Saturday, April 23, 2011

Life savers

I made a terrible mistake tonight and decided to watch "The Last Song" - you know the movie with Miley Cyrus in it. I read the summary- Rebellious piano prodigy goes to live with her Dad for the summer and it changes her life. It was the only PG rated movie that we saw as we cruised through on the Netflix list. It sounded like a good lesson learner for my kids to see a rebellious teenager change her attitude. Little did I know her Dad was going to die from lung cancer. As I watched them portray her dad dying, I relived my own Father's last days. I didn't know how to stop the faucet once it started. The suffering, the pain, the regrets...It was all there. I guess it always will be. I miss him.

It made me remember an Easter Eve many years ago when I was only 10 years old. I was rushed to the emergency room with soaring fevers and a swollen arm- later diagnosed as ostiomilitus. I remember them jabbing needles all over me as soon as they closed the emergency room door and my mom was on the other side, unable to help. I was alone with all these medical personnel taking blood samples and trying to find a place for an i.v. I remember they took blood from the veins on the top of my feet, I guess I was so dehydrated, that my vein options were limited. I was so scared. What was going on? And then they wheeled me out in a hospital bed and my mom was gone and there was my Dad. My mom had just taken her mom to the airport to go to the Bahamas for last chance cancer treatments. Then she came home to me with uncontrollable fevers and she was a wreck. Dad sent her home. I remember the ceiling lights being so bright as they wheeled me down the hospital halls, they hurt my eyes. I told my Dad and he covered my eyes with his hand to protect me.
So there I was on the night before Easter, strapped in a hospital bed, naked with cold cloths being placed on me intermittently all night, trying to get my fevers under control until they could get me in for an emergency surgery. That whole situation was awkward for both of us. I remember asking the nurse if I could just slide some underclothes on and she smilingly said no. My Dad, I'm sure was so worried about me, but he saw my embarrassment and tried to keep a comfortable distance so I didn't feel exposed. I so appreciated that. I remember the doctor came in and told me they were prepping me for emergency surgery. I told him, "Hey, it's Easter in a few hours, can I just go home and get the stuff from the Easter Bunny and I'll be back tomorrow and we can do this surgery thing then." He patted my hand and shook his head no and left the room. I kind of thought he was the most heartless man alive. He was obviously an Easter Bunny hater or he had forgotten what it meant to be a kid on Easter morning. I was devastated and worried the Easter Bunny wouldn't find me, so I prayed really hard that night that He would. Then the next thing I remember is waking up the next day and seeing an Easter basket beside my bed. I guess the Lord hears prayers.

My Dad got me through that horrible night. He gave me a blessing that I would be completely healed. I was. He was my lifesaver as I lay near death- (I found that part out later.) The heartless Arabian doctor came back when I was nearing the end of my hospital stay to remind me of that first night. He said, "Remember when you wanted to go home? You were very sick little girl. If I would have let you go home, you wouldn't be here now." (I guess he wasn't so heartless after all.) I guess I misjudged him a bit. :)

And then 6 months ago, role reversal, I sat by my Dad's side as he laid dying. I found sitting by the bedside to be so much worse. I saw him take his last breath and felt my world crumble. My Daddy was gone.

But today is Easter and I know that Christ atoned for my sins and broke the bands of death and He lives. HE LIVES and because of his sacrifice for us, we will too and I'll see my Dad again.

P.S. I went to bed after writing the previous thoughts and then I dreamed of my Dad. He came to give me a big hug. (I guess he saw the mess I made of myself after watching that darn movie.) He's still my lifesaver. What joy we will have when we meet again. Today I give thanks to my Heavenly Father for the sacrifice of His son- He being the one who had to painstakingly watch from the sidelines. And to his Son-my Savior and Redeemer who paid the price willingly, lovingly- to make a way back for all of us. I will always be in debt. Today I give thanks for all the lifesavers. Happy Easter.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring Break

