Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Parental Paradox

Parenting...such a loaded word and heavy concept.  Being a parent is by far the toughest, most complicated, and overwhelmingly exhaustive job I have had.  But, being a Mama is without a doubt the most rewarding, exciting, and uplifting experience of my life.  I have been so very blessed to have given birth to 2 amazing kiddos, to be the step-mom to 2 creative young ladies, to be the bonus Mom to an incredible young lady and to have 2 more little ones waiting on me when I get to heaven.  All I wanted to be when I was younger was a Mom; and I am grateful that God has allowed me this gift.

My first parenting adventure took place when my sweet Cecely was born.
She was premature.  She was born not breathing.  She was very sick with colic, jaundice, and acid reflux.  She went through her toddler years behind the milestones in everything but verbal skills.  When she went to pre-K, we began the path of neurologists, occupational therapy, speech therapy and physical therapy due to a diagnosis of mild cerebral palsy.  When she began school, we started the journey of academic and psychological testing.  As her Mama, I hated seeing Cecely being reduced to a piece of paper filled with charts.  I still hate looking at her IEP paperwork and seeing where her "dots" line up with other children.  I want to say, "she may be below grade level in reading, but she is so funny.  She may struggle in math, but she loves everyone."  It is so difficult watching a Cecely struggle--when I know the depth of who she is and what she brings.  I want her to have the BEST life possible.  Thankfully, we are in a place and at a school where she is so well supported, and we are very thankful.

When I was carrying Titus, I was carrying twins, but I lost one baby.  Titus was born healthy and happy.  Developmentally, he has always been where he needs to be.  We recently began the adventure
of braces and oral surgery.  Titus' mouth has a billion issues.  This past week, Titus had major oral surgery.  We knew what was needed and new what to expect, at least on paper.  I went back with Titus before his surgery.  I have noticed lately how big Titus looks in his football uniform on the football field.  But, when I went back with him to the operating room, he looked so tiny.  The nurses allowed me to stay with Titus until he fell asleep.  I stood beside him, holding his hand, trying to make him laugh, and encouraging him the best I could.  In my mind, I kept telling myself to hold it together...don't cry in front of Titus.  When his eyes finally closed and his breathing leveled out, the tears flowed freely from my eyes.  I stood there for a few seconds looking at this sweet gift and how tiny he looked.

My heart tightened in my chest as I walked to the waiting room.

In a short amount of time, my mind went to one hundred different places.  Memories of my past and my family's history of accident filled my brain.  I thought of all of the times my Mama had to watch my siblings and me go behind a medical door.  When I was in high school, I started having issues with my vocal chords.  My Mama would go with me to every appointment, even when those
appointments were out of town in Winston-Salem.  She would sit with me through every test.  When I had the test where a tube was ran down my throat and into my stomach, and a monitor was placed on my stomach and another on my heart, my Mama stayed beside me through those 24 hours.  She helped me push food down per the directions of my doctor.  She cried with me as I cried when the food would get caught on the tube and I would choke.  She sat across from me in the exam room where the doctor took 9 long needles and pushed them into my throat.  She held my hand as I had to sing while the needles pressed into different parts of my neck.  She laughed at my feeble jokes that I tried to make while in pain.  She stayed with me as I was wheeled into the operating room to have my neck cut open and my vocal chords exposed so the doctor could figure out what was going on.  There were many things my Mama could not attend when I was growing up because of her work schedule and going back to school; but, I was reminded this past week that she was at every medical appointment.  When I received my diagnosis of Crohn's Disease, my Mama was as involved as she could be.  I lived far away during the beginning of that diagnosis.  But, Mama stayed in communication with me, and she learned all she could about the disease.  When I delivered both of my babies, my Mama made the 7 hour drive to get there as fast as she could.  When I lost my fourth baby, she drove into town as soon as she could armed with movies and snacks.

There have been many times in my life where I have been overwhelmed by very loud life lessons.   Seeing Titus in fear then pain, broke my heart.  At the same time, I was trying to imagine what it was like for my Mama all the times she saw my siblings and me hurting.  This week, I am overwhelmed with gratitude that I am allowed to be a Mama, and that my baby boy is recovering slowly but baby girl is thriving in her school.  I am reminded of the love my Mama showed me.

Even greater than those things, I was reminded of the love God has for me, for my children, for my family, for you!  God sees us when we hurt.  He sees our pain.  He understands our hearts.  He gave us the gift of his Son, Jesus.  Jesus lived His life as a human, and He felt the things we feel.  He knows what it is to be betrayed.  He knows what it is to feel physical pain.  He understands anger.  He knows what love is.  He knows what sadness is.  There is nothing going on in my world or yours that our God does not understand.  So, when the emotions and challenges of life overwhelm you, when the tears flow freely, when the hurt runs deep, remember the One who made you loves you so deeply and dearly.  He wants to walk with you through every day of your life--good and bad, happy and sad, joyful and angry.  He loves you!  He gets you!  He's got you!

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