Yup, that’s Me. ALL. DAY. EVERY. DAY. No way, you too?!?!!!
So PART 2: has taken longer than expected, but here’s to me trying, right?
I never intended to make a PART 1 OR PART 2, but it wasn’t a matter of any major announcement to keep you waiting (sorry, folks!) but it was simply a matter of “life happens”. I ran out of time in my schedule when writing my blog and had to “adjust my sails” as I often say, and retitle the topic as I had to run out to carpool Thus adding “PART 1″ to the beginning of the title” as I scooted out the door, with every intention to come right back to it the next day to repost with a “Part 2”. However, each day conflict after conflict, whether good or completely challenging, I chose what/who was needing my focus right in font of me instead of my writing to my bloggers here. I’m sorry, but it’s much like knowing when to to put your phone on silent at gatherings and even checkout lines to present to people in front of you whether you know them or not. It’s part of being human and relational. We’ve become part of a very unrelational world.
So, now that all are in school and I have a bit of time before I head out to hopefully watch my oldest march in a parade (if my side effects calm down and cooperate with me soon!), I may have just enough time to wrap this up and write the way I love and feel so called to do. ( And this is where I paused writing again, noticing the time, to go quickly drive over to park and literally run on the side of the road to catch up and meet up to walk a few blocks and take pics/videos of my girls marching with their squad and friends in the local parade!- So hot! And yes, I’m pooped from those few blocks; although other moms walked the whole parade that I just couldn’t handle this year, but I did it! Atleast I could tell my presence wasn’t as well needed/wanted by my now older girlies as it may have been before. Ohhh how the punches in the gut just keep a’comin! Side effects of chemo sometime don’t even compare to the “side effects of parenting” these days! Right? Oy Vey!
But just as this mama will never stop fighting with all I’ve got to be here, whether they like it or not, I’ll never stop parking and running along the side of the road to catch up to them as they march in each parade no matter how I’m physically feeling or how they’re emotionally feeling about me being there. Because I’m that mom that wants them to know I never stopped trying and did all I could to never miss a thing. Whether they liked it or not, I wanted to be there, and if I was able I was. And if I wasn’t able, I was texting obnoxious texts and sticking goofy notes in their bags no matter what their age in their lunches and school bags to let them know I was thinking about them during the day from the couch or infusion chair. But ya know what? Tired or not tired, sick or not sick, I’m always glad I came. This week, after jumping right back into the schedule to see my youngest three jump in the car from afternoon carpool and go right into running each of their cross country races in record high heat with heats (which is pretty darn high being that we live in southern Louisiana), I loved the fact that I could be there to see my little Snuggles give it all she had for the “Tiny Tots 1/2 mile race”, and watch my Firecracker really kick it into high gear for the 2nd lap of her mile and explode like the firecracker that she is! Not to mention, I watched the Dude take off ahead of all the rest as has been his dream, training early every morning and every evening, with special workouts, training with his Dad, paying close attention to all that he eats and drinks (particular the nights and mornings of big races and games). He’s so focused and driven. This was a well deserved win and this mama couldn’t have been prouder. Thank you, Jesus, that I was there to see it!! There’s been a lot of bucking and push- back, but in these moments, when there are these moments when there are the wins… I am so grateful for the smiles! And the chance to smile with them! Or even just make them smile!
Thus, this brings us back to where I left off at the end of PART 1…
In case you need any catching up, this is a continuation of (click below to catch up) PART 1: TURN TURN. ITS BEEN A SEASON! TURN TURN. MY BROKEN RECORD!! (A lil’ wordy for a title, right?)
