Saturday, July 26, 2014
It's All Fun 'n Games 'Til Your Kids Go Away For A Week
I don't know about you guys, but it's been a challenging handful of months.
I was describing to a friend how I feel like "early 90s me" (ya know, able-bodied, playing college sports and stuff) one day / and Frankenstein the next. Or the next 2. Okay, maybe the next 5. Wake up the next day...or 3...or 6...and feel like "early 90s me" again.
Stiff gait. Intermittent loss of feeling on the left. New eye flies in the right.
Depression. Fuh-teeeeeeeg (which is the uppermost level of fatigue, for inquiring minds).
Random right hand tremors. Equally random sensations of being bitten by mosquitoes. In one spot. In one leg.
It's awful. No wait. That's actually kinda funny.
The other day, I slapped the back of my leg about 4x before I realized that a bug could *not* be so advanced as to escape my cat-like reflexes and return to the exact same spot on my calf. Repeatedly.
Yesterday morning, I was eating my breakfast and literally threw my scrambled eggs into my own face. To which my son asked, while laughing so hard he could barely breathe, "hand tremor, Mom?"
It's all fun and games.
My son has a way of dealing with a mother with ms, and that way is "humor". He's jokingly referred to himself as my "helper dog". Now read that sentence again and make air quotes, because that's how he does it. Like when I can't find my keys, because they're hiding in my hand. When I can't find my sunglasses, because they're hiding on my head. And when I can't find the cereal, because it's hiding in the refrigerator while my almond milk is hiding in the pantry. Yeah. He helps me find them. All of them. He helps me carry things. He opens doors for me. He puts the clean dishes away/folds the laundry/and just kinda...takes care of things.
My daughter also has a way of dealing with a mother with ms. She stares at her brother when I ask, "where are my (sunglasses, keys, breakfast foods)!!!!". Laughs. And reprimands him when he harasses me about dropping/walking into/forgetting - things. She takes care of our pets. She sweeps the floor. She takes care of the dirty dishes/puts the laundry away/and just kinda...takes care of things.
My servant minded kids. My biggest cheerleaders. My biggest helpers.
...left for a week to work at camp, where they serve and lead children in activities and Bible studies and jello eating contests and hay rides and *not* dishes or laundry or "your keys are in your car that is running".
I've dropped them off for years, but this time was different. This time, I Frankenstein. And Frankenstein mode puts "helper dog" on high alert.
My son insisted on coming with me to unload the car, which is something I typically do so that both kids can catch up with friends they haven't seen since the previous year. He carried all of his sister's belongings into her cabin, then his to his own. He assured me that I would find the set of keys I had misplaced before we left. And he told me not to miss him.
I nestled in under the cover of my window tint and sunglasses, my fuzzy eyes tearing up a little as I watched him walk away toward where the staff was to meet. Several groups of teens walked past him, laughing and having a great time. Rather than trying to integrate with them, he stopped and turned back to wave at me. I tried to make a series of hand motions, symbolizing the fact that I wanted him to catch up with the kids and not bother waiting for this ol' lady to drive off...but he stood there, waving and sorta fake-smiling. I knew this meant I would need to drive past him, because he wanted to know that I was okay. I stopped when I reached him, put my window down, and asked if he was okay. He responded with a trademark "yeah" and returned the question.
Insert trademark "yeah" :'-)
People have often asked me what it's like to be a mother with ms. Imagine their surprise when I say I've been able to see several blessings in it where my kids are concerned. They have a work ethic. They know empathy. They know perseverance. They find joy in doing for others. They understand that the world doesn't revolve around them, because there's something bigger. They're strong in their faith. They know that God is the only constant in their lives - the source of true comfort and peace - a peace that surpasses all understanding. They've seen that this life is not always easy, nor was it ever promised to be. The promise is that the Lord is with us through all of it.
With us when your mother falls down the stairs at your kindergarten classmate's birthday party and knocks herself unconscious. With us when your (then-medicated) mother drives the lawn tractor deep into the driver's side door of her car. With us when your mother asks where the keys are that she's holding.
(I did find those keys, by the way. In the pantry. I kid you not.)
(And to continue parenthetically speaking of the pantry, "helper dog" stole my box of gluten free lemon wafers for camp. I know this, because I had just eaten one before I got ready to drop them off. I do not misplace desserts or coffee...and it would explain his quick trip back inside the house.)
I will miss my baby girl and my helper dog. I pray they will be able to shine a light for the children they're working with and for this week. I pray they'll have a great time reconnecting with their peers. And I pray that I would remember my own words about that comfort and peace. MS may have itself in a tizzy in this particular time, but God is bigger. Bigger than any worries, definitely bigger than what will soon be a sink full of dishes, baskets full of laundry, and randomness strewn about the house.
See ya in a week, kids...
"In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." - Matthew 5:16