appendixless. {and how i learned what i’m worth to my child}

In 5 hours, we will have been in this hospital for 5 full days.IMAG1135bWell, my daughter will have been here all that time. I’ve taken three breaks, the longest being a 12-hour overnight stay at home while my mom took my place. You start counting these kinds of things a lot, trying to bring some kind of qualitative perspective to a seemingly infinite experience.

I’m not a big fan of taking self-portraits.  It’s not always an insecurity thing.  It’s a battle against narcissism thing.  But this one I needed to take:

IMAG1148bI will need to remember this week and that I was here with my chipped nail polish and desperately cheerful sweater for Gabby.

When she was born, my 24 year old self actually wondered, “What if she doesn’t love me?”

When she was 4, I asked my Sunday School class to pray for our relationship, because I felt it was too distant.  (Yeah, we’re old school.  No small groups.  Just old-fashioned Sunday School.)  As I grew as a mom, I learned how to connect with her better.

My girl is an independent thing, and she’s so mature and intelligent for her age that it’s easy to leave her alone too much.  She doesn’t show signs of needing Mommy as much as I’d think a 7 year old would.

This week (and the 5 days of sickness prior to them) have proven that even a girl like her needs Mama deeply.

It turns out that taking that night off at home caused me to miss the worst (read: most painful) moment of the week.  No one told me they were going to remove the drain from her side.  While they were snipping the suture holding the tube in and then pulling the tube through her incision, I was at Walgreens buying a card on behalf of her little brother.

I arrived to find my little girl sitting in a chair next to my mother, holding a scrap of paper to her chest on which I’d colored her name ombre style.  Through tears, she’d asked my mom to get it down from the bulletin board.  “Did your mom make that?” asked her Nanna.  She nodded.

IMAG1142b

I know it’s not my fault, but it still hurts.  Yes, I needed a solid night’s sleep to function better for her.  Yes, it’s okay for her to rely on other people.  Yes, it was great for my mom to get to be a part of the healing process since she lives almost 9 hours away from us.  It’s true that I had no heads-up that it might happen that day.  But knowing that you weren’t there when she really needed you? That sucks.

I’ve since promised I won’t leave the hospital until she does, and I mean I’m not even leaving the unit.  She’s stuck, so I will be, too.  Whatever we need can be brought in by someone else.

There have been other ways to learn that I’m still needed.  Her head rested on my shoulder while we sat in the bed together and watched TV.  She let me rock her when she was so frustrated that I wondered if she’d spawned another personality.  My girl’s eyes dart to me when someone is getting on her nerves and she doesn’t want to interact with them.  She looks for me first when she wakes up.  Her breath deepened when I told her I wouldn’t leave her again.

This is not only my experience.  This is much of what it means to be a parent.

There are times that one parent fits the bill of the day a little better than another.  I know there will be times when she leans more on her daddy, but I don’t ever want to forget the emotional lesson I learned this week.  I’ll need to have it rooted in my heart if she decides to go all “Leave me alone. I just want to listen to my music” when she’s 14.  Maybe I’ll be needed in a different way at that time, but I’ll be there.

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you may say i’m a dreamer…

Some of you may have read posts from my New Normal series back in the Fall.  If so, you’ll understand how I could be so motivated and end up doing very little.  About a week and a half ago, I had probably the worst day I’ve had with fibromyalgia.  It took 4-5 days to get past that flare, but that was complicated by a sinus infection and a stomach thing.  I’m not sure if it was a stomach bug or if it was side effects of 2 doses of a fibro drug that I took.

All that to say that one doctor has now given me a fibro diagnosis.  In the meantime, I have bloodwork, a skin punch biopsy, an MRI, and a glucose tolerance test scheduled to continue to look for causes of neuropathy in my feet. (And now I think in my arms?)  We did an EMG in January because of the feet thing, and again I was told, “Looks normal!”  Yeah.emgThis being-motivated-but-not-able on many days is problematic for me.  I’m a daydreamer and a worrier, so having lots of time on a couch obviously doesn’t help me balance my imagination with action.  Here is my imagination when I’m not on the couch:

We got a fantastic new sporting goods store in my little town.  Walking the aisles, I know I’m going to go hiking and rollerblading and probably start cycling.

I take my daughter to get a library card.  Standing at the check-out desk, I see myself writing lesson plans here on Thursdays.  Too bad I can’t bring coffee.  I’m also going to check out really cool books that impress the librarians with my excellent choices.

Tsh Oxenrider shares tips on book writing, and oh, man!  I need to set some deadlines for myself on that devotional for teachers.

The Children’s Council meets at my house.  I’m going to revamp this Children’s Church thing, and it is going to be the best.  So much more Jesus-centered, and the kids will beg to go on Sundays.

I wake up.  Today’s the day that I will have clean surfaces and buy the perfect living room floor lamp that only costs $30.

Derek Webb tweets about his wife’s new album.  Why do I not know all their music?  I will fit in a songwriting session on Thursday, too — right after I vacuum the studio lobby for the dance teacher.

We discuss Chapter 2 of The Case for Faith in Sunday School.  Next week, I will have caught up on the reading and bring in more research on related scriptures and give a presentation on sponsoring a child through Compassion International.

Pinterest shows me a baby sweater soaked in sweetness.  I’m getting out that yarn tonight and learning to knit for my niece due in March.  No, I’m not.  I’m calling Tracy to help me finish this baby quilt that my grandmother started.  I stopped working on it a year ago.

You come to my house (theoretically) and tell me about your new project.  I am so interested.  I want to help you with that.

I just found this picture of myself at my sister’s wedding rehearsal last month.  The hands say, “I am a bridesmaid.  I hold flowers.”  The eyes say, “Where are my children?”presentnotpresentIs there such a thing as Life ADD? If so, I have it.  Can this woman learn to be more present where she is?  Can she choose to set aside some things in order to actually obtain others?  If so, I’m going to try it.

I’m setting some very specific goals to be completed by the end of this school year and share them with two women who I know will check in on my progress.  I have to make the most of the days that I am able and be content to purposefully rest (physically and mentally!) on the days that I’m not.  Here’s to less mental wandering and less subsequent guilt over shoulda-woulda-coulda.