This morning, I was talking with one of my friends who has had a particularly difficult year. Her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's and her health has rapidly deteriorated. My friend had to coordinate selling her mother's house and getting her established in a facility where they could provide round-the-clock care. Almost simultaneously, her son was diagnosed with appendicitis and she was diagnosed with pneumonia. Her husband was laid-off and they had to sell their home and move in to a rental just as her daughter came down with swine flu.
Boom. Boom. BOOM.
Every so often, it might feel like we're floating along in a cloud of security and we're immune from bad things happening. But then, everything can seemingly hit the fan at once.
It happened to us, last year. Consider, it was almost a year ago that I was offered an opportunity to relocate. Less than a month later, I found out I was expecting baby number five. So I turned the job down, only to be told that such a decision would be very career limiting.
"So what?" I thought. "All I want is to be a Mom!"
A few weeks beyond that, I lost my pregnancy. And the move was back on. Within a span of less than eight weeks time, we packed up all of our belongings and said goodbye to our beloved little house. We moved 3,000 miles cross-country. We resided in multiple hotels for two long months.
We struggled to find a new place where we could put down roots. We dealt with what could only be called absolutely nightmarish conditions surrounding the sale of our home in California due to a Realtor flub-up. We finally found a new place that we believed held great potential, but we questioned if we were biting off far more than we could chew, financially, buying an older house that needed work. While every so often, we still refer to the financial suicide we've created by making this move, we're confident that with time, we'll recover. But most importantly, we are immensely happy with our new home and are absolutely thrilled to be here, enjoying this adventure as a family.
For the past couple of weeks, William has been feeling low. He's been complaining of headaches, stomach aches and a general all-around discomfort. He looks pale and seems tired, a lot. We're taking him to the doctor, this week, to find out what might be going on with our little guy. My mind runs wild, vacillating between "It's nothing..." to "It's food allergies..." to "It's a parent's worst nightmare..."
One day last week, when I was driving home from work, Charlie called to tell me that at one point during the day, he felt his heart start to flutter. This wasn't the first time it's happened, but this time, it lasted for more than a minute and when it finally stopped, he was very dizzy and afraid that the kids wouldn't know what to do if he suddenly collapsed. Since he wasn't thinking of ME at the exact moment when it happened, he knew that it wasn't because of his unwavering love. So he went online and looked up the symptoms. His conclusion was that he has an atrial fibrillation. This will be confirmed when he goes to the doctor, later this week.
Happiness. Laughter. Uncertainty. Fear.
No one knows what the future holds. And so it is, despite the uncertainty that surrounds all of us every second of our lives, it's so important to find the joy.
As I told my friend, this morning, for the past few weeks, I've felt an overwhelming sense of thankfulness. And I'm not sure I would have that feeling, if not for the road that it took to get us here. If you open your eyes and take inventory, it really seems that the sun shines a little brighter, once you come out on the other side of a dark time.
My friend laughed as I concluded, "So just think of all that you have to look forward to, once you get through this rough patch!"
This past Friday, on my way to work, I broke down crying. It was the craziest thing. Big fat tears, streaming down my face, smearing makeup everywhere, as I thought about how lucky I am. It was the most profound feeling of gratitude for my life and for my husband and for my family and for the clouds sweeping across the sky and for the barren trees that are very soon going to erupt in to the most beautiful greenery. While I hope and pray that everyone in my family retains their health, I'm not in a position to control it. All I can control is the way that I love them, each day. And so I do, smothering them with affection until it's impossible to smother them any more.
I should probably mention that midway through my sob fest of happy tears, I began to think that I've reached a dramatically hormonal phase in my life or I have a tumor.
So, it's decided I'm going to the doctor this week, too.