Friday, February 22, 2013

Wild Angels

Yesterday I put a hypothetical foot in my mouth via Facebook. I always hate it when people tell half a story on that thing. You should either be comfortable sharing all of it or not tell us any of it, right?
Well, I became guilty of vaguebooking. I didn't say anything, really. But I did say just enough to worry a lot of people. And since I like to reserve Facebook strictly for use of posting big life announcements and sarcastic/witty nonsense, the place it seems most appropriate to share my story is this blog. Let's face it-- much to my husband's dismay, I am pretty much an open book on here. Even so, this will probably be the most difficult thing I share. But I have to write it out, or it just won't go away. The cheap therapy of blogging is a blessing and a curse that way, I guess.

Anyway, here it goes...

Yesterday we received about three inches of a rain/snow mixture. Roughly translated, that means it iced on us. When we were moving to Missouri, one of the selling points we used with our kids was that it would snow a lot here. We bought them snow pants and snow boots and got them all excited. It hasn't actually snowed a single inch since we moved here. All we get is crusty ice. Nevertheless, the kids have been promised fun times sledding in the backyard snow. And since almost all of the ground was covered in white, we figured we'd let them go for it.

I did a quick survey of the yards in front and back and decided I felt comfortable with them doing a teeny tiny slope in our front yard. The backyard hills were bigger, but I was afraid they would crash into our neighbors back fence and get hurt. This bunny hill in the front wouldn't be as exciting, but they would be safe...or so I thought...

After about thirty runs, (each only lasted about five seconds,) my two-year-old climbed onto his sled and started down the piddly hill. Normally he veered off right and leveled out between our neighbor's house and ours. This time, he must have hit a patch that kept him running straight. At first, we were laughing. What fun to be on a sled for seven seconds instead of five! But as I watched him barrel through the gap in our neighbor's hedges, it suddenly wasn't so funny anymore.

I screamed his name and started chasing after him. My husband, who had been shoveling the walkways while we played, was right behind me. Our dog was right behind him. About 40 yards from our house on the other side of the neighbor's is a draw with a dangerous drop-off. I can't tell you with confidence how far it goes down. I guess it never really mattered much until yesterday. What matters is that my son sledded over the neighbor's hedges, across their driveway, out into the street, and straight down that draw.

My husband and dog dove after him and I fell straight to my knees. One of the neighbors had run out at this point to help us. She kept asking if she needed to call 9-1-1. And then, I heard my little boy cry. It was the most beautiful that moment of relief you get after you give birth to your child and he cries. It lets you know he is alright.

After a quick assessment we learned that, no, we did not need to call 9-1-1. My little man had fallen 15 feet down the draw and walked away without a scratch. (His mother is, admittedly, not in as great of condition. But better me than him any day, right moms?)

Why do I share this horrific peek into my awful parenting tactics with you? It's to let you know that even in this crazy world, there are still miracles happening.

My two year old miraculously held onto a sled down a 15 ft drop. That stupid, plastic disc of death is what protected his little body from the rocks and trees down the draw. My little man miraculously avoided all of the pines and rocks as he fell into the draw and his sled was slowed to a stop by a small grouping of saplings just barely peeping out above the ice. My little boy literally fell off the side of a cliff and miraculously walked away without a scratch.

If you know me at all, hopefully you know I'm a believer. But I will admit, I have seen a lot of horrible things happen in this world and wondered "where are you, God?" Yesterday, when I lost sight of my son over the draw and I hit my knees, I know where God was. He was holding my baby boy.

So there you have it. That's what all the vagueness was about.
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Psalm 121:7-8 The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. 8 The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

Now go kiss your babies.
As a happy after-note: Red (a.k.a. the Wonder Dog,) for his courageous acts of valor and selflessness, shall be rewarded a lot more indoor time, table food, and belly scratches. Good boy, Red.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Back from the Dead

I hardly ever get sick. Injured, yes…probably more than most people, in fact. But sick, almost never. And it’s a pretty darn good thing that I don’t, because when it happens, it is always horrible. I power through injuries with the best of them. When I get sick, though, I turn into the biggest baby you’ve ever seen. But in my defense, I’m never whining about just a head cold.

