Three and a half years ago I wrote about the pain of parenting, opting to keep the details of the medical decision private and write instead about the emotions I was experiencing. In the end, the decision was made to move forward with a disruptive but mostly pain free treatment for our daughter’s medical issue. A year later the treatment was over, and I put the experience as far out of my mind as possible. We knew that the day would come when follow-up appointments would be necessary, and we anticipated one more round of far less extreme treatment before moving out of the woods of this particular health concern forever.
On Friday I was feeling stompy. You know that feeling, when your blood pressure is slightly elevated and you feel like using words with only four letters and the tops of your ears feel warm.
What caused said stompiness? Human error + some wires and black duct tape. After trying to mitigate the foible fallout, I rushed off, late, to one of my daughter’s many follow-up appointments. The plan was to meet my husband and daughter at the doctor’s office, find out if it was time to move into phase 2 of the plan, and prepare to empty my pockets into the doctor’s bank account.
Twenty minutes later I was sitting in my car alone, sobbing and unable to move.
In an online world where nothing shared can ever truly be erased, these are incredibly dangerous waters. Writing is an unbelievably cathartic exercise for me, and I’ve many times seen the power of the shared experience, strangers connecting through a common experience played out in words on a screen. Part of me wanted only to bury my anxiety and grief in the dense carbohydrate goodness of a poppyseed bagel and the feels-like-home sweetness of homemade apple pie. I had two pieces. One with ice cream. Another part of me wanted to start walking and not stop until it had ended. All of it. I walked for an hour while worship music streamed through my ear buds. But the part of me that has always needed to write and share told me that I had no other choice but to come here.
The truth is that the decisions that I make with input from my husband – who defers always to me – and from specialists – who are likely to provide me with the personal hell that is choice – will impact my life far less than they will impact the life of my first true love, my daughter. Our children have to live with the decisions that we make for them from the moment that we choose to bring them into this world to the day that we send them out into the world on their own. I’ve agonized over many of these decisions, wanting to provide the best possible outcome for my children. Some were likely always without the potential for harm – Emma instead of Ellsworth. Broom Drive instead of Wickham. Dance class instead of field hockey. But this one. This one will be life-altering, painful, with ramifications that are simply more than I want to digest at the moment, even with the help of the most amazing apple pie.
The decision that we made three and a half years ago was made with the hope that we would never be here. And yet here we are. In my raging stompiness, I didn’t see it coming. I am leveled. Humbled. Brought to my knees.
I turn to the one place I am assured will provide me with the comfort that I seek, the words that hold the promises that someday all pain will cease, that even in our most excruciating parenting moments, we are far, far from alone.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with Thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
– Philippians 4:6-7