For those of you who know me a little better than others you know my kids are my life. I think that’s the way it is with all of us basically. I guess sometimes people read what we write and imagine us dictating our stories to some overpaid assistant while we lounge in a round, king size bed flooded with pink silk draped from some ornate 24K gold canopy. Oh! And we’re petting a fluffy white poodle that’s wearing a diamond-studded collar, too!
But that’s not the case, is it?
No. Life is pretty much like everyone else’s here at my house. There are groceries to shop for, bills to pay, school administrators and teachers to deal with, homework help, etc. Life is normal. Well, at least as normal as it can be at my house. I’m a single Mom and have raised my three all by my lonesome. NO child support and NO help with all of the ups and downs of child-rearing I’ve encountered along the way.
When the middle child, at age five, developed some sort of seizures, it was me that trudged back and forth to Duke Children’s Hospital once a week for treatments. It was me who went to school every single day at lunchtime to give her meds (didn’t trust the school nurse, lol). When she ended up in the hospital for a week, I stayed with her nightly while the other two were farmed out to my sis—even though I left the hospital each morning at 4 a.m. so I could make breakfast and get those two off to school—and then back to Duke for a few hours before back home for pickups at school then back to Duke for the night so I could start all over the next day. It’s amazing sometimes how we can find the strength to do the things we have to for our kids, isn’t it?
When the oldest broke her arm at her shoulder at age seven and was placed in a weighted cast—she weighed forty-five pounds and the cast weighed thirty-five—I was the one who home schooled her and carried her back and forth to the bathroom and fed her while she was in bed. Do you know how hard it is to entertain a child who is basically in bed 24hrs a day for six weeks? I bet you do.
Then there’s the boy. Well, he fractured his foot once but he didn’t seem to need any help. Loved that big boot they put him in. He said he looked like a cyborg in it. lol But he did have H1N1 back to back (ya’ll remember Swine Flu, don’t ya?)—lasting a total of three weeks—and then went back to school and ended up in the ER with a horrible headache and jaundice like you would NOT believe! And the ER doc immediately wanted to test for spinal meningitis. He had all of the symptoms. The kid could not even move his head he hurt so badly. Or so we thought! LOL The doc was leaning up against the wall telling me about THE SPINAL TAP he was going to do and just happened to look over at the boy who was the sickest I’d ever seen him and about that time—at the words SPINAL TAP—the boy raised his head! So the doc says—“uhhhh…maybe not. He shouldn’t be able to move his head. Let’s give him some fluids and about half an hour.”
After two bags of fluids, the boy’s color returned and he could actually walk out of the hospital an hour later where he’d been carried out to my car before by a friend because he had been too weak to stand and, of course, put in a wheel chair at the ER. So he was diagnosed with his third case of H1N1.
Can you imagine how terrified I was? Yeah, I bet you can.
I’m sure all of you have jumped through the Christmas hoops, too! You know what I’m talking about. All of the booty is sitting there and the kids are so happy, and then it happens…
Something breaks. Something doesn’t work just the way it’s supposed to. A part doesn’t fit right. The batteries die. Parenting isn’t about the bright lights and toys and all the money you spent, is it? It’s about dealing with the broken toy and putting a smile back on that disappointed child’s face. It’s about love and understanding and having patience.
I used to be THE most IMPATIENT person on the planet. I was VERY demanding. Anything I wanted or needed, I wanted and needed NOW! So I thank God for blessing me with three children who taught me patience and understanding. And I thank my three children for giving me love and letting me love them.
Without that patience and understanding—and a very good sense of humor—I would not have made it. No way. I have the tendency to turn everything bad into something funny. Hey…you may as well laugh as cry, right? So when I went jockstrap shopping with the boy yesterday, I laughed a whole lot. When I retrieved him from football camp a while ago I handed him some Gatorade and had the AC vents blowing hard on him. He finally revived and told me all about it. Some guy twisted his nipple. Hmmm…
Yeah, they were practicing shoving and pushing off each other without protective equipment. But the boy did not expect anyone to twist his nipple. So tomorrow? I predict someone’s nipple is going to get twisted right back. You might catch my kid off guard one time—but not again. And I’m proud to say his mama ain’t no WUSS! I know how to shove hard, too, and I’m giving him the benefit of all my wisdom. So when he gets shoved tomorrow…someone’s going to be in the dirt and it won’t be my boy.
Raising kids is hard. Raising kids alone is even harder. Knowing the right things to say and do? Well, that’ll always be touch and go. No one has the right of that for sure. In the meantime I plod along, doing the best I can. Just like everyone else.