I had all sorts of plans of what I was going to do this summer/ once kids started school/ any day really: declutter AGAIN, reorganize AGAIN, make another stab at blogging finally AGAIN, prep for a trip to see a dear friend and her new bambino (that actually JUST happened!! So amazing to see and “just be” with an old friend, find normalcy in a fam just like yours, and snuggle with such a sweet babe of only 3 weeks old! ❤ !) It was good for me to, at last be the one to offer help when so often these past few years, I’ve been on the other end BEING HELPED. So healing. However, after laughing and playing the “fun aunt role” for a few days, cutting my trip short by a day to fly home for a family funeral that couldn’t have been blessed more, quite honestly through God’s timing. God rest the soul of my “Aunt Gayle”, actually 1st cousin to my mom and God mother to my oldest brother, “Fr.Beau”. My trip and return home was annointed; however, needless to say one I came home to my family, after returning right back to our normal return the very next day, I went to finish this blog and fell right over to sleep for a good 4 1/2 hours until heading out to carpool and straight on to a very impressive but very sweaty cross country meet 35 minutes away! (However, as I mentioned in above captions, The Dude ran an epic race for a 1st place win! Such admiration for his passion and determination coming in to a new school and brand new sport. He’s so happy here and eating up everything they’re offering him! Love it and love the way his little sisters want to follow in his footsteps to do all that he does, too! Great example!
But just as I had to stop and put my computer down while posting and realize that just being with my girls who were sick at home and needing me 100% and totally focused on them was clearly more important. Being wife and mommy always has to come first. They’re what has always gotten me out of bed when I’ve felt the weakest and sickest. They’ve been my motivation to keep fighting. This big old family is my WHY!
So when they need help fighting… I’ve gotta stop everything else and focus on them, pray with them and be there total care giver the whole way through just as they do for me… foot rubs and all:) Although playing outside or seeing them happy and laughing while I read stories vs. dreary eyed, dopey from oral surgery sedation from one and sniffly and coughing from the other… I was still happy to be present and able to finally play my mommy rule as I’ve been so rarely able to these past few years.
As in the title of the original post, having my children ask for me and just plain need me felt good. Other than the initial drive to and from the appointment, after that… the most energy (as physical fatigue has become a rather large issue/side effect in my at home/oral chemo), required of me that day was to lay near them👍.
SO HERE IT GOES…
THE PART 2 that I never got back to…
Where was I?
Yes, the riddle….
“I am something on a home or hut, but NOT on the beach. When there, you can hang something that keeps schedules, which is why I stay clear. Yet people seem to find ways to bring them down to the beach anyway! “Oy Vey”, I say, “Get outta my Vacay! “
I like my beach time and summertime…
THE ANSWER: WALLS/CLOCKS .
from the different entries who responded via email
before midnight once posted ….
OUR 2 WINNERS ARE:
*LYNN RESTEL (“WALLS”)
*LAUREN BIEHL (“CLOCKS”)
*They’ve been contacted, I’ve received their address, and will be sending them a surprise in the week ahead! Congrats, ladies!!
I just got a little something on my trip to see my friend to send your way and will be mailing a lil’ something to each of you as soon as I can. No worries. I haven’t forgotten.
Back to the Blog,
In case you need any catching up, This a continuation of Part 1: Turn. Turn. It’s Been a Season Turn. Turn. My Broken Record… and true what I was planning to update you about how this season has been going… I could hardly find a moment to finish a PART 1 to my blog, much less follow it up with a PART 2. Much like the majority of us, if not all of us, I start out each day with a plan, or atleast an idea of how things are gonna go and what I’m gonna accomplish. Pssssh! Around kid #3, I learned real quick what to do with lists! When you get in the store and all the kids are falling apart, you quickly tear off ATLEAST half of the list and focus on the basics: milk, eggs, bread and maybe a favorite fruit. Oh! and a frozen pizza and bagged salad (bc at this rate, it’s gonna be that kinda dinner tonight!) . But hey, you adjusted your sails and you did it!
This summer, I had to do an almost hourly sail adjusting!
It was summer, my kids were all home with me, we’re part of a club with a pool that’s practically a stone’s throw from our house. It’s just too easy, right? Well usually, yes.
