Sunday, July 19, 2015

Anxiety Got Me Like... (A story about an upcoming road trip)

That awkward moment when you sit and stare at the blank blog page in front of you, your mind spins in 182 different directions (give or take) and you can't even get your first sentence out.

There.  Now that that's outta the way...

So my son has been invited by a college to visit a preview day.  That happens all the time, right?  Colleges send stuff out in masses to high schoolers, us parents take a peek and toss the marketing media into the recycling bin.  Or is that just me?  Anyway, this was different.  My son has never received anything before, because he's only going into his sophomore year.  To make the receipt of this information even more special is that it was an actual letter.  Addressed to him.  From a school that specializes in his particular passion.  Located in the very city he has his heart and mind set on.  You guys, if you could have seen his face upon reading this letter and accompanying brochure.  Wow-just-wow.  I knew then and there I had to make this visit happen for him.  Before I allowed myself to think too much, I did this stuff...

I told God I felt a little crazy, but I was going to go ahead with this.
I submitted a time off request for work.
I registered him for the event.
I told my son he was going.
I held back tears when I saw his priceless reaction of "REALLY, MOM!?!?!"
I yelled back "REALLY!!!"
And then I started thinking.

Bad move.

As I began to map the drive out, my thoughts immediately began to consider ms.  With a bladder that wishes to empty on a 45-60min 'sitting' schedule, that's 3-4 stops.  Got it!  But wait.  This is a big city, which means big traffic...not the sort we're used to out here.  After consulting family members, I decided to take their advice and book a hotel room near to the city, yet out far enough in "Bumpkinland" for me to feel comfy.  It reduces my drive the morning of.  But wait, the next wave of mailings say that parking on campus is discouraged and to take the bus, then a cab.

Okay no.

"If you do wish to park on campus..." (yes, go on) "please consult the enclosed campus map and driving directions.  The enclosed parking permit will be required for use."

Okay good.

But wait.  Let's take a look at this place on the google map.  Why is everything a one way street?  What's the name of that building?  It's blurry in the street level view, but it sure doesn't look like the name they're citing on this brochure.  Great.  Google map is probably wrong.  I can't tell.  Is that seriously where I'm supposed to park?  And is it one of those parking garages that leaves 2" in between cars or am I going to be able to pull in and actually get out without climbing through the back hatch?  (I've had to do that before, people)  How far is the walk from the parking garage to where we check in?  This day runs from 8:30-4:30.  How much walking is that going to be and are there bathrooms all along the way?  Because I'm on like an 'every 10min of walking' bladder schedule.  The date of this thing is awful close to when I've been getting those wicked cluster headaches for the past 3 months.  If I get one of those while I'm down there, I won't be able to do the tour without throwing up.  That would be a great first impression.  This brochure says you can call ahead for accommodations if you have a disability.  I wonder what accommodations those would be?  Like if I get a headache, will they give me a bucket to walk around with?  Would they come pick me up from the parking garage after I crawl and roll out of the hatch of my car on a golf cart and drive me behind the group as if I were in a parade?  Or can I just send my son off with a group and wait in a coffee shop as an accommodation?  Nice and close to a restroom at all times.  It's been taking me no less than 5 minutes to go.  I can't let my shy bladder get in the way of this opportunity for him.  Tour guide be all, "We've lost a guest."  Son be all, "That's my mom, she has ms.  She pees often and for long periods of time.  Carry on."  Speaking of lost, what if I get lost driving from the hotel to the college?  What if he's late? What if I have to go to the bathroom and I'm stuck in traffic and can't?  What if I get lost, after being stuck in traffic, having to pee, with a cluster headache???????

If you read that entire last paragraph as fast as you can, you will have a glimpse into my mind at 3:28am this morning.  At 4-something-am yesterday morning.  And at 2-something-am the morning before.

Why is it so easy for me to not worry about the matter of "how will this education be paid for"?  I'm not at all concerned with that, just as I'm not concerned with how my daughter will attend the college she has her heart set on.  I have the full understanding, peace, and confidence that, if it's what God would have for my kids, He will provide the opportunities to earn the tuition.  When it comes to the part about my role in simply getting my kids to these places?  Commence freak show.  And yes, I have a prescription?  But I'm too afraid to take the pills.  No, really.  If I told you just half of the reactions I've had from meds, you'd understand.