This past week, I was laid out with the holy grail of sinus infections. What started out as tickle in my throat became a horrible monster that gave me an infection in every orifice of my head. Seriously, the doctor shined the little doctor light in all the appropriate places and said things like “oh my” and “oh dear” and “poor momma.” In general, these are not things you want to hear your doctor say about your face holes. When she was done, she said something like, “I think you just earned yourself a couple of antibiotics.” She went on and on after that about how the medicine would cause drainage that might make me feel worse before I felt better, but I wasn’t listening to her as much as I was trying not to pop what I could only guess was a giant bubble that was blowing up inside of my ear. Afterwards, my body carried my floating balloon head to the pharmacy where I somehow managed to grab my prescriptions and drive me and my baby boy back to the house in the rain…which I have to figure was about ten times more dangerous than texting while driving.

I walked in the door and popped all my pills as instructed on the packaging, and then HELP.ME.JESUS. I laid there like a sack of potatoes. My entire face puffed up like it had been stung by bees, but really it was just the nastiness unclogging itself from my innards. My ear bubble popped. A migraine mounted from the building pressure. I became nauseous from the stuff draining out of my chest. Tears and other liquids streamed uncontrollably out of my face. Yeah…gross. I promise you I have seen more attractive people featured in the “Sexy and I Know It” Wal-Mart video on YouTube.

Meanwhile, my son skipped tra-la-la through the house like I wasn’t in the worst pain of my life. I have no clue what he was doing all day. For all I know, there could have been wild animals scurrying around our house. It wouldn’t have made a difference. I wasn’t lifting my beeface one inch. “Mommy, I’m hungry,” he told me at some point around noon… or two. Heck, I didn’t know. I managed to dump some dry cereal in a bowl with a piece of Kraft Single cheese next to it. Bon Appetit.

It has become basic practice of mine not to call my husband home from work unless someone is dying. Well, I sure felt like I was. And now realizing how dangerous it had been driving the car before my head sprung a leak, I figured I really should avoid handling heavy machinery now. I sent the man a text: Please pick up kid #1 from school. Not ten minutes later, he came through the door like one of the heroes in a movie. I swear I heard triumphant music playing as he laid his gear down at the front door. He picked up the girl from school, taking the boy with him. He then took them all to our daughter’s dance class and out to eat for dinner, all after bringing me chicken soup from Panera Bread and setting me up with a season of Glee. Oh, sweet victory…

For like an hour.
After laying on the couch for about a week, I had begun hating the thought of lying on the couch alone. Not wanting anyone to touch me and catch my crusty germs, but desperately missing their cuddles. Knowing I needed to go to bed early at night to heal, but hating missing bedtime stories and a chance to hang out with my husband at night. Enjoying the break from doing the dishes and laundry, but feeling guilty that my superhero husband was getting stuck with all the dirty jobs. I missed my family. I missed my life.

I guess I have been struggling with a case of inferiority lately. Being a stay-at-home mom is certainly rewarding, but I will be the first to tell you that there is much more work to do in the early years than there is when children grow into the preschool years and beyond. I have fiercely independent children to boot, so not only do they not need me as much anymore, but sometimes they don’t even really want me. Lately, (and as evidenced by my last downer of a blog) I have been incredibly bored. A little empty, even. I missed the feeling of accomplishment I got from a day’s work, and I wasn’t feeling like I was accomplishing a whole lot here.

Leave it to a sinus infection to make me realize how na├»ve that feeling really was. Lying on the couch completely helpless made me think of all the things I couldn’t wait to get up and do again. Things like driving my baby girl to and from school and talking to her about her day, and her new friends, and how exciting it was when that one kid from her school stuck a button up his nose. Fixing her hair for ballet practice and watching her through the window without her knowing, beaming at her as she does her toe taps that I see her practicing privately in her room sometimes. Playing video games and computer games with my little man, in awe that he already knows how to manipulate technology so much better than I do. Going down slides with him at the park and watching him learn how to ride his tricycle in the middle of the afternoon on a Tuesday. Giving high fives and “knuckles” when he does a good job on the potty, even if that means going into the customer service restroom at the grocery store three times in a single trip. Making my husband supper and sitting down all together at the table to eat…something that we definitely did not get to do often enough at the last duty station. Making homebrew with him at night and growing into a new hobby together. Checking on our babies together every night and kissing them one last time as they sleep.

I’ve got a lot going on for myself here. A beautiful, happy life and a big job that needs to get done. The most important job…the one where you grow a family.

I am happy to report that though I am not operating at 100%, it is currently safe for me to drive a car. So I can pick up my baby girl from school today and hear about how so-and-so ate a bug at recess. And I have been asked by little man to play a game of Sorry after lunch, which I happily agreed to do. I think I will even initiate a random tickle fight at some point today. Because those are the things that my job entails. Because those are the things worth living for.