Absolute favorite picture of my guys. The Dude having the time of his life with his dad at the beach.
These dare-devil throws that our fam thinks are awesome, yet
make old ladies nearly poop in their pants nervously watching make others feel we should use more caution, or maybe play a calmer game of chase instead, is just what The Dude lives for. The thrills and fun of playing with his Dad. The excitement and rush of going just a little bit higher each time! I get it, that’s why I loooooove roller coasters! I’m a total thrill seeker when it comes to theme parks, and spent many summers rock climbing, white water canoeing, and hiking on long treks through mountain gorges, when a van was set to just pick you up in 4-5 days on the other side. I lived for that kinda stuff!
(Clearly not me, yet can’t deny I wouldn’t have tried, or that “Firecracker” wouldn’t try if given the shot!)
But, (and yes, with age… our BUTTS get bigger)…BUT, NOW, I find myself much more cautious and aware of DANGER. Now, I have responsibility. Now, I have a husband and 5 little ones looking at me and depending on me for the next move. They need me. Once upon a time, that spontaneous thrill seeking free bird used to spend summers climbing up the sides of rocky mountains and hanging under cliffs named things like “Devil’s Courthouse” or “Hell’s Gates“, unbeknownst to the tourists who leisurely took pics on the top of THAT SAME CLIFF! A few years later and a few children added to the mix, and that same woman found her new “MOM-SELF” at the top of a ferris wheel with her 2 daughters, almost in a state of panic of a million worst case scenarios panning out in her mind. “Where are the seat belts on this thing?… Why is it so wobbly? …What’s taking it so long to get us down? …What’s with all the music and balloons popping?… Girls, sit very close to me and hold on please… Mommy’s got you.” What the??? Total neurotic freak, right? It’s a ferris wheel, for crying out loud!
Apparently my cool points fell out on the delivery room floor. Oy.
I have come a long way since my dumb ferris wheel moment. I was a young mom with 2 children, still figuring out how to do this whole parenting thing. Frankly, even with 5 kids, I’m pretty sure I will LIVE trying to figure out this whole parenting thing. I will never be the “YODA” of parenting. I am the poster child for why God is so forgiving. Picture my face, with a GIANT RED RESET BUTTON ON MY FOREHEAD. Got that image. Ok. Well, He uses it on me. A lot.
Why? I’m redundant on this point. I am a broken, hot mess. A spaz. I am in no way shape or form, in control of any situation. All I am in control of is that I can make the choice to get up each day and say this prayer:
“I’m not giving up. I cannot do this alone.
I choose you God to give all of this that I cannot do to you, God.
Because, alone, I am nothing, and all seems impossible.
But with YOU, all things are possible.”
I came into this 4th round of chemo swingin’, as usual. I figured, being that I was over my half way mark of chemotherapy, I knew what I was doing by now. I had this round in the bag! Wrong. I got a little cocky maybe? I enjoyed my good week so much that I didn’t completely prepare as I should. I was scrambling to get the things that I needed. I got off on my routine and schedule of meds, oils, etc. and what I thought to be my “clockwork” understanding of when each side-effect or symptom would start completely changed! Everything started earlier, or jumped to a whole different week. It’s almost like children. Each entirely different and unique. Like each new child, so is each new round. No matter how many I’ve had, some aspects seem like I’m starting over every time, and some aspects feel like I’m a veteran at this the further along I go. I have to prepare as much as possible, but live in the moment and be ready and accepting of whatever comes along, the blessings and the challenges.
Motherhood has probably been the greatest preparation I could have ever had before facing cancer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not comparing motherhood as a negative or a diagnosis. Rather, I’m referring to the beauty of the self-sacrifice, and the growth in one’s effort to look beyond the dirt, the skinned knee, the tears, the bad grade, the broken heart, the vomit, or even just the spilled milk.
Moms help to look beyond the junk, often not even thinking about it, because:
1) Ain’t no momma got time for that.
2) Somebody else is probably crying, and you have GOT to decrease the noise level in the room.
3) It breaks your heart to see them sad, and YOU can see how “little” their obstacle is in the grand scheme of things. So you pull out all the stops to snap them out of it (be it, a “magical mommy kiss” on a boo-boo; an emergency cookie; retail therapy for a broken-hearted teen…).
4)All of the above and so much more because we are natural nurturers.
So as for me, with this whole kickin’ cancer’s butt thang…
… I came in swingin’ wanting to fight like a boss because I was fighting for my motherhood, my role as a wife for my hubbie, and for my whole family. As I have said so often before, I ain’t got time for this! I can’t help but treat myself almost in the 3rd person and start taking care of myself like another kid in the house.
(Yes, if you’ve been following, you may recall my post about my “multiple personality mommies ” that I’ve mentioned. Well, apparently, I’m introducing a kid, too. I’m certifiable. Please no gift packages now of little white jackets. We’ll be fine. I’m most often under close supervision!)
I admit this time. That childlike persona felt more real. I felt more defeated. I felt more out of control. It kept feeling like I was constantly spilling my milk. Sure, I wiped it up every time and poured myself a new glass. Still, I continued to get back up again, always trying. Never giving up. But each night and each morning, spilling again. And I couldn’t figure out why.
I felt a lot like I was just free falling. That’s when I came across that amazing picture again of The Dude and My Hubbie. (Shown once more in black and white):
Now, putting myself as the child free falling. It can feel like
“make old ladies who are nervously watching poop in their pants” kind of scary “you’ll never get your footing again” kind of scary. It can make you question if you ever knew what you were doing. It can make you start looking too far ahead in search of some kind of control. Or, you can look at this picture and look at my son who is just fine because his eyes are fixed on his daddy, in total trust. The Dude has no control and is cool with it. He’s looking no where else, not grasping for anything. He’s free falling into his daddy’s arms. For the first time, I noticed that. That’s when I refocused. And I remembered, all the things around me, its just little things. I gotta quit looking.
“‘Cuz every little thing is gonna be alright.”
I refocused, and I’m back.
My eyes are fixed on my DADDY-GOD, and I’m not panicking on the ferris wheel again, or worrying about all of my responsibilities, or grasping for something to hold on to. I’m not googling to look at my long road ahead, or questioning what’s behind me.
I’m free falling just like my spontaneous, adventurous summers again. Sometimes, I got skinned up. Sometimes, we got worn down on our hikes. Sometimes we even got sick out there. But, we stayed focus and we finished it. One step at a time.
It ain’t over yet, but I’m working on my bucket list, so to speak.
I always wanted to go sky diving, back in my dare-devil days. If you know me, I’ve never stopped talking about it. So… for now, it may not look as beautiful and beachy as my son and hubbie’s pic. But from here under my warm blanket and chemobeanie on my couch…
I’M SKY-DIVIN’ WITH JESUS! WOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!