I’m finally getting to it. A chance to take a little breath and let you know that it’s been a rough month for my family. As all major health issues go, it’s a long saga, but since Halloween, dad has been fighting a hard fight against pancreatitis, one that we thought we had licked after they sent him home in early November, only to send him back to the hospital in the big town a week later to continue the fight.
We left mom to be with him on Thanksgiving in the hospital and my sisters and I celebrated Thanksgiving and Edie’s birthday at my inlaws’ home. At this point we were hopeful that he was on the slow mend, but on Friday morning we got the call that they were finally going to air lift him to the experts in Minneapolis. It was scary. We didn’t know if he was going to make it. Mom called in the troops and we made plans to drive to the cities to be with him until we knew he was stable and in good hands.
Which he is now, it turns out. Thank God. But it’s going to be a long, long road to recovery. In the meantime, we’ve had such wonderful support from family, neighbors and friends helping to get the hay hauled, the fences fixed, the cattle moved and our babies in safe hands while we made the trip. We’ve had understanding bosses, cousins, aunts and uncles who have rushed to the scene to give hugs and make sure we’re eating or resting or taking a minute to joke or smile. And we’ve had each other and a strong faith in our dad that he’s a bulldog, a fighter, and he can make it through this.
And then, there’s this thing about this baby we’re growing. And so I’m writing to you from the basement of my best friend’s house in the big town I’m set to deliver in. I’m on a borrowed computer and living out of a suitcase I packed for an overnight stay at my inlaw’s that has turned into a week away now. We drove through on our way home from Minneapolis and I stopped for my weekly checkup only to be told to hold tight, this baby’s coming any day. That was Monday, and no big news yet, but we all agreed that being 3 hours from the delivery room wasn’t a great idea. So I’m hanging tight here. My husband is at home now waiting for the call and our daughter is with her gramma, wondering where the heck her parents are and likely showing her true sassy nature by now. I miss her. I left her just as she was turning two and the next time I see her she will no longer be an only child.
But we are so thankful for family and so ready for this little ray of sunshine to arrive in our lives, although a few days ago I couldn’t imagine it. I wanted to hold him or her in there forever, safe from the chaos of this world. I couldn’t imagine bringing a baby into such uncertainty. Into a life without my dad.
But I think we’re ready now. Dad’s on his long road, my mom is there with him, we have more family coming to their side in the cities and life goes on, even when it’s scary.
I wrote this week’s column reflecting on the uncertainty of our life’s past events, not knowing how much more grateful we would become in the coming week. It’s so interesting to me to recognize how in the hardest times of our lives, when we want to scream “It’s not fair!” we are called on to be the most grateful. Even when it’s terrifying….
Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers. I’ll keep you posted!
Coming Home: The burden of being grateful
In the hardest times of our lives it seems we are reminded to be grateful.
Grateful that it isn’t worse.
Thankful you still have your health or your loved ones besides you. That the cut wasn’t deeper, the hit harder, the sickness more violent, the call closer.
That in the end, we should be grateful that they’re still here with us.
Or be thankful that they’re in a better place, even if you’re not sure you believe in that place anymore.
And in between those harrowing moments, those close calls, held breaths, long hospital stays, prayers sent up, phone calls made during tragic or near tragic reminders of this very frail life we lead, we do the regular things that humans do.
We cook rice on the stove and burn the chicken on the grill. We talk too long on the phone about what we think of someone. We’re late to appointments because the dog got out again. We fight about money in front of the babies, throw our hands in the air in disgust, walk out and slam doors. On good days, we laugh about the rearview mirror she broke on her way out of the garage, because isn’t it just like her to cut it so close, that woman!
On bad days, we wonder what the hell she was thinking. And what we’re doing wrong.
We take it all for granted, because we can’t live in that space of our own vulnerability, the space where we sit, understanding full well that we don’t have control in this life.
It’s too raw and exhausting to be so aware of our own mortality, even if being aware means being equal parts grateful and terrified.
My 2-year old daughter looks up at the night sky, searching for the moon among the stars and exclaims, “The moon, Mommy, it’s beautiful! The stars, Mommy. Look at the stars!”
And when the night turns to day, bringing with it the sun, she takes equal notice of its magnificence. “The sun, the sun!” she declares before looking at me and asking after the moon. “Where the moon, Mommy? Where the moon go?”
That child doesn’t yet know darkness the way grownups come to know darkness, and each day the world gives her the bright shining light of the sun. But in all its glory and promise, she won’t forget about her moon.
It will be few more years before the child has the vast expanse of the universe explained to her, a few years before she starts to learn that that moon doesn’t shine for her exclusively.
A few more years before it all starts to become as confusing as it is wondrous.
But right now she’s little, even though she doesn’t know it. And it doesn’t matter. The size of this universe might just as well be as far as her arms can reach for all it matters to her.
Because to her, what she can see of the sky is enough.
And to me, right now, those outstretched arms are enough to keep me equal parts grateful and terrified.
Please let me know if you need additional housing. I live in southwest metro, minnetonka
I smile while reading your heartfelt and authentic take on life as you know it.
Problem-solving, or dealing with it the best we can.. or tolerating what’s actually happening is what the norm is; especially since we miss seeing that life a minute ago was smooth sailing.
When chaos happens, we look back and realize we missed taking notice of those smooth as silk kinda days. Some days, don’t we just wanna hit rewind? Or at least ‘pause’?
Good luck as you welcome your new gem to your loving arms and family, all!
This gave me all the feels and tears. All the love, light and good vibes to your family at this wonderful and difficult time!
It’s all wondrous; the ups, the downs, the good, the bad … the trick is to learn that life is never static and if you’ll just wait a bit, the pendulum will eventually swing. Good luck with the pending delivery and prayers that your father continues to improve each day. Oh, and is that a dangling earring I see on your hubby? Must be a story there … he doesn’t seem the type! 😉
Haha yes! We had a dress up party for Edie so he had to wear some bling! Thanks for the prayers!
Glad your dad is on the mend. Best of luck on your upcoming delivery. Can’t wait to hear if it’s a boy or girl. Will keep your dad, you, and little one in my prayers.
Thinking of you and your dad and your whole family and your new baby and grateful that you write your calling but I get to read every week and feel connected to you and know that you’re not alone in this as you’ve already seen you have tons of friends and family helping you out but you also have all your readers and fans that you haven’t met and know that you’re not alone in this as you’ve already seen you have tons of friends and family helping you out but you also have all your readers and fans that you haven’t met that support you also and we keep your family in our hearts and in our heads waiting anxiously for any news and updates and we feel a part of your life. And for that I’m grateful. Good or bad we’ll take it all and will stand by you no matter what take care of Jessie!!
All will be well and you will write of it. You are such an amazing writer and share so much. I know that you will be known of for years and years.
Take care dear heart…. All will be well…..you just need to believe in yourself and your loved ones…XOXO Holly, Jamie, Dale, Jake, Ivy, Elly. Big hearts for You and Yours.:-)
Prayers for your family. Continued healing for gene. Good luck with birth of your baby.
I’ve been reading your blog for a little while now and I have to say, thank you so much. Your writing is fantastic and you share your life so candidly and authentically. I deeply admire your perspective and willingness to tell it like it is, even when “it” isn’t that pretty. Prayers for you and your family in this crazy time.