Thursday, August 7, 2008

Changes

Change….the one thing we keep hearing about from all the presidential hopefuls these days and yet it seems that just when one thing changes for the better, something else gives. I’ve spent the past year or so of my “mommy-hood” feeling like that, constantly yearning to better myself and still feeling like a failure. That might make it sound like I’m too hard on myself, but honestly, what mother isn’t? When Chunks-a-lot was born, she came out screaming. As those first days and nights went by, I can remember thinking, “Will she ever stop crying?”. I managed to somehow survive the first couple of weeks without completely losing it, but after awhile it started to wear on me. Almost every hour of the day was spent tending to this fussy, irritable child. I became so engrossed in her behavior that my own mood became contingent on hers. The harder and louder she screamed, the thinner my patience ran and as her irritability reached new heights, I found myself becoming quite short tempered. For some reason, my frustrations were never directed towards Chunks-a-lot. I always had this weird sense of patience and sympathy with her, but not so much with Talks-a-lot. His constant questioning and curiosity about why his baby sister was so fussy only made me feel more frustrated on the inside. I couldn’t appease his questions, I couldn’t seem to ever give him enough attention to satisfy his needs, and so in my great quest to be the best mommy I could to my irritable little girl, something else had to give……and that was my relationship with Talks-a-lot. I don’t think I ever actually realized how much things had changed between us until we got to St. Jude’s, but looking back on it now just makes me cringe. I can even remember trying to read a story to him once and having to almost shout over Chunks-a-lot as she screamed incessantly in my lap. He finally got used to having to read my lips during story time because Chunks-a-lot would cry so loudly that he couldn‘t even hear me talk. That saddens my heart more than you can imagine. Because I sit here and think about how hard this is on me, not ever realizing how hard this has been on my precious little boy. He has endured so much along with me throughout this journey of medical trauma with Chunks-a-lot. He has shown an unusual amount of patience and compassion towards her and myself. Stepping away from him for such a long period of time while we’ve been here in Memphis has changed my relationship with my son…..and not in a bad way. I feel like God is using this horrible tragedy for good in so many ways in my life and the lives of many others. I see now that I wasn’t cultivating the part of my son that needed to grow, the part of him that needed the most attention and love. I look back and see how angry I had become, not even realizing how much this was impacting those around me. If you’ve come to this blog to read about how amazing my journey has been throughout the past year, you won’t find that here. I’m not shy about my short-comings. It was a hard road to travel and being here at St. Jude’s has lightened my load tremendously and opened my eyes to so many things. Talks-a-lot was here this past weekend and he touched my heart tremendously. The moment he walked in the door, I saw Chunks-a-lot’s eyes light up as she ran to him, her little hand waving ferociously. They were so enamored with each other that it seemed the world around them just disappeared. What an awesome love they share. I envy that more than you can imagine. I watched my little girl touching her brother’s face, studying his every movement, completely taken with his presence….and I felt so blessed. These children that I have been given, these angels that God has graced me with….how can I ever satisfy the love that they both deserve on so many different levels. I held my little boy in my arms for what seemed like eternity and just soaked up the joy I felt in his embrace. I was mommy again….not the stressed out, worn down, edge of my seat person that I had become, no, I was just mommy. We walked hand-in-hand constantly throughout his visit and sometimes he would just look at me and whisper, “You’re my special mommy.”. I know my face was just beaming with pride at those words. And although I’m sad for the time that we lost together as we both endured so much this past year, I’m happy for the change our relationship has made. My life wouldn’t be half as wonderful without my little man by my side. For he has taught me so much in life. He looks at his little sister, patchy hair, a little pale, and connected to an IV line, and he only sees her as perfectly normal…..constantly commenting that she has an “adorable little face”. That’s perfect love and it’s touched my soul. So for all the lessons my 14 month old little girl has taught me, I sit back and realize all I’ve learned from my 5 year old little boy as well. Raising them has, in turn, helped me grow emotionally and spiritually. I’m still working on changing some things, but this time I’ll be sure that something more important doesn’t have to give…

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