I am going to go ahead and say it, the past few months have been pretty tough on me. With everything going on with Derek and my father, life is just completely up in the air right now. This past week has been especially hard as my father has been in the hospital for the past 10 days now. The good news is, he is supposed to be released tomorrow. I won’t bore you with all the details, but with everything that I am experiencing in my life there is something I have taken the time to observe.
I remember hearing one of my friends talk about being the generation in the middle. Having aging parents and children both in need of your attention. This happened to come a little early for me. I believe this happens to most people in their forties or fifties. I am in my mid-thirties with parents in their mid-sixties. Very young to be in a position like this. I am, however, the epitome of being in the middle, probably an extreme case.
My observation is the unbelievably strong bond there is between a parent and child. More specifically, between mother and child, but father as well. To give you a little history, my father and I do not always see eye to eye. However, he was still an amazing father. He did the typical generational thing of being the best provider he could be, which happened to make him a work-a-holic. I am not knocking him for that, just stating a fact. That is what his generation was taught to do and he did it very well. He kept a roof over my head, food in my belly, clothes on my back and made it so my mom could stay home with my brother and me. With that being said, my mom and I have formed a very special bond. One that I can now see blossoming even more. I can also see the same bond forming with my boys.
Just today I read a blog post that really struck me called Joy, or “Just Wait?”. Boy did it ever strike home with me. A huge pet peeve of mine that people used to do when I was pregnant or had little ones. I absolutely loved her perspective. While reading her Just Waits, there were a couple that stood out to me.
Just wait until your child, painfully tethered to tubes and machines in the hospital, whispers, “I just want my mommy.” (and you are suddenly aware that your presence is more powerful than any prescription.)
After everything I have been through with Derek, this made me break down and sob. I will never forget my beautiful baby boy being wheeled away from me for major surgery. Feeling as if someone had just ripped out my heart, put it on the bed and wanted to take it away to carve it up into pieces. I knew in my heart that I had to let him go, that it was the best thing for him, but that did not make it feel any better. I didn’t realize when I conceived Derek that the day he was born, would be the day that I had to learn how to walk around with my heart (now hearts) outside of my body. So, when I saw him laying in that hospital bed with all those machines and tubes it hurt, but I knew that by just being there, I was helping him heal.
This one also took me back to a few years ago when my brothers, then six month old, son was in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Since he was about an hour and a half away, my parents and I stayed home until we got word from my brother to go down and visit. It was a very, very scary situation, life or death really. My brother called me at one point and while we were talking, he told me that he had looked at his wife and said “I want my mom”. At the time my brother was 34. It never stops. There is something about a mothers presence that somehow makes everything alright. My nephew is now a very healthy and robust 4 year old. I truly believe the strength of the family around him helped him heal.
Now, for the other side. As my father has been laying in a hospital bed for several days now. I feel like I have been able to return the support in some respects. This time last week, we truly did not know if my dad was going to survive. He lay in the Intensive Care Unit on life support. We had absolutely no clue what was going on and the scariest part was that neither did the doctors. I have been by my mothers side every step of the way. Why? Because I want to be. Because when I am sick, she nurses me back to health. Because when I am scared, she lets me know everything is going to be okay. Because when I am nervous, she tells me I am going to do great. Because when I am unsure, she assures me. This is all present tense because it is not like this stopped when I turned 18. I am 36 and she still does all this for me. She became a mother in August of 1973 and she will be a mother until the day she dies. It never stops. I completely respect people that have no inclination to have children. I am not going to lie, there have been times I have wondered what I have gotten myself into. I get overwhelmed. I get tired. I get frustrated. But, when it comes down to it, I am a mother. I became a mother on June 4, 2002 and will forever be.
Something that got me thinking…I couldn’t imagine my mother having to do this alone. She does not have to make one decision by herself. She always knows that my brother and I have got her back. My father knows that there are three of us advocating for his health. I think the bond between parent and child is so special. I have always thought that, but this past week, God gifted me with a new perspective that I thought I might share with you.