Stepping Back into a Scary Place

WritingSometimes sadness gives way to success, if you want to call it that. I can think of several gals who, after experiencing or currently experiencing really super hard things, started writing about it and became internet-famous. I remember praying once that I would be okay with a lifetime of mediocre blogging if it meant I didn’t have to experience the things those gals have had to. Because I’m super deep like that.

As it turns out, I have nothing to worry about. For me, sadness simply gives way. It dries me up. It takes me to a dark, lonely place where, even if there are people out there who understand and maybe want to walk me through it, I simply do not want to go there and thus I don’t.

I just looked back at my blog. The last post was April 8 and the post before that January 28. Prior to this year, it could be said I spent too much time on my blog. And now: nothing.

January ushered in a six-week period of hell in my heart. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is just such a terrible thing and no words can adequately describe how it feels to watch someone you love experience the devastation of that. When my mom died in February, I knew it was coming, so I felt like I should have been a little more prepared. People lose their parents every day, right? But I don’t. I hadn’t. And then suddenly I did and in truth, I wasn’t ready for it and I’m still angry about it. And it’s been almost six months. So six months shouldn’t still be preventing someone from writing about it, talking about it, crying about it, right? But there is a place deep inside me that feels like I used up all of my grief capital with people ages ago and I should really move on now.

Likewise, our foster care story turned the page into a really sad chapter in February as well. And as it happened during the same month of caring for my mom during her last days, we just closed the foster care book for a while. For almost six months.

Next week we open it back up again and add two babies to the chaos of our lives and I must say, it doesn’t feel nearly as romantic as it did the first time we welcomed a new child into our home for a short stay. Our experiences with the system have tainted me, frightened me, and made me second-guess our involvement altogether.

And yet, here we go. Life is just incessant in its constant ready-or-not-here-I-come railroading of my existence.

But then, what would it be if we just stayed in the same place forever?

I imagine…it would be death.

 

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A dark and broken place

There’s a McDonalds I come to on Tuesday nights. I spend $1.08 and get a drink, sometimes tea, sometimes Coke. Sometimes I just get water. Once I ordered nothing at all. I sit here for 75 minutes while the girls are nearby attending choir. There is free wifi here and lots of fodder for the people are broken file. Last week I watched four teenagers eat burgers while two of them pawed each other the entire time and I wondered if they had parents or if their parents cared or if I would one day be foster parenting their not-yet-baby. Tonight there is a couple nearby. She’s crying. He’s yelling. Their toddler baby is wandering close by and their kindergarten age boy is climbing on the play place. I hear DUI and I hear you don’t care and I hear pain. A lot of pain.

On Sunday night Maddie and I stopped at another McDonalds on the turnpike. The options between Oklahoma City and Tulsa are pretty limited when you need gasoline and are hungry. We went in and as we were finishing up we saw a 40-something cowboy come in with a 10-something boy. The man hugged the boy. He hugged him again and again. And the boy was crying. And the boy walked across the restaurant towards the other door where his mother was waiting for him. And he held out his hand to his dad and waved one more time. And the dad held back tears and waved back and then turned around and walked out the door he came in.

And I broke down in tears right there in the McDonalds. Much like I’m about to do right now. Because there is so much that is dark and broken in this world I can hardly breathe.

I went to Owasso this weekend to file some will and trust parents at the county courthouse for my parents. It was the final step in what turned into six month process of me trying to help them get their legal lives in order. I mediated some tension between my dad and the hospice nurse who came out for the first time. Having hospice step into the story was not an easy move for my parents. It is a necessary one, but necessary does not equal easy.  And I watched my mom. And it was hard.

And I’ve been so quiet about the boys lately because they have grown right into my heart and their story is my story and when their story takes a turn next month it’s going to rip a hole right through me.

And there is so much that is dark and broken in this world I can barely breathe.

I can’t pray. I can’t talk. I can’t think. I can only cry.

And I have to hope that God hears my tears and translates them into the prayer I mean them to be.

Because there is just so much that is dark and broken in this world I can hardly breathe.

