So here I am awake.
It’s normal; for me at least. It’s normal for me to find myself completely unable to shut my brain down. So I think over the day; the week; the month; the year and sometimes even over events from decades ago.
My problem is that instead of thinking on the good things; the positive; I fixate on the stupid and the bad. I rehash the words I said and kick myself for the stupidity that comes out of my mouth. How could I have said that? Why couldn’t I just keep my mouth shut? What was I thinking; was I thinking???
I can’t seem to let it go. And as I think over the day; weeks; month; years I see that wisdom does not seem to be present. I feel terrible for the hurtful things I’ve said; for the soapbox or rant I’ve gone on. And even though in some cases years have passed when that memory surfaces I just want the earth to open and swallow me whole. I can’t seem to find a way to forgive myself and move on. I succeed for a little while but when the memories come flooding back… well a dark hole is where I’d like to be.
Why is it so difficult for me to let things go? Why do I beat myself to a pulp for years?
Tonight is another late night.
The memories are rushing back.
I’m so tired…
I just want to sleep …
If you were to ask my kids they would probably tell you I hover. I am always checking on them, asking if they need anything and if anyone hurts them…look out! Mama bear will be lurking in the shadows just waiting to take out the culprit(s). If that makes me a helicopter-mom then so be it; although I do think I’m getting better about letting the older two handle things on their own.
Today I’ve coined a new phrase “helicopter-wife.” My dear husband chuckled (yes out loud, which is very rare) at the new term. I feel the need to hover and check on him constantly! I worry about every second he isn’t with me. I am very much aware that I will need to get over my fear(s) and allow him room to breathe.
This is a new reality for us – epilepsy means a new way of doing things. It means learning to live a “new normal”. It means for now he doesn’t drive… so I take him everywhere. It means when he says things like “my face is vibraty” I find a chair and make him sit. Or when he gets quiet for too long I ask if he is ok.
See not every seizure is like what you see on TV or YouTube. Some are virtually unnoticeable; that’s why it has taken so long to find out what is going on. Because each seizure is different I never know what to expect. So for now I hover… always at the ready. I guess you could say my “new normal” includes the title “helicopter-wife”; maybe now my kids will get a break from helicopter-mom.
A week ago today the phone call came. We knew deep down what she was going to say but still we hoped. We hope we were wrong while knowing there was no other answer. So the news wasn’t a shock; it was more of a heavy blanket of acceptance that settled over us. Well, over me at least.
The final verdict- epilepsy.
I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding; epilepsy.
Now it has a name; now I can research and move into action. Now I can figure out what the heck I am supposed to do instead of sitting helplessly watching him suffer. Research says… take his keys; don’t let him drive; and sit and watch helplessly; oh and try to protect his head.
So I sit and watch making sure he is in a safe place; making sure his head is protected. But here’s where it gets really hard… his head is not protected! No matter what I do I can’t protect him. The battle is inside his brain; a space I can’t enter.
Epilepsy- this is good news, I thought… We can handle this, I said… and after a day of seizures; yes they were minor compared to other people with epilepsy; my heart broke. And when they were over and he could finally speak he whispered..
“…my brain is broken…”
My baby is just about all grown up; making grown up decisions and it hit me… I’m not ready!
What if she isn’t ready? Have I taught her what she needs to know??? Can she handle this thing called life? Can she handle “adulting”?
I’m laying here awake at 4:34 a.m. and I am playing out every every negative, scary or just plain bad scenario to see if she could handle it.
I have tried to teach my children that this world is flawed and messed up while at the same time teaching them that it is beautiful and amazing. I’ve tried to show them that there are bad people and good people. I tried to teach them that they do not need to live in fear of the world outside of our home but that they should be aware and alert of their surroundings. I hope I have accomplished those things.
My almost grown up daughter came home from work and told me about her day. She told me about a co-worker saying something very ugly and inappropriate. She laughed as though it was funny and I wanted to cry! I told her I was sorry he had said those things to her…what else could I say?
In that moment my heart broke for her. I never wanted her to hear words like that. Why? Because I want her to know she has more value than those words say she has. I want her to feel safe at work. (I want to know that she is safe at work!) I want her to enjoy going to work; not worry about who she might be working with. I want her to look forward to being an adult and not be afraid of this next chapter in life.
