Just Beautiful

my mom and dad and my baby brotherĀ 

So um, it turns out this cancer thing is a little bit harder than I thought it would be.

One minute I’m trucking along all practical like, getting my mom and dad’s house ready for them to come home from the hospital, and then someone has a bibliography due at school tomorrow morning and I just lose it. I can handle my husband shaving my mom’s head out yonder on the back deck but please do not look at me funny in traffic on the highway, random stranger, I just can’t deal with that.

Again, I keep going back to this concept that it’s not about me. This isn’t my journey or my story to share. I’m not the one curled up in a post-chemo ball feeling horrible, not the one going through every single food item in the free world trying to figure out the one thing I can manage to keep down. No, I’m the one up and about, buying pinestraw for my landscaping, getting new bedding for Isabel’s big girl bed.

And yet, it hits home. I realize that it’s hard to watch this — even though it’s a part of the process and there I go again having to justify why I shouldn’t be so worn thin and dragged down, it’s all just to keep mom here and healthy, it’s all a great prognosis. But it’s still hard.

A friend asked me the other night how I was doing. At first I didn’t appreciate these kinds of questions because I felt like it insinuated there was something to be doing “not good” about. And then a few weeks go by and you realize your body kind of feels like it’s in a race, one that you thought was a nice little 5K and it turns out to feel a little more half-marathon-y. Two chemo treatments down, four to go. We’re getting there, but certainly not in the homestretch.

We hit this part of the race — my mom’s race, and my dad’s race but I guess all of our race really — and now I appreciate the love and concern not just for them but for me and my family. I appreciate that people realize what it does to family members to watch a loved one fight. To be a part of the fight in a different way — it’s hard. Not nearly as hard as being the fighter, but it’s hard.

I thanked my friend for asking about me and I told here there is grace. And there is. There is a lot of grace. At the very least there is grace to not sit back and wish this hadn’t happened. There’s grace to say, this is what we’ve got, let’s put that next foot in front of the other.

And that’s what we do.

If this round of chemo reactions go like the last one, today will be the hardest day for my mom. So if you could lift her up in prayer that would be so wonderful. We really do feel the prayers. And our physical community, the people we are surrounded by right here in our neighborhood, these people are taking such good care of us. I checked on my mom and dad’s meal schedule the other day and it’s full until mid-June. My mom has friends coming and going, calling and checking on her. And my dad has his friends checking on him, making sure he’s doing okay too.

Life is indeed very good. Fighting for life is hard, but it’s worth it.

Math for Distinguished Gentlemen

Get The Gist

Just a friendly reminder that you can watch the latest episode of The Gist, right here!

I really enjoyed this episode. Full disclosure: it took some work for me to get comfortable watching myself. The first time I was like “my voice sounds like THAT?!” Also, I discovered that I’m a very active listener. Must. Stop. Head. Bob.

This week we’re talking about toddlers and discipline and also vocations. Also, I interview a nun (and a very cool layperson) about a fertility app for your ipad!

Good stuff, all around.

Life with a Big Brother with Bigger Brothers

At the tail-end of Isabel’s naptime yesterday, Henry asked if he could go in to play with her. She was starting to make noise and he figured she’d enjoy some company.

I said yes and off he went. A while later, I could still hear the two of them playing. I was surprised and pleased with how long they were staying entertained. It was nice.

At some point, I could tell Isabel was ready to leave her crib and when I went in to get her, her crib was filled with toys. Every single basket had been taken from the toy closet and dumped into the bed. It was a mess. Cars and army guys and hot wheel ramps spilled out from the slats, the occasional baby doll here and tea cup there. And there stood Isabel, in one small corner of the crib, boxed in by a cacophony of wood and plastic.

I pulled her out of the bed and instead of being irate, I was actually relieved. I had been putting off this very necessary and long-overdue nursery purge and now I had no choice but to face the music. Isabel’s clothes had been piling up on her dresser for weeks because I needed to deal with the drawers and the room was now such a disaster it was time to work.

Later that afternoon, I was able to spend several hours sorting clothes and toys and in the end had two large black trash bags for Goodwill (where in the world was all that stuff hiding in there?) along with two very clean closets and a host of organized dresser drawers. Walking into Isabel’s room now brings me joy, just like the old days before it had gotten so out of control that I was forced to shield my eyes as I passed it by.

In the midst of all that cleaning, we came across a CD one of the boys had gotten at Bible school last summer. I gave it to Henry, who immediately turned it on and fell in love with the peppy songs about Jesus and God’s creation. It listened to the music at bedtime and also wanted to bring it in the van.

This morning, Henry asked if he could bring the CD to school and when we pulled up in the car line, his teacher was happy to let him bring the music. Off he went, climbing out of the van, excited about treating his classmates to some Bible tunes over lunch.

When I came back for Henry this afternoon, I asked his teacher how the class enjoyed the music. She said they loved it.

“We found that yesterday when I was cleaning Isabel’s room,” I told her. I explained how Henry had forced a much-needed work party for me. “He dumped every single toy into that crib, and I had no choice but to sort through it all.”

“Yup,” said Henry, he with four older brothers who are in love with Chuck Norris, “I put all the toys in the crib because I was trying to put Isabel in a sweat box.”