I felt my shoulders droop.  “What color are my eyes?”  He looked around to what he thought was my eye.  “Mom…I don’t wanna do this anymore.”  I pulled my hand away.  “Ok sweetie!  I get it.”  I kissed his cheek and felt his arms wrap around my neck.  “Love you Mom.”  He said in his little gruff voice right in my ear.  Tears welled once again.  What if he forgets my face?  What he forgets all of our faces?  I can’t imagine not seeing my mom’s face.  I squeezed my throat gave him a quick kiss on the nose and told him I love him too.  I retreated to my room.  I couldn’t breathe.  I just wanted it all to go away.  I wanted to text my friends and ask for prayer.  I wanted to call Reba and beg her to help me.  I wanted to take my boys on a vacation somewhere where these haunting thoughts wouldn’t get me.  But the reality was they were getting me…and they were winning.  I prayed sleep would come fast and my dreams would be tolerable.

In honor of Memorial Day, May I say…

Memorial Day.  A holiday that I certainly associate with the smell of the grill.  Many of us take that day off work to get together with our family and friends.   Today there was talk of politics on our ride home and my stomach sank a bit.  I began to feel uncertain of what my kids would have to face in their future.  Would health care be a problem? What would happen to the educational system? Would freedom’s be infringed upon?  I realized my feelings were not the first.  I remember as a young child, hearing my dad say, “Man, times are not like they were.” And he remembers his dad saying the same thing to him.

As a kid, it was hearing my dad talk about the simplicity of the past that I think created my love for an era I really knew nothing about.  But poodle skirts and sock hops sounded so innocent. Baseball was America’s favorite pastime and there was nothing like a good Ball Park hot dog.  I have always been drawn to the older music, somehow wishing I could transport my family to a simpler time.

As I gazed out my window, the talk of politics became the background to my thoughts as I looked out over the freshly planted field.  I took in the beauty of the rich dark dirt, outlined with the green of the tall grasses and trees.   I thought it funny, now I was thinking the very thoughts my dad expressed to me some 25 years ago.  I began to wonder how long this trend of thoughts has made it.  For how many generations has man expressed his worry about where this country is headed.  Has the fear of the future been trending sense man made his first fire.  And just when discouragement was about to wrap its grip around my heart, I thought, if this has been the thought of the generations before, then not all hope is lost.  Because although we have had our ups and downs, the heart of the human race makes its way through the rubble.  I believe at the very depths of our being, we are love.  When all else fades, and we let go of offense or our need to prove ourselves, when we stop using fight or flight as our primary mode of operation, when we let our differences fall to the way side, it is then we value each other and even the worst of enemies can set aside their feud and hold each other up.   Our country was born out of a revolution that took many lives, and then built on a foundation of values and principles that emphasize life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  And although we all may have different opinions on how to best carry that out, I still believe that WE believe in that foundation.   Even though our fears, offenses, and inability to care for each other at times, seem to hinder us, we believe in what America stands for and we will continue to strive for that. Valleys, mountains, trials and triumphs are all a part.  Through our tragedies is when I see America go back to its foundation, back to the very basis of what I believe we are all made of, LOVE. It is then we are united together once again.  It is in those moments we let our differences fall away and we see what so many have given their lives to secure.  One nation, under God and INDIVISIBLE, with liberty and justice for all.

And today, as I enjoy the time with my family,  I say thank you to those who have sacrificed.  I say thank you to the fallen soldiers, your heart lives on through each and every American living in this land today.  I say thank you to those veterans and those still in service, you have paid a high price for our freedom. I say thank you the families who have waved good bye to their loved ones who fight to ensure OUR freedom.

Happy Memorial Day…

I finally see it…Can you?

Being that for the month of May, the blog has been centered around women and giving yourself a break.  I asked a very dear friend of mine to write a blog to post.  She is Life Coach with TurningLeaf Wellness Center and I love when we get the chance to work together.  She is so brave, and I learn so much from her.  Although life through her the curve ball of single momhood, not only does she pour her heart and soul into her children, she is showing them how to be confident in who you are and chase your dreams, by doing that herself. 

 

I can see it…Can you.

by Leah Krispin

May is a month that brings up a lot of triggers of emotion and reflection of my three children.  There’s the obvious Mother’s Day, that brings a mixture of emotions.  Then the end of the school year rolls around, and I am hit with the realization that another year of my boys growing up has passed by in what feels like a blink of an eye.  Then, finally, my youngest has his birthday, and I grow further and further away from when “my baby” was actually my baby.

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I am in this stage of life that had seemed so far away to me, not that long ago.  My boys basically are all now teenagers, 16, 13, and 12.  The oldest and youngest have grown taller than me, and I now have to look up in order to look into their faces.  Although my middle son has had to wait a little longer than his brothers, I finally now look straight into his eyes, rather than look down at that little boy he was once was.  How did they get so big?

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I can see them, as if it was yesterday, toddling around with their little legs, playing rough and tough on their bikes, and making those boy car noises as they played for hours with their Matchbox cars.  Now I hold my breath as my oldest drives, I hear about the newest death defying scooter trick that was landed at the skate park, listen to the thoughts about girls at school, and hear about how the newest electronic devices are in fact a “need” rather than a “want”.

When they were 6, 4, and 2 life shifted, and it became just the four of us.  I was paralyzed with insecurity and enormous amount of doubt of how I was going to be able to give these boys what they needed temporally and emotionally.  Each day I woke up filled with all the reasons why I wasn’t enough, and saw the evidence that told me I was going to fail them miserably.  However, they were my reason to keep going.  At first I couldn’t see the “how” I was going to climb this mountain in front of me, but I had the why, and that was enough to put one foot in front of the other.

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This climb I have been on has not been an easy one.  I can’t say that there haven’t been times when I have tripped, or fallen, or just plain wanted to sit down and wave the white flag and cry out for mercy and declare “I have had enough!  I give! I give!” But I can say that eventually each time I got myself back up and brushed myself off and started back up the path ahead.

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All these years later I look at my sons who are now more young men, rather than the boys I once held on my lap, and I am filled with gratitude for who I see them becoming.  It was the climb I resisted so much that has given us everything that we ever needed.  I found myself for the first time, I became a better mother, and the four of us are stronger because of it.

 

So many times when “mountains”, or struggles, are placed in front of us on this path we call life we kick and scream, and resist.  “Why me?”, we ask, why is this happening to me?  We each have a mountain to tackle.  They are all different.  Some are large.  Some are at times smaller.  Some everyone can see.  Others we tackle without others ever knowing.  Mine, for the moment, is being a single mom.  I have learned more than I can share in a short blog, but one that stands out the most is that through struggle we learn who we are.  We learn, if we are open to it, that we are strong.  We are capable.  We are enough.  I finally see it.  Can you see it in you?

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