Yup. That’s pretty much me.
God decided to bless us with some absolutely amazing, smart, talented, gorgeous children, and … to steal a line from my witty sister-in-law, Janice,
“It kinda feels like I have 5 Ferraris in my garage, yet I don’t have a license.”
I have the full potential to totally wreck these precious masterpieces that have been gifted to me!
I often function on survival mode. If we made it through the day, alive, fed, and happy, then I call it a success! Am I right? No offense to all the crafty pinterest people out there. I’m a creative, gal myself. Atleast, I have creative ideas. I could waste a day pinning my heart out; yet, my follow through is weak. Very very weak. I have the attention span of a gnat. I may begin a crafty type thingamajig with my kids, get as bored or distracted/frustrated as they do, sprinkle a bottle of glitter over it (Glitter makes everyone happy, right?), move on to the dress up trunk and spend the rest of the day in everyone’s fave random costume playing some imaginative game or running errands in them for our own self entertainment. Why not? Especially with Mardi Gras upon us down her in NOLA, it all just makes more sense.
We’re more into entertainment over craft, I guess. We’re social creatures. It’s our morphine.
Although lately, all the parades, the parties, the costumes, there just aren’t enough in the world to heal the struggles that I can see me kiddos grappling with these days. The journey we’re on is getting harder. The treatment itself seems less grueling as far as side effects go; yet the treck on our family is feeling longer. This second half is more confusing to the kids now. It’s equally more difficult to explain to others as to what we’re still doing when they are surprised that I’m “still receiving chemo?” (A: “Yes, I receive Herceptin every 21 days through my port just as I did during my other 6 rounds. It’s just without the other 3 accompanying meds. I’ll continue it through August). It’s tricky for kids to understand fully what radiation is and why mommy really needs to have it if they said the cancer is out, or better yet, to explain it to anyone else for that matter. In fact, people often trail off or walk away as we, or the kids, begin to explain it. (Understandably, It’s not what anyone wants to hear.) Everyone else, much like us, wants to hear that we are all done, or that this radiation is THE END. We’re in the same boat! But, we know it’s long, and boy do we wish radiation was the end. However, we know each treatment is a step closer!
I, personally, feel good about that. I feel very positive about my treatment and know that we’re totally kicking cancer’s butt and am ready to take the bull by the horns with every new step they ask me to take!
My kids? My family? That’s the toughy.
I see they’re worn. They look to me for everything. Radiation does make me tired, but if I can go back in my mind to my “chemo days” and remember to how I got up extra early, got showered, got dressed, got prayed up far before they woke up, then I can show them how we’re gonna face each morning. Then they can cue off of that energy. They can go “Punch the day in the face!” They can look to God and say or regular morning prayer:
“THANK YOU FOR WAKING ME UP AGAIN TO ANOTHER BEAUTIFUL DAY!
HELP ME TO BE A LIGHT OF CHRIST TO ALL THAT I SEE TODAY.
AND HELP ME TO SEE THAT SAME LIGHT OF CHRIST IN EVERYONE I SEE TODAY.
HELP US AND EVERYONE ELSE OUT THERE WHO NEEDS PRAYER TO KICK CANCER AND EVERY OTHER AILMENT OR CHALLENGE’S BUTT!
That’s what I’m gonna have to do. They need me. They need prayers. They need that same overwhelming faith that we have been clinging to from the beginning, but maybe have taken for granted in reminding them how to do it on their own. Maybe I’ve assumed they knew because it’s always been such a part of us. But NOW… the road is rocky and the mountains are before us, and we need a lesson on “the extreme sport of faith“.
I’ve felt so helpless. I HATE to see my family so broken. I want to take their pain for them. I wish they never had to go through any of this. I wish I never had to ask anyone for help, or that no one ever had to watch me go through any of this. If I could freeze time, crawl in a cave, cure myself of cancer so that no one else would have to deal with it , then unfreeze time once it was all said and done, I would . Any mother would. But the reality is that we are here, and we are all going through this together. It is what it is. I don’t have cancer alone. My family does. When one person is diagnosed, consider their family and their loved ones diagnosed as well. I realize that.
(AND, CANCER, YOU’RE SOOO GONNA PAY FOR THAT… MARK MY WORDS!)
Things have been just coming out “sideways” at home (as we say). My kids love each other. We’re all very close, often hanging out all in the same room, on the weekends and evenings, no matter how many new toys they’ve just been given for Christmas or birthdays, or whatever. They still all wanna be together, all on top of my husband or myself (like a litter of puppies piled on top of the mama dog) …even on the same spot on the couch, although we have many other chairs available in the house. Yet, lately, they’ve been bickering and fighting with each other. Splitting off to play and randomly “biting each other’s heads off” about the most ridiculous things. Granted, I know it’s normal, and yes, our kids do that, too. But lately, it’s just been different then the normal bickering. It’s been below the belt. Harsh. Unlike them.
It’s really kept me up at night. I’ve prayed hard. I’ve worried. I knew it was because of me. It weighed on me, leaving me feeling responsible because of my illness. How can I take this away from them? …. I can’t. I have to help them work through it. We’re in this together. And just like I have to go through each stage of treatment. I have to show them how to go through each stage of grief and counsel them through each feeling of “Mommy’s being cured of Cancer… STILL.”