Ok, so it was Spring Break and I took a personal break from my daily life and became entrenched in trying to find entertainment on a budget for 6 kids varying from ages 3 to 18. You can guess that was a project in itself. The first day I suggested various fun options. No response. So day 1- we cleaned the house. Second day, I once more suggest more fun ideas- it was raining all day. I went to the library with a couple of takers and got books for everyone, whether they wanted one or not- I left the library with 21 books precariously balanced under my chin. Day 3- Raining again. Suggest more fun possibilites - silence, so we cleaned the house and I later noticed those who had not wanted any library books were in fact reading them. (Whose glad I got those books now?:) Day 4- Epiphany... whatever I suggest will not be fun. I step down as fun finder and turn the fun over to them. They each now have a partner and a day assigned to produce some family fun. They made up minute to win it games and we played izzy dizzy and fell on the ground doubled over laughing at each other trying to get up. Day 5- We go to the park. Not everyone wants to go. One brings a book and stays in the car. I knew the park wasn't appealing to the older kids, but it was chosen and we went. And to be honest, I was going to go running while they played in the park. But as soon as we got out of the car, my little 3 year old sees a big tree and says, "Long tree" with awestruck wide opened eyes. I couldn't help, but look up at the tree too. "Wow" it was big. Then it began, I forgot myself and my plans and entered into his world. I wanted to experience with him what he was seeing for the first time. There were slides galore and a climbing rock wall and swings and a big play apparatus. And amidst all of those fun things, he liked the Big fish that didn't do anything. He wanted to ride on his back. So I hefted him up there and he acted like he was riding a bull, laying back into it with one arm swinging in the air. Then I took him down to the river. "Look" I say, pointing to the ducks. He looks, he's seen ducks before- not that exciting, but throwing handfuls of pebbles into the river is! He throws a handful in, then pauses and looks at me and tells me it's my turn. I follow suit. His eyes sparkle as the water droplets dance in the air. It was magical. Why hadn't I noticed before? Then my other kids (you know the older ones who didn't want to come) they started an all out war tag! We were diving under slides, hiding behind trees, using unknown kids as blocks, climbing rock walls for lookout and safety. I discovered too late, I could not climb that rock wall, so I found I had to run.... a lot! What a work out! Who knew? We ended the day with ice cream cones while rehashing the hide and tag moments. Boy, did that ice cream taste good! Everything that day was good. So... take a break once in awhile. Let the responsibilities and routines go and re-enter that world that you left behind. You know the one where everything is an adventure waiting to happen, and games begin spontaneously and that all elusive fun... is everywhere. If you haven't been there in awhile... it's time for a visit. Go. Your kids are waiting for you.... :)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Yeah... I've been a fool

He saw me after Christmas break when I had chipped my tooth out and had a softball size hickey on my chin from a practical joke played on me by my brother. I looked like a fool.

He saw me for the first time after we had been apart over the summer and I stepped off the train with permed- gone- wrong hair (which he had strongly encouraged me not to do and I did anyway) and I sported a new air cast leg, because I fell off the fireplace hearth where I was doing step-ups. (Apparently, the hearth is not as good of an apparatus as the step box that they advertised on t.v.) and oh yeah, one more thing, my eye was oozing pus from having undergone eye surgery the day before to remove a chalazion. Ummm... I worried that with one glance at me, he would reconsider that marriage proposal. I looked like such a fool.

Then we were married- 18 years in. I had been sick with a fever. I woke up and looked in the mirror and saw my hair dripping wet and matted to my face with bags under my eyes, adorned in my mixed and matched p.j. set and he looked over at me, as I analyzed the damage. I wanted to run back to bed and bury myself under the covers. I looked like such a fool.

But he looked at me with the same tenderness he had when I was 19 with the tooth chipped/hickey combo package. It was that same look that greeted me when I stepped off the train- disheveled like a train wreck. He just said with love in his voice, "Tina, you're beautiful." And I'm thinking... "Duane.. you're a fool!" (or blind). I don't know how to tell him he has vision problems. But he does. He doesn't see like rest of the world. He must have missed that course on how the world values you by your looks. The advertising for wrinkle cream, body sculpting, botox, and plastic surgery is a total waste of money on him. He just doesn't see it. His vision bypasses the outer shell and looks directly into your eyes and sees your soul and all the good you can do. I hope his vision problems rub off on me.

Go on and be a fool today- look past the outer layers and look inside another's heart. I hear it's beautiful there.

( Just having another day to test my character :)