However this is the first summer that I was no longer was taking my chemo through infusions at the Mary Bird Perkins infusion suite. Rather, I take a handful of oral chemos and others for side effects in the a.m. another one or two for side effects with lunch and my last dose before bed. Whew! Just listing it is exhausting. Much less, trying to manage my crew all summer through what I thought would be our fun, fly by the seat of our pants, lazy pool days of summer. However, mama was fighting through daily fatigue as if I was walking in quick sand. I slept late nearly every day like it was my job because I felt I had no choice but to just keep snoooooozing. (Never thought I’d miss the infusion suite like I do now. Having someone there to have you’re medicine already pre-ordered; in other words, I didn’t have to keep track of how many pills I have left and phone the specialty pharmacy across the country to put another rush on one of my chemos … again! OY!
But when I still go to have my port “flushed” as they do in the infusion suite, or get some fluids to give me a little boost… It’s like a reunion! I’m so happy to see everyone, it feels so warm and friendly, and we all greet each other with such warm big hugs. We miss each other! So different from the first time I entered and, although the nurses were very friendly, I felt so uncomfortably new and unaware of everything I saw, words being spoken seemed so foreign, and I seriously had no clue of what lied ahead. But now I know that it was just as it should be. Why in the world would I have known? No one should. However, now I miss those people and the place that once seemed so foreign and unfamiliar. I miss the strangers who so quickly became family and the place that became home. I miss the support of others at my side.
The top BIGGEST Ups and Downs of Our Summer Ride…
On the Upside, who do I have at my side? I have the ones I love most. I have the little wee one, Snuggles, who I weened so quickly when I first found my lump, who now is 5 and in Kindergarten! This little strong willed cutie finally shed her floaties and decided to put her last 2 yrs of swimming lessons (where she swam each time but has been too afraid to try swimming on her own consistantly since) into action! She tossed all pool noodles and kickboards aside one day and said “I’m coming Mommy, are you ready?!” Me: “Yes Yes, Miss Thang! Show me what you can do!” And she just did it with the cutest little wiggle the whole way! Her siblings all got in on the action taking turns passing her all around the pool, Rooting her on the whole day. True Highlight of the summer (Both her swimming AND watching all of our big family make such a wonderful scene in the middle of the nice health club pool. A moment when I felt like saying, “See y’all, that’s what big families are all about!!” (Not to miss the point that …”Somebody give me a cookie or something because, Whew! I have 5 kids swimming! I have finally arrived (almost) to the point where I can relax at the pool; wether I’m in or out of the water!) . Maybe one more summer of stronger swimming for Miss Snuggles and I’ll feel much more confident with her around pools and water. Maybe start saving for my dream of having a pool of our own … one day!!…
On a more challenging note, I could say that this summer, as written in the title, this season, could go down in history as one of my most challenging to date! As I mentioned, a few times before, I’m no longer in the infusion suite, but still taking chemo. Only I take chemo every day now, both morning and night. Every other week I’m taking 2 chemos at the same time. Although I’m out and about because I’m no longer as booked up with all weekly infusion suite schedules, I find myself to be much more fatigued than before. I’m more fatigued both because of the side effects that both of these chemos bring on their own even if I was able to take them sitting in a lazy boy chair all day and cared for to make sure I was given proper rest, fluids, etc. as I did with infusions; but on the contrary, I’m on my own trying with all my might to do all the things I’m supposed to be doing as Mommy. I want to be there and fully present, in the middle of all the action as much as I possibly can, whenever I can. I don’t want my kids to miss out on anything because “Mom’s sick … again.” Soooo, I tend to push super hard one day, take them to the pool as we usually do, stay for as long as we possibly can stand, because that’s just what we do in the summer. That’s what I’ve always done since I was a kid. That’s the definition of a regular “summer” for me and my kiddos. But the fatigue that was strangling me like heavy chains at my ankles at all times or even quick sand at each step has been making nearly every part of my desire for fun with my family exhausting and something that I’ve had to really rally myself to achieve. It’s their summer, too, and when there are a group of 5 kids ranging from age 5 to 15, they need a lot more action and activity then the periodic trip to the pool. Even at my best, that may have worked when they were all younger, but it’s not the same anymore. I’m not at my best these days to handle it all and figure out the new levels and needs of parenting all of these ages. Life is much more complicated now in many definitions of our situation. As I’m sure many of you can understand with varieties of ages in your homes.
