Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Understanding My Mother

It seems that parenthood has given me a whole new appreciation and understanding of my own parents, especially my mom.  Suddenly I understand the "this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you" talk, and the "because I said so" spill, and how could I forget the "you'll never know how much I really love you" line.  I never used to understand any of those comments, and today I do.  Well, I understand the comments, and I believe, for the first time, that I will never really know how much my own mother loves me.  If it's anything like how I love my son it's not measurable.  
Lately Bryton has been sick.  Who am I kidding?  Lately all of us have been sick, seemingly, one after another for almost 6 weeks.  One gets well and the next gets sick and so the cycle continues.  It's awful.  I hate it.  I hate being sick, I really hate when Aaron is sick, and I carry around this heavy chest the entire time Bryton is sick.  I'd much rather be sick myself.  Well, if I'm choosing, I'd much rather none of us be sick.  Period. 
And I think back to when I was a kid.  I wasn't as sick as a lot of kids in the world.  I had no cancers or diseases, but it seemed like I was always down and out with something.  
Mom recounts ear infection after ear infection when I was Bryton's age.  They prescribed antibiotic after antibiotic but constantly said I wasn't 'bad' enough for tubes.  (Though I was in and out of the doctor's office between October and April about every 3 weeks for sinus infections and ear infections.)  
So in constantly fighting those and then fighting migraine headaches from before I could even talk, I was laid up and out of commission for most of the usual childhood activities.  Birthday parties were canceled, mom doesn't remember many Christmases I wasn't on antibiotics, and Easter was a rare spring day that I could spend outside for the sake of hunting eggs, only to be sick days later.  
Migraines ended me up on sheeted couch cushions, with our orange laundry room trashcan hanging out on the flow in close range, with a cold rag on my head and little to no noise.  My parents finally bought at tv for the kitchen since I occupied the living room so often with my migraines.  (It was my comfort spot, apparently.)  They still occupy the kitchen more than the living room to this day. 
They tried everything... family doctors, ear, nose, throat doctors, sinus surgery, CT scans for tumors, biofeedback therapy, daily prescription medications and finally a neurologist who diagnosed me with migraines.  As I grew older I finally grew out of them (for the most part, I still have the occasional headache that shuts me down entirely), but not without my missing out on childhood memories.  
I laugh at it now, but many of the memories I have consist of sickness related things, like:
- Going to Florida with my aunt, uncle and cousin one year.  I got a migraine on the way down, my meds didn't cut it right off the bat, and after a 14 hour drive down there, they called my parents on our first night there to meet half way (in Chattanooga) because they didn't want to deal with my headaches during our entire trip.  By the time we got to Chattanooga (I slept the entire way), my headache was gone.  I cried the whole way home. 
- I had sinus surgery in the 2nd grade.  It kept me home from school for two weeks.  To be cleared to go back to school I had to visit my pediatrician for the okay.  In the waiting room I sat next to a boy who, we later found out, had chicken pox.  I missed two more weeks of school from the chicken pox, and another week after that with a sinus infection.  Fun. 
- One time we went to Pinckneyville to the Mardi Gras parade.  I ate cotton candy and popcorn while there and threw it up on the side of the road on the way home.  Thanks again, headaches. :) 
You see what I mean?  All of this said to say this.  As a parent now, I realize how hard this had to have been on my mom.  Life seems to stop when your kids are sick, and for my mom, well, that was life for us. I can't imagine the frustration she would have felt, not at me, but for me, because she knew how miserable I was.  Yet she never vented that frustration.  
I pray that B gets through life without the migraines.  It's one thing I never want to pass on to my kids.  But I also want him to get through with less sickness.  
Despite it all, I am thankful that the runny nose and cough are treatable, temporary ailments.  For those parents out there who live with babies and kids who fight diseases and cancers on a daily basis, your strength and courage amazes me.  If ever faced with the same circumstances I don't know how I'd handle.  I pray God never sees it necessary to have me face such a battle.  You are heros, especially to your kids.  
No earthly love is greater than a mother's, and I'm certain God lets us experience it so we can catch a glitter of a glimpse of the awesomeness that is His love for us.  
Until next time. 

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