Saturday, April 10, 2010

BEST MOM IN THE WORLD

The other night, we were sitting at the kitchen table eating dinner. Now, this in and of itself would tell anyone that knows me that things weren’t normal at our house. Something was wrong, out of place, because #1, we are at home for dinner and #2, we are at the kitchen table. But that aside, my youngest daughter looked at me and said, “Mom, how would you like to be the best Mom in the whole world?”

Now, Mom’s, where does that question take your mind? My daughter isn’t 8, she’s not even 16: she’s 21 ½ years old. She’s very independent and pretty strong willed. She doesn’t usually ask for much, but I have been there through some pretty important steps in her life, helping, guiding, and doing what she’d let me do.

So, my mind whirls a bit and goes from one end of the scale of, “Well, I’m already the best Mom in the world with everything I’m doing, she should already see that!” to “What on earth else could this child possibly want? She pretty much gets what she wants and has things pretty easy as it is now!”

“Okay,” I say. “I’m game. How can I be the best Mom in the world?”

“Well, it would be really awesome if you’d let me drive your Charger to work tomorrow….” And she hesitates.

This is an easy one. I don’t care if she drives my car. But there does seem to be something else. (Isn’t there always something else with our children?)

“Yes, and since you’ll have my car here, maybe you’d be a great Mom and take it to the tire store and get the oil changed and the tires rotated for me,” looking imploringly into my eyes. Also note that she backed off the best mom in the world to just being a “great” mom.

Now, there are not many things I detest doing. But going to the tire store and sitting there and waiting for however long it takes is right up there with fighting the crowds at Wal-Mart in my book of least favorite things to do. Removing fingernails sounds more inviting.

But I agree to the task. What red blooded American Mom can refuse the title of “Best Mom in the World” for such a small price? Right?

I’ll just add it to my list. My list of things I have to do for everyone else. Do you have one of those lists? My list is a little long right now and a tad complicated.

As I said, us eating at home at the kitchen table is somewhat of a rare occasion. As with a million other families, we, on a pretty much daily basis, eat dinner out. After working all day and all gathering back at the house after work, it’s all we can do to make the decision of where to go to eat, much less have the energy to actually stay at home and cook something. Society just makes it easier to eat out and we’ve most definitely done our fair share to keep all the local dining establishments in business.

But exactly two weeks earlier, my husband had open heart surgery for the second time in our lives. This time was a triple by pass. My heart was worried and the actual surgery was quite stressful. The two days after were also no piece of cake, but the recovery since then has been remarkably better than the first time.

So, for the last two weeks, I’ve been wife, mother, grandmother, cook, nurse, employee, boss, church treasurer, tax preparer (it’s April of course and the families taxes are due), bill payer, physical therapist, and now the chance to be the best at one of them was presenting itself to me, so now I’m also the “car girl.”

Why not? I work at home in the mornings and try to go to work in the afternoons. I try to wear all the hats. Last time this happened, 11 years ago, the children were all still at home, and I was very involved in the community. I didn’t survive that first by pass with flying colors, let’s just say that. I didn’t pay any attention to me and lost myself in trying to be everything to everyone else. This time, I was prepared for that and am going to try not to let it happen.

So hard for women to do…..so very hard. But, I keep going back to Isaiah 40:31 “Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not become weary. “

One of the hardest things for me to do is wait, and that’s the first thing that verse tells me to do….wait for the Lord.

While Richard was in surgery, I laid out my timeline. They take him back at 7 or so, prep him for an hour, start the surgery at 8, take 3 to 4 hours for that, so he’ll go on by-pass at about 11 and they’ll close and be done by 12…let’s add an hour good measure and say he’s done at 1 p.m. So, about 2 p.m., I should be able to see him and make sure they did their job. He will have to stay in SICU one night getting done that early and might get into a room the next morning.

This is my plan. I’m prepared to wait that long. I’ve got this under control.

“Yet those who wait for the Lord…….”

Why is it that God’s timing is never what I plan? This is Question 42 when I get to have some one on one time with the man in heaven.