OUR USUAL SUMMER ROUTINE:
- Wake up, breakfast, clean our rooms, make our beds, put on our suits and flip flops, throw a change of clothes in the big pool bag and head to the pool.
2) Stay ’til we’re wiped.
3) Come home and watch a show together ’til some zonk (Mommy, too) then meet with friends or cousins for a snowball or afternoon playdate if we didn’t already see them at the pool. Play a game of TV dinner Food Show Competition for lunch or dinner plans and wrap it up with a daily chore of mommy’s choosing (laundry, backyard watering and walk & pick up after dogs, or everyone choose one from a list).
Maybe it wasn’t everybody’s jam, but it was ours, and it was fun, and I loved that time with my crew! But this was “a season” for us, a tough one. One that we had a new chore chart (I didn’t like that part, none of us did. I’d survived parenting 15 years without one, but I gave in and said I’d try to do it. It became like the clock on the unforeseen walls on my beach! And it became the thing that we dreaded every day. The thing that they fought over every morning and fussed with me about while at the pool while we drove home from from the pool and as soon as we came back home. It was what they worked on as soon as they woke up and as soon as hey got home from anything and what I managed all summer. It seems silly. But that little chart overruled us all. I know it isn’t actually the chart, but it became a source of argument, a thing to talk about and a distraction from our activities and our conversations even when we weren’t home.
Suddenly, everyone only spoke about whether or not someone else was doing what they were supposed to instead of helping one another and focusing on what they had to do vs. picking on each other. Suddenly picking the speck out of each other’s eye, when all the while there’s a great big plank in their own” became the focus of our summer” . And it hasn’t left us! My mother’s heart felt so broken. My desire to fight to be a part of this family felt so hurt and my drive to keep on truckin’ started to get harder and harder because I’ve felt so weight down by all the stress of teaching love, love, love to everyone around me who just fights about chores, chores, chores. It’s the antithesis of who I am.
God is love. If we can look around us and truly notice God in one another and see GOD in one another and see HIM in every moment and every gift and blessing in our lives, in every storm, how can we complain?!?!
I’m baffled. Truly. I know how much my family has gone through .
I know how much my children have seen, felt, and heard.
But to see and hear and feel them hurt and hurt each other is another punch in the gut.
So I’m challenging each of you as I’m challenging them each day…..
Each day as we drive to school, I’ve always asked the to “Be a light of Christ to all those they encounter and to SEE the light of christ in those they encounter.”
But, now, I ask them to also look for not only 5-10 GOOD things in their day, but especially when they want to stop and say “WHY DOES THIS ALWAYS HAPPEN TO ME?! THIS DAY IS TERRIBLE! But instead, STOP! Right there and look for GOD in that moment, and ask for HIM. Ask Him to show them where He is. Call to Him in that moment. And then tell me later where the GOD moments were. (GOoD – GOD moments are Good moments with just one less “o”!) . If God is flooding their life, God who is LOVE, and we’re stopping to notice it, How much more will we be speaking and active more in a Godly and LOVING way!
And how much more will I be able to Love more unconditionally toward my family. God who is love, loves us truly and UNCONDITIONALLY. Wow! (As a priest, Fr.Lou told me once this summer) His grace is Love- freely given! Soaking that in. Soaking that in for the past few months in prayer at the adoration chapel. Then it hit me!
“So God, here’s my problem. Why do I hurt so much when my children react a certain way to me? Why can’t I continue to just love them unconditionally without hanging my neediness on these children and instead just hang my needs on You, Daddy-God, who loves perfectly and can truly fill my needs and refill me as a mommy. I mean really! Why haven’t I really really put that in practice. I mean, Only He can strengthen me to do all I need to do. And I know this, but its do dang hard!!! I never knew I was so needy. Never knew that at all, Until it came to just me snd my kids and they started growing up! I’m suddenly all teary and stuff🤦♀️
Oh, but there’s God! Oh yeah! And He gets those moments when we, as parents get a lil’ rejected and a lil’ humbled, and He’s like “Yeah, I get you. It’s no joke.”