I prayed for the moment, for the opportunity to present itself and for just the right words. I love these guys with every piece of me. God knows that they are my heart living and breathing on the outside. They are what gets me through; therefore, HE will present the opportunity. I had to trust that He loved them even more than I did and would help us.
The moment came just a few nights ago.
After a night of each of the kids randomly breaking off into ridiculous bickering arguments over chores, toys, picking out shows on t.v., or whatever. I reached my limit. I stood up, ready to “release the kraken!” Instead, a tingling sensation came over me. (No, it wasn’t the wine from dinner) It was, I feel, the Holy Spirit. Why? Because I stopped, did not raise my voice and walked upstairs taking them two at a time to the playroom (beginning with the oldest girls). I don’t have that kind of self control on my own, and neither does the wine. That’s divine, right there.
I felt God telling me that conversation wasn’t gonna cut it today. Time outs, threats, taking away kindles or other random punishments were just scratching the surface. Something deeper was happening. These kids have some anger that needs to be acknowledged, released, channeled, and then prayed about.
So… I did what my tomboy at heart-mommy-self would do, and decided we should “start kicking some tail”. The girls’ punishment was to clean up the toys that were in my way as I set up a “concert for them , so to speak”. And that’s all I could tell them. I then dusted off my old cd collection from high school and college, finding all the best girl empowerment cd’s that I could to make a good butt-whoopin’ playlist. Next, I yanked the enormous couch pillows off and set them up to standing (child-height) all around the room. Finally, I gave them each pirate swords from the dress up tub in the corner; directed them towards their own side of the room full of “cancer pillows”; and told them to kick their butts and yell whatever the heck they wanted at them while I played some tunes.
First, they looked a little confused, naturally. But, being the spaz that I am, I got the ball rolling with a demonstration as Gloria Gaynor’s “I will Survive” played in the background (followed by Beyoncé’s “I’m a Survivor” & “Independent”). “For example“, I explained, (while kicking and punching the pillows) “Cancer, I HATE you! I’m made at you for making me yell at my sister. I didn’t want to yell at my sister. I wanted to yell at you, not her. I love her. I hate you! You can’t make me yell at my family anymore. You don’t get to win!!!”
Within seconds, they snatched those swords right back and had tons of things to say. Through tears, through laughter, ’til they were hoarse. It was such a release. It broke my heart to hear that they had so much to say, yet made me so happy to see them so relieved and dancing at the end together, inviting their other siblings in, as they each came knocking , curious one by one.
By the time, the Dude came, the music quickly changed to the old original Star Wars soundtrack, and they bobbed and weaved through an imaginary space world, together, attacking “Darth Cancer“. It was glorious! Definitely a keeper activity for the back pocket. They’ve been told, if they ever need to “release”, they must first, before doing so on a family member, come get me, and ask if they can go to the game room to “kick some butt” and I’ll set them up. (Better I know first, to forwarn the others to not approach that room!)
Most importantly, we didn’t leave it there. Anger release is just that and only that, if left alone. In other words, we took off the bandaid. We got to the infection and diagnosed it. Now it’s time to soothe it with a lil’ prayer ointment. And we did. We wrapped up our evening with our family prayer time, always praying for the intentions of everyone in our prayer box and book (from the blog here and others that have asked for prayers to be offered), and for healing for our own family. There was indeed a new sense of peace amongst our children and in the house as a whole.
We’re a work in progress. We’re on an uphill climb and we cannot let go of this rope. It’ll be a slow and steady pull to reach the top. Yet, we have faith that our rope WILL NOT BREAK.
We know that we DO have a lot on our plates. We know that we have a big family and that already was a lot that we discerned and chose to take on. It meant that when faced with trials such as the one that we’re facing now, we still would have the responsibility of these 5 little faces looking back at us. I still wouldn’t trade it for the world. In fact, they have gifted me in a way that I never knew they could. My heart grew with every conception. With these 5 kiddos here and our 3 angels in Heaven, my heart is 8 times bigger than before. Because my name is MOMMY.
Even that dirty, stinky little tom boy that I was back in the day, knew she wanted to be a Mommy. That little girl wanted to have a whole big mess of kids, and thank God, that He sent me a guy just right for me who had the same dream. Without these guys, I don’t know where I’d be. They keep me going. They keep me focused. They keep my “head in the game”. They’ve got me more focused on wearing crazy outfits and working on a theme for them for each radiation treatment vs. worrying about side effects of what I’m going through. Because, why should I? As long as I’m doing all that I need to do to take care of my health, my diet, and my skin, which I do. Then, why worry? Why not have a little fun? Why not laugh?
From the beginning, I’ve been singin Marley’s “Three Little Birds“, and I’ve remained worry-free, for the most part, in that regard. I’ll play it on my ipod shuffle during radiation treatments as I go along these next 6 weeks. However, I might add that for these kiddos who keep me going, and who need prayer now more than ever, I’ll keep singing the same song to them every night that I’ve been singing since they were newborn babes…
They truly are. They are my sunshine. My kids, my husband, my family, and my God. They make me happy when skies are grey. They make brave. They make me strong. They make me whole. It’s my turn to call upon you all for all the graces you can possibly pour out to shower this way over my kiddos (and my family as a whole)… so that they, too, can be happy and healed, when those skies are grey.
Thank you in advance!