I wish I could protect her and keep her all to myself but that wouldn’t be fair. It wouldn’t be fair to rob the world of the love of Jesus that radiates from her.
So… I won’t bubble wrap her or lock her in a tower. Instead I will walk beside her on this journey and I will help her; encourage her; offer her advice (not just when she asks afterall I’m still her mom 😊) and when she falls I will help her up; “kiss ouchies” and send her back out to try again. And as these last days speed by I’ll cover her with more prayers than ever before!
I am proud of the young woman my almost grown up daughter is now and is becoming. I am terrified for her! More terrified than I was when I brought her home from the hospital almost 18 years ago! (This momma may lose more sleep over her grown up kids then she did when they were babies!)
So my 4:34 a.m. moments will be spent not just pondering all the bad things that could happen but praying for her. Praying that she would have the wisdom to make good choices for herself; wisdom to see danger ahead; wisdom to avoid those dangerous moments. I will pray for her safety and for her heart. I pray that she will live fearlessly! And then I will close my eyes hours later and attempt to rest because for now; she is still my baby and she is sleeping soundly in her bed. And that gives me peace.
I’ve learned many things being a mom. Most of what I have learned has come from my kids. I’ve learned that the killer whale is not a whale but the largest dolphin in the dolphin family. I’ve learned there is a difference between dolphins and porpoises. I’ve learned that pulling nails from fence posts is fun and that ladybugs will bleed on you when you pick them up (the yellow tuff the leave on your hand is actually their blood)! I’ve learned a wide range of things from my kids. However it’s the personal lessons that have stuck the most.
So it way past bedtime and I let them all know that the time for bed has arrived. My youngest who just seconds before was laughing throws herself face first onto the couch and with the most pathetic voice moans “oh I’m so tired; I just want to sleep on the couch.” For some reason this just irritated me. I had let them stay up late; we had ice cream; we had fun; and now she wants to pull the mopey, whiney card.
Fast forward fifteen minutes and she is still standing in the living room. By now I have been quite clear in my words that she was to go get in bed. Seeing as this stalling is a nightly habit her claims to needing water fell on my deaf ears and she immediately received a swat on her hiny. This of course broke her heart and the two of us walked hand in hand to her room.
We talked about her choice and how obedience is very important because God wants her to obey her parents. Sobbing she threw her arms around my neck and said “I’m sorry mommy.” My arms wrapped tightly around her and whispered “I forgive you.” She just kept repeating over and over that she was sorry. I asked her why she kept saying sorry when I told her it was over and she was forgiven. Her answer “I have 2000 ‘I’m sorries’ and until I get them all out I won’t feel better.”
Oh how my heart broke. I wanted her to know so badly that it was over; that she was forgiven; that there was no lingering punishment; that there was nothing to feel guilty about because that’s what forgiveness is. It is being released from the wrong action committed and being granted freedom. I explained over and over that she was forgiven and it was over and done with. With her arms still around my neck and her tears still flowing she said I’m sorry again and again.
I laid in bed with her; pulled her in tight and just stroked her hair as she sobbed. There was nothing more I could say. She knew the truth; now she had to choose to believe it. As I laid there silently begging her to believe she was forgiven God spoke to me. He said “Annette; do you believe you are forgiven? Do you truly understand that? Do you see the freedom I have given you? Do you get it now? I’ve been holding you close, my child, stroking your head waiting for you to believe that you are forgiven; that it is all over; that there is no guilt and no lingering punishment. That’s what I mean when I say there is no condemnation. Do you get it? Do you believe you are free? You don’t need to keep saying I’m sorry for things already forgiven; it’s over and done with; only you are holding on to it. Let it go and enjoy the freedom waiting for you.”
My daughter showed me a picture of myself and how I have been saying 2000 sorries not fully grasping the truth. Romans 8:1 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” For those of us who are his children we have a beautiful freedom to live life and enjoy every second guilt free!
“Thank you for your call, please hold.”
elevator music plays quietly for 60 seconds
“We know your time is valuable, please hold.”
elevator music plays quietly for 60 more seconds
One hour later… “We know your time is valuable, please hold.”
Really? Do you really know that my time is valuable???? I don’t think so!
No fear of being ridiculed.
No fear of trying something new.
No fear of the future.
No fear of death.
Easter = Fearless Living!