After all He said, “Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his home town.
My dear Elise,
Your posts are so inspiring and uplifting. You are truly a Blessing to Gwen and I and we remember you in our prayers. The last week of September we were at the National Quartet Convention and that Friday morning listened to a sermon by Dr. David Jeremiah who has faced cancer a couple of times and now one of his daughters has MS. His sermon taken from chapter 6 of his book, “Every Thing You Need”, was on perseverance and I immediately thought of and said a prayer for you.
May God Bless you and heal you as you go through this awful journey.
Mitch and Gwen Fournet
Elise, thank You for letting us know how things are. Jason and the kiddos are blessed with a Magnanimous Mom, Be You Blessed, Love, Kelley’s Mom. and Jim
Thank you for sharing your heart and your struggles. Whew. The chore chart. That’s a tough one. There are days when I can stick my hands down long, inside out, sweaty soccer socks and smile with the gratitude that our children are healthy and active and then there are days when I want to boil the socks and serve the soup to them for supper.
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Ha! totally hear ya. Grateful, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
Elise, Thanks for the update! You are a tough cookie!!! 🍪 I’m keeping you on my prayer list. Although we don’t know each other, as a 2 year breast cancer survivor I admire your faith & perseverance. I have prayed for you daily since Lauren, a Facebook friend from high school, asked for prayers for you. Stay strong, Buna! Love, Judy
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i so appreciate every prayer. Thank you, Judy.
💗 I hear this! Love you
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❤️❤️❤️❤️ love you my friend!
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Elise- I feel ya… I too have been struggling with fatigue as my seizures ramped up a little and I find myself consumed in guilt and shame when I can’t do everything… when I am off my game the house is off their game and it seems like all I hear is bickering and anger that I am not a “normal” mom… I wish they could sometimes see all the Good that is happening around them; LSU games, friends sleeping over, Saints games, etc. Sure I have help sometimes but I almost always figure out away to make what they want to do happen… I need to pray for their continued healing and my acceptance of my limitations and know in my heart it ha nothing to do with my love for them if my body just can’t go anymore… But it’s sooo hard… Thanks for sharing…
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Gurl! You gotta come over for lunch sometime! We still never got to have you over for that dinner to thank you for all the Disney memories!!! Let me know of a few nights or days in the week or weekend that’d work best, and we’ll make it happen! One for just me and you w no kids😉
And another for a night w the kids to look over pics and tell you stories of all the fun we had and thank you for everything!!!!! They’ve been waiting to meet the amazing “Mrs.Elizabeth”/ Mysterious & Magical Ms. Oz✨💫✨💫
I needed to hear this! Thank you! We miss seeing all of your faces and hope the kids are enjoying school! Think about you often and pray for you daily! Love!
Thanks so much for all the prayers & I’m glad this was useful to somebody💕
Kids have had such a smooth transition into their new school, though I admit when faces like yours pop up, it does tug at us and all the familiar faces we remember and miss & just wish they’d come join the party over here!!
Your comments warm my heart and point out how we as mothers try to do it all and should give ourselves a break for things we can try to control but may not be able to because we need to give our children their time and space to learn about their futures by viewing our actions guided by our Lord. We give life our best shots.
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Thats so true, Diane. I found it easier to let Go and Let God with my diagnosis from the very beginning and always throughout w each new relapse and feat of treatment than I do now with chemo at home and with parenting new realms of ages, learning each day diff challenges of where to step in and when to hold back and pray for God to shoe me his presence to know He’s there and “doin’ His thing, you can back down now, Elise.” But mama bear is used to being mama bear. Hard to learn new tricks. Hard new ways of “space”, not only letting go when it’s my life, but letting go of parenting sometimes ,in the sense of the emotions of it. Being their mom and disregarding the flack that you might get back.
Mary Untier of Knots has started over on a whole new ball of knots on us. Oy vey!!🤷♀️😉