Anyway, God’s timing for the day was something more like this:
5:50 a.m. Arrive at the hospital
7:12 a.m. They take him back for surgery
8:55 a.m. Started surgery (okay so, I add an hour to my schedule for this….now we’re done at 3 p.m., still dealable, I’m good.)
1:06 p.m. on bypass (now remember, based on my schedule, I thought he would be on bypass at 11 or so….so add yet another hour….4 p.m. now)
3:12 p.m. off bypass (my timeline had him off by noon – now three hours behind, looking more like 5 p.m.)
4:15 p.m. talked to the doctor, he’s out of surgery and they are closing. I should be able to see him at about 6:30 (4 and a half hours after my schedule)

They called out to inform us of the progress, and in between 8:55 a.m. and 1:06 p.m., they called three times just to tell me that “redos” take longer. Well, that would have been really nice to know BEFORE I did my little schedule in my mind, don’t you think?

Then, the doctor tells me that he will keep Richard in SICU for two nights. Well, ALSO NOT in my time table, blast it!!!!

“Yet those who wait for the Lord….”

Okay, I get it!

So, I suffer through two days of having him in SICU where I can’t stay with him and can’t be in there when they are giving him meds, etc. I know he’s going to want ice chips for hours when he wakes up. Are they going to give him his ice chips? Just makes me crazy. Visiting hours are just insanely restrictive. 6:00 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. (get real, okay?), 10:00 to 10:30, 12:00 to 1:00, 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. Four total hours. Four. And I get two days of this. Two days of waiting for visiting hours. Waiting.

“Yet those who wait for the Lord….”

But Saturday came and two emergencies came in and they got him out of SICU in record time and up to a room. Good deal. That part of the wait is over.

So, I stayed the night, Saturday night (have to keep the timing all down here, it’s more than easy to forget what day of the week it is and don’t even think you keep track of what day of the month it is!), and am planning on leaving in just enough time to go to Palm Sunday’s service at church and the children’s Easter Egg hunt afterwards with the granddaughter. I take a shower.

Well, if you want to call that a shower. Showers I’m used to have hot water. Where is the hot water? I mean seriously, where is the hot water? I stand there forever trying to be patient. (Romans 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience.!) Taking a cold shower is definitely a tribulation in my book…..and really, do I need a cold shower to teach me patience? But, try as I might to wait for hot water, it didn’t take more than 15 minutes for me to realize this was all I was going to get. Coldest shower I’ve ever taken in my life.

I’m done. The nurse comes in and I ask about the hot water. “How do you order hot water? I will pay extra for it.”

She smiled and said, “Well, unfortunately, you don’t. This is the one room in the hospital that doesn’t get hot water. We’ve had maintenance look at it many times and they’ve explained why it won’t get hot water. I don’t understand the explanation, but what you got is as hot as it gets.”

Well, just wonderful. Yet again, that would have been nice to know a couple hours ago!

Isaiah 40:31 “Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength. They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not become weary. “

Okay, I’ve waited and yes, I guess I did gain new strength. My waiting skills had no choice but to improve and my patience meter got better, to a degree. So, now I can move into the next part of the verse – run and not get tired. As I nurse him back to health, I have more to learn and will definitely need the Lord to keep my stamina where it should be. I know I won’t be able to do it on my own. Remember, I’ve been here before and failed miserably, so I have to better this time.

I guess there will be times when I will need to walk, like the shower. Be patient and try to let things come around.

God rewarded my patience and sent him home a full day before I thought he’d be able to go home. (Yes, I’m still making my own timelines.) Now we are home and the nursing begins.

So, I’m back in the present. I’ve not been told I’m the best wife in the world, or I’m the best home nurse in the world, or I’m the best cook in the world…..so I need to grasp onto this idea of being the best mom in the world in the midst of learning a few more lessons on waiting, patience, and calmness. The ego could handle this little “best” thing, I’m thinking. Seems pretty easy to earn this title.

To the tire store I go. I wonder how long the wait is? I’ll plan on two hours, so if I’m out in less that, I’ll be happy………before this, I would have given it 30 minutes before I got tired of waiting, so while you might not think I learned anything, I really did.

(BTW – it was a 45 minute wait! I was so surprised when they pulled her car around and it was done in front of 2 or 3 people that were there first! I walked out of the tire store with a skip in my step – with wings like eagles!)

God is good.

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