Happy Birthday, Mom

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My mom turned 67 today and we celebrated by invading her space with 8 additional people and being present with her for the evening. I’m thankful to be able to celebrate with her today.

I made French Mousse for her birthday because she really can’t handle breads and cakes anymore. I’m here to tell you, the birthday mousse was a happy thing that may become a more permanent rotation on the birthday menu around here. It was pretty fantastic if I do say so and my ability to follow a recipe is still intact. *grin*

In other news, I went to Walmart earlier today for the ingredients, only I’d forgotten to search for them before I went. So I googled on my phone “French Mouse Recipe” by accident. And, y’all, that’s a completely different type of food and not one I was willing to experiment with today.

So, Mom, your real birthday present today was that I caught my spelling mistake and found the right recipe.

I love you, Mom.

Happy Birthday

 

A Sad Day

Hard Stuff
A juxtaposition from today: Preparing to say good-bye to Baby A while simultaneously preparing for a weekend visit from my parents. My mom has ALS and now requires a hospital bed for sleeping. Sweet friends arranged for us to borrow one for the weekend and even while the reality of this, a hospital bed in my living room, lie waiting for one effect of the fall (my mom’s illness); the diapers, formula, onesies, teddy bear, and hospital paperwork being tucked in a small bag awaiting pick up along with a small babe was evident of yet another (the need for foster care).

And as I type this I’m still wearing the same shirt I’ve had on all day and I still smell like the mother of a wee infant – eau de spit up – and my arms are empty. We pray for the future for this little one and wonder what will be and can only hope God hears and that He cares.

My Dad’s Birthday

My Dad's BirthdayToday my dad turned 69. I drove to Owasso with Katie, Millie, A23m, and A5w to be with my parents and celebrate. I asked my mom what would she cook for dad if she could and then I went to the store and got everything we needed for that meal and made it.

My dad has always erred on the goofy side and this picture is proof. I was happy to celebrate with him today and hope for many more.

Walk & Roll for ALS Awareness in Tulsa

ALS Walk & RollWe hitched up the wagon and headed back home today. Okay, we didn’t quite make it all the way home, but we did make it to Tulsa where we participated in the Walk & Roll for ALS Awareness with my mom. You can see her and my girls in the photo above, with my dad popping up in the back. My sister and most of her crew came too and a lot of my mom’s friends, so it was a meaningful time. Only…I just wish this cussed disease didn’t exist and there would be no need to raise awareness for it. That’s all.

Fish Photo Bomb

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Katie, eager to show off her newly minted Wikki Stix mask, asked if I might want to snap a photo. Not to be left out of the fun, Millie’s Wikki Fish decided to swim in as well. And that’s pretty much how this day rolled.

The boys are spending the weekend with a sweet, sweet couple and the 5yo girl they are fostering. I was a bit surprised by how conflicted I actually was when I dropped them off. I really only anticipated being relieved to have a little break for the weekend, and believe me, I am, but I still felt this weird, “When would you EVER drop any of your kids off with strangers for the weekend?” guilt. Alas, and sadly, the boys are SO trusting because they’ve learned to be and they were shy, but they didn’t question the situation. We did hug them about 4 times and I promised I’d be back on Sunday to pick them up before church. Here’s why they are away for 48 hours:

We’re heading to Tulsa super early tomorrow morning (okay, super early may be a slight exaggeration, but we have to leave at 7:45 on a Saturday morning and it’s going to feel super early…) to participate in the Walk and Roll for ALS Awareness on behalf of my mom. There are a lot of unknown variables to this time and it seemed best to have the boys stay elsewhere. Then we will dash back to OKC to prepare for the Veritas 8th grade class Oral Presentation Night. Once again, not the best environment for two preschool boys, particularly two who have been on the go all day and not napped as would have been the case had they been with us all day. Then on Sunday morning we will participate in the kids’ one mile run at the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon. Remember that bit about unknown variables? Just seemed to make more sense to pick them up afterwards.

As it is, the six of us are enjoying what is perhaps the first Friday night we’ve had in 2013 with just the six of us at home, quiet, on a Friday night.

Blessings.