This past weekend, the weather was typical of a winter day in Kansas. Rainy and cloudy and just really boring. We decorated Valentine’s cookies with my nieces, and in that short time, sitting at the kitchen table with cookies and frosting and 6 different types of red and pink sprinkles passing around, I felt really whole in my role as a mom. It really takes very simple things to make a kid happy and make them understand that you care about them.
There are a lot of things I can’t do as a mom with a physical disability. I can’t run or jump or show her how to swing with my own legs, but there are a lot of things I can do. Like make her laugh and make her smile and make her feel loved and comforted and heard. So many times I feel like people (who obviously don’t know me) question my ability to mother her by what I am not able to do, and that’s not fair. Being a mom is making sure you raise someone who is going to be a productive and loving part of society. How you get from birth to that point can look so different for different families. My disability is just one small part of our path there.
And you know what, I don’t have to prove to anyone that my kid is happy and well taken care of. She will do that all on her own. She is upbeat and giggley and smart. Love exudes from her tiny body because that’s what we teach her.
The next time that someone judges someone else’s mothering, just shut it down. If their babies are happy and healthy, let them do things how they know how to do it. Everyone’s family doesn’t have to look like yours to be happy.
I’ve been an auntie for a long time. Since I was 5 years old. My siblings and I, the five of us, are spread out, so it isn’t too surprising that my first nieces and nephews were closer in age to me than my oldest brother.
I love being an aunt. It is one of the greatest jobs I’ll ever have. Ever. I was thinking last weekend as we were hanging out with Greg’s nephews and niece about just what I love most about being an aunt. There are so many things. I could really go on and on about how rewarding it is, but I picked a few of my favorite things.
- They listen sometimes better to me than to their parents. Key word: sometimes. I occasionally have to put on my “mom voice” and get stern, but for the most part, it’s easy.
- I can buy the little kids all the candy I want (and I am not the bad guy when their parents say “no more before dinner”).
- Babysitting is more like a play date. I get to plan something fun and something to keep them interested. I’ve found that the pet store can be both a blessing and curse for this. It’s cheap, and they love seeing the puppies. They also cry when we can’t take one home with us. Sad tears. Big, fat sad please-let-me tears. And don’t think the thought of actually bringing one home hasn’t crossed my mind. Those little lady tears are powerful.
- I can buy them loud annoying toys for their birthdays. I will most likely regret this when my own kids have birthdays one day, but for now, it’s fun. I tend to buy a lot of shoes for the little kids too. The older ones get money.
- They admire me. I love knowing that they look up to me as an example. And it is something that I take very seriously.
- I get to be their friend. My oldest niece is 23, and she knows she can call me just to chat or hang out or whatever. When I was in high school, I would go pick her up all the time, and she was my favorite shopping buddy. I love having a strong relationship with each of them.
I imagine more nephews and nieces in the future, mostly great nephews and great nieces, but it will be in the distant future. Maybe one of my own first.
Sometimes I see
a silent prayer in your face,
a small understanding that
something isn’t right here.
That young innocence
protects your heart
from the great loss
we all know is true.
That innocence that only
feels the love you know
and not a whole hole gaping wide
with so many missed moments
in the stretched future.
Your little words of longing
about how you can still say
whatever you want
because your mama said so
break my heart
even a little more.
I miss your Pa too,
It’s a fierce thing that
hits me hard every few hours,
a hard knot between my sternum and soul
that refuses to unravel,
a despair so sharp I am sure
it could break me.
The days between the day you died
feel like centuries.
There is so much to tell you.
I brave this summer with chipped nails
and a silent half-empty heart,
where your memory, our memories,
sit to stew and fuel me until tomorrow,
where I will have to wake up,
and start over again.
I have been trying to keep better track of things around here, and still my camera is sitting on my printer. Lonely ole camera. I certainly didn’t get much over the past few weeks. With Dad and hopefully moving sometime soon, it has been overwhelmingly crazy.
With the sun out more often, and the need to clear my head, I have a feeling it will be in my hand quite a bit from here on out.
That sinking feeling that there is no fixing this,
no going back.
I imagine that this is what drowning feels like,
the suffocation of fighting
against such strong forces
that will ultimately win.
We know it will get us,
but we fight anyway.
We hang on until our fingers bleed,
and our hearts cry.
We didn’t get good news at the doctor appointment on Thursday like we had hoped. The doctor told us that not only had the chemo not worked, the tumors have grown significantly. The cancer is now in his bones, and it is weakening and breaking his ribs, which is causing so much of the horrible pain he has. His pain patches were increased, as well as his morphine intake, to help control the pain. There is no sense in suffering more than he already is.
We have decided to go with hospice care to help support us until it is his time to go. Nurses will come in periodically and are available 24 hours if we should need.
I am scared, like I said before. I am scared, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is ready. That is the only comforting part. He does not seem to be scared, just more ready to be done with the pain. Two different priests came, two of his favorites. I think he is at peace with dying, and both priests, Father Tim and Father Peter, helped him in a way that maybe I don’t understand.
So yes, we are on a different course now, one we knew we would have to take eventually but not this soon. Please keep my dad in your thoughts and hope for the least amount of pain possible for him.