This morning's early wake up call from anxiety brought me straight to the coffee maker.  As I sighed, turned on the computer, and clicked on my radio station, the song "Greatness of Our God" was playing.  And this song?  Happens to speak to everything I've been feeling.  As I was quietly sipping coffee and singing lyrics, I was like...oh.

Give me eyes to see
More of who You are
May what I behold,
Still my anxious heart.
Take what I have known
And break it all apart
For You my God, are greater still.

Thanks, Lord.  I'll try to stop spinning in my crazy, ms-fueled, worrisome thoughts.  Keyword:  Try.

I'll try to enjoy these moments for what they are...the very opportunities that God provides.  I'll try not to let this stupid disease steal my joy and peace.  I want my life to be about being a mother, not a mother with ms.  Just a mother :)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

I'm Already Up Coughing...May As Well Write! (A story about bruises and college and second chances)

To paint the picture...

If you had the misfortune to see me in my entirety, you'd find that I'm more bruises than not.  I've been coughing for about a week, which has done the whole "hey let's inflame everything in her rib cage" deal.  I have some bruising in that area.  In addition, I fell down the stairs earlier this week.  The big ones, not the smaller staircase, because I go big or go home!  Lots of scrapes and bruises to note.  At least my arm is at the purple phase, which we all know means "almost healed".

And sleep?  That's pretty tough.  Between coughing (which brings about the bladder's response) and all over pain from all the bruises, sleep is hard to come by.  You know it's a rough spell when laying still is painful.  

But I don't have time for sleep, you see!  I'm too excited about stuff and being all reflective-like ;)

In just 3 more hours of coughing, my daughter will be checking in to a summer scholars program at a university!  Not just any university, but the one she has her heart set on.  This program is such an exciting opportunity for her, as it speaks directly to her favorite things:  Writing, literature, and God.  She worked hard to get into the program, then worked equally hard to pay for it.  I really can't describe how proud we are of her, as well as how excited we are for her!  The opportunity to attend this program...centered around the things she the school she wants to attend.  Like seriously.  It doesn't get any better.

Wait.  It does, actually.

Speaking of God...

I can't help but feel like this day is a 2nd chance of sorts.  See, back in 1990, my mom took a very anxious me to college.  That awkward struggle of carrying suitcases to the front desk in order to find out where your room is.  The awkward social moment when you walk into that room, bright eyed and bushy tailed, hoping to be met with the friendly face of a person you would be living with for the next year.  Instead, my bright eyed/bushy tailed self was met with a look of annoyance and borderline disgust.  My roommate was a sophomore who made it plain knowledge that she didn't want to room with a freshman.  Meanwhile, there stood my mom, bags in hands, awkward smile on her face.  She showed such kindness to this girl in trying to strike up friendly conversation, offering to rent a refrigerator for us to share.  The roommate rolled her eyes and said she didn't need one.

What wasn't needed?  Was my mom receiving attitude.  But I let that go.

As the weeks went by, the roommate's plan to make my life hell and push me out of the room became more and more apparent.  I tried to reason with her.  Tried to compromise.  Tried to be kind.  Alas, she continued her blatant antics, which escalated tremendously over the course of however long it was until my reasoning turned into...temper temper.  I'll skip the full details, because they're not important, right?  The story ends with me being thrown out of the dorm.

Though I still stand by my actions (one of those "sorry not sorry" moments before that was an actual thing), the part I always wished I could have a redo on was the awkward drop off moment with mom.

Fast forward to present day...

In God's goodness, He brings it all full circle.  This time, I will get to be that mom, dropping her daughter off at college with bursting suitcases (for like, 9 days' worth of classes, but still).  And who will one of the family members standing there with me be?  My mom.  That's pretty neat :)

Scripture says it best:  "See, I am doing a new thing.  Now it springs up.  Do you not see it?  I am making a way..."

Bruises and coughing and lack of sleep can't put a damper on this moment.  The bladder can, but I'm going to try not to think about that.

Oh great.  Now I'm thinking about that.

As I prepare to watch the sun come up over a cup of coffee, I can't help but think back to my college years.  After all, they were some of the most painful times in my life.  Things that go way beyond being expelled from a dorm in my first year.  Now that my kids are looking at schools, I find myself asking God to give them...better.  I don't know exactly what to ask for, just what to ask to "not", if that makes any sense.  I know He has it.  He hears me and translates the mess.

Speaking of messes...c'mon, with me today...we got this ;)

Ah yes.  Time to enjoy this coffee and remember to take the stairs nice and slooooooow...