Yesterday around lunchtime, I got a text from my sister-in-law with awful news. I was out shopping during my lunch break and checked my phone while walking out of the store. As soon as I started reading, I just lost it. After seeing words like “things aren’t good”…and “growth and spread” my mind just went completely empty. I was devastated. I still am. After I calmed down I drove back to work. What I did for the rest of the day, I have no idea. I’m so angry. It’s just not fair. How can this happen? How does God let things like this happen? The word “cancer” just makes me sick to my stomach. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to explain this to my kids. I tried last night but there’s no good way to do it. Mackenzie was really upset. It hurts so much as a parent to know that you can’t heal their pain. I don’t know what the right thing is to do…for my kids, for Jonathan and Jacki, or for Harlan. I love them all so much. All I know is just to be there. It doesn’t sound like much, though. I only wish I could make everything better but I can’t. I just have to write about it because that’s the only way to get some of this stuff out of my head. Please forgive my random thoughts.
It makes me think of a line from a movie…”God is a mean kid sitting on an anthill with a magnifying glass, and I’m the ant. He could fix my life in five minutes if He wanted to, but he’d rather burn off my feelers and watch me squirm” (Bruce Almighty). Where Jonathan, Jacki, and Harlan are the ants. They’ve been through enough. They’ve suffered enough over the past several years. In under four years, Harlan has suffered more than most adults have in a whole lifetime. It just makes me angry. Angry with God. I’ll admit, I don’t feel like I have very strong faith in certain things. I can’t wrap my head around the fact that there is a bigger plan for Harlan (or anyone else that is suffering) because I don’t see that part of it…I only see the bad parts of stuff happening here on this Earth, where I am. I struggle with just letting things go and letting them happen as they are “supposed to”. I envy those with strong faith but for some reason I just can’t do it. That’s a whole other discussion for a different day that I don’t want to get into right now…but the main point here is just that I’m furious.
So, squeeze your kids’ necks while you can and tell them you love them every chance you get. No one is promised tomorrow. The fortune cookie that I had last night with my dinner was very fitting…”Seize every second of your life and savor it.”
I am now officially a mother of a teenager now. This birthday has been really tough for me to accept! I just can’t believe that she is just growing up so fast. Sometimes it’s too fast and sometimes it’s not fast enough :) These hormones are no joke. I can remember exactly when that first contraction hit around 4am on August 27, 2001. I remember pacing around our little kitchen in so much pain, trying to stick it out at home as long as I could. I remember being so young and thinking that nothing could go wrong…I had planned on having a natural, drug-free childbirth. My plan had gone exactly as I wanted up until the midwife discovered that Mackenzie was breech. I had already gotten all the way to 10cm in just 6 hours…which I thought was pretty good for a first time labor! Then all hell broke loose and all these nurses were flying around us trying to get me ready for an emergency c-section. Everyone looked worried, which worried me. The pain was the only thing that kept my mind distracted. Finally, I was taken back and Mackenzie was born at 9:52am, and everything seemed perfect again! (Here is the whole birth story, if you’re interested)… She had a head full of hair and had all her fingers and toes. I remember her cry was like a little squeal…she really had some lungs on her! She had a tough time at the beginning, with a long hospital stay in the NICU due to pneumonia. During that time, they found out she had a hole in her heart, too. After she recovered from all that, she was a healthy baby. Between her brother and sister, she’s got the medal for the most hospital visits so far…4…with a total of about 40 days spent in a hospital for various reasons. Even still, she was very sweet and loving, but very determined and stubborn. She was a colicky baby, which wasn’t fun at all. Very much a “high needs” baby, as I think it’s called now…really demanding, intense, sensitive, and exhausting! But we got through it. She was an early talker and early walker…always on the go and learning new things. She was and still is smart…if only she would apply it to all of her schoolwork :) She is so creative and always had an imagination. You could always tell that she would do something later on in her life where she could use those skills. Maybe a lawyer, because she certainly is persistent and will try to talk you into something in a heartbeat!
She is very loving and loves affection, which I love. I love it that she still hugs on me and has never been that kid who seems to be embarrassed of being around their parents. I hope it stays like that. I’ve tried to always tell her that she can always tell me anything and I won’t judge her…and that no matter what she does in life or who she chooses to love that I’ll support her. She has come to me and asked my advice on different things, so hopefully that means I’m doing something right. It’s just downright terrifying to know that she is a teenager now, with all those what-ifs and unknowns out there. I was an extremely well-behaved teenager that was scared to death to do anything wrong…but I know what other kids were out doing, and that’s the stuff that scares me. I can’t lock her in the house and forbid her to do anything; so at some point I just have to hope that I’ve raised her with enough common sense and good judgement to make the right decisions. Luckily she hasn’t been too interested in boys yet, but I know it’s coming sooner or later (hopefully later!). I remember the first time my heart was truly broken was when I was 14; my freshman year in high school. I was just a mess and it was pretty pathetic, but knowing that’s only a year from now for her is just frightening! Not to mention that my mom was around that age when she met my dad and they’ve been together ever since. I was only 15 when I met Michael and we’re still married! But, I digress…
I think that this summer has changed her outlook on some things, for the better. Or at least I hope it has taught her that life has some bumpy parts but you just have to keep going until the road gets smoother. It certainly brought us closer…being cooped up in a room with someone 24/7 for weeks on end will do that!
Happy Birthday, Mackenzie!