I am a person who is completely happy with the simple things in life – a card in the mail, catching up with a friend, a cupcake! It truly does not take much to make me smile.
Many times I have mentioned the amazing tribe of people who love me, but I have not really focused on my husband all that much because he does not like the spotlight. It has been extremely hard for anyone to understand what I go through especially him. I am sure he wonders why our life and plans have been disrupted like this. He has to be exhausted by the appointments, the medicines, the surgeries, and the constant management of this trainwreck.
He often says it is difficult to watch someone you love experience illness and pain and know there is nothing you can do. He has the front seat and sees me at my worst. He remarked to my doctor just the other week that “her 5 is a 9 for most people because she is tough, really tough.” It is a simple statement like that which makes me feel so supported by him. He will, however, agree that I laugh way more than I cry.We have some fun with the hand we’ve been dealt.There are times we seriously laugh with each other! When you have a brain that fires slowly from the disaster living there you can just imagine some of the hilarity that can come from it. Although it is when I am at my most vulnerable, or in great need, that I see myself in his eyes. I see him lost and confused about what he can do to ease my suffering. On two occasions this month my doctor said, “there is no other choice but to bring her to the ER to ease her suffering.” He suffers in a much different way when I cannot stop the train.
I’m bringing him out into the spotlight now because it was the other day when I woke to a wonderful surprise from him. It may seem like a simple act to most, but to me it was everything. Over the past couple of years I have really let my gardening go. My love of flowers shows when I am admiring the yards and planters of others. The people in my tribe have spread joy by giving me some great plants and flowers for my porch. I’ve always been grateful to have something blooming! On Sunday morning I woke up to coffee and flowers… flowers around my bird bath, flowers around my light post, and was shown even more flowers near my back retaining wall. They weren’t just random flowers either – there were all types that go well together. I would have chosen these flowers and plants myself. I was speechless and a little confused because I spent time outside in the Eno on Saturday and planting was not being done. All the planting occurred in the middle of the night when I was completely clueless. My husband donned his camping headlamp and dug, planted and mulched. (Note to neighbors: Nobody was being buried in the dark of night). He deliberately chose my favorite colors, and made certain that I would have plenty of blooming love over the next two seasons.
This speaks volumes to me. It is something he CAN do. My husband has made my heart bloom during a time when I often feel like there is an eternal winter.
So much was planned for the holiday season, but our plans were thwarted by the unexpected.
From November 11th to now, I have been dealing with meningitis. It was a rough time for all of us, but it seems to be looking up as we are poised to enter 2012 – THANK GOODNESS. For 7 weeks I have been in and out of the hospital and dealing with the nasty effects of this illness. Through the entire ordeal there has been one constant – our fourth gal, my mother.
Mom is one of those “go to” people. She is one smart cookie and is a problem solver. Her strength is indestructible and her calming personality is profound. She always comes in like a superhero when disaster strikes and saves the day. Through my recovery she has been ever-present and has run two households.
You don’t mess with Mama Mary. We have lovingly begun to refer to her as “Shirley” – as in Shirley McLain. When something wasn’t being done (or done
to her satisfaction right) in the hospital, “Shirley” came out in my mother. We all know that Terms of Endearment scene:
Though I was not dying, I was in a great deal of pain and one sick puppy. I know from my own experience as a mother – you can’t stand to see your babies sick and in pain. Apparently it is no different when your baby is in her 40’s. Number one lesson learned as a result of meningitis – Don’t mess with “Shirley.”
Though my mom is not officially a contributor to the site, much of her is with us. She is ever-present and always contributes positively to our lives. Much of what I do and have learned is a result of the fourth gal,
The amazing Kelli Brinkley spent the day with us in early Novemeber. It was MB’s senior photo shoot (something hard for us all to believe). Kelli took some great shots of all of us that day. The Three Gals wish you and your family a joyful Thanksgiving. We all have so much to be thankful for in our lives!
I grew up in a family of dog lovers. We never had cats, and I always swore I did not like cats. At age 30, all of that changed when TWO cats entered my life. Lucy literally chose us as her family, and we rescued Maggie with the idea we would find her a good home. Well, we found Maggie a home alright – ours.
Lucy and Maggie became inseparable, and we fell in love with each of their quirky ways. They have brought us so much joy over the past 10+ years. We lost Maggie the Cat two days ago, and have been in shock over her sudden death. It is the first time either of the girls has lost a pet and it has been a difficult fact of life to handle.
Being a good English major, I named Maggie after Tennessee Williams’ character in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Maggie was a cat obsessed with being loved – much like the character in the book. The first time I ever held Maggie she climbed up around my neck and squeezed me with her paws like a vice grip.
The quirkest of the the two, Maggie did not like people other than our immediate family – her meow was deafening – she drooled when she was happy on your lap – and she was gluttonous! Maggie also adored being loved by us and you could see it in her beautiful green eyes.
When we came home from running errands on Saturday we found Maggie in the sunroom and she was obviously sick. I went to her and could immediately see something was terribly wrong. Unfortunately there was no time to act – no getting her to the vet – she died within 15 minutes. I was with her and calmly said her name as she took her last breath by the garden bench. We will never know what happened to her, though we are so thankful it was quick.
There is a heaviness to all of our hearts. It is hard to be in the sunroom without Maggie’s presence, and it is difficult to hear Lucy’s odd meows that are obvious calls for her sister. I would never have imagined I could have loved a cat the way I have loved Lucy and Maggie.We will miss our Maggie the Cat and are grateful for the 10+ years we had with her.
We are filled with many firsts in our lives – first kiss, first love, first born. Today my first born began her senior year of high school. With all the running around that a school morning brings I simply did not have the time to take in the magnitude of this particular first.
It began to hit me when I dropped the youngest off at school. My simple statement to Sarah jolted me into reality – “I remember when you were in my belly and I was dropping Mary Beth off in this very spot.” Inside I gasped! Having kids 10 years apart has always been an interesting fact of life, and I was quickly taken back to the very day in August when I was 7 months pregnant. Suddenly I could see the little blonde-headed girl hopping out of the car and walking into the elementary school. It was only when Sarah spoke up with her typical morning good-byes that I was jolted back into reality.
We are going to be experiencing many firsts over the coming year – first college application, first letter of acceptance and many more. I know I am not the first mother to experience all the anxieties and emotions that come with seeing their first born head off into the world on their own, but it is significant in my life. Mary Beth and I have been so much to each other all of these years. As a single parent much of her life, we were more than just mother and daughter. Mary Beth and I grew up together.
Even though I was not allowed to take a picture documenting the first day of Mary Beth’s senior year, I have a mental picture that I will always keep with me. The picture of a beautiful girl racing around to choose the right outfit, the picture of her running down the hall with the toothbrush in her mouth mumbling words that could not be understood, and the picture of her brushing that long blonde hair are with me in heart and mind.
This time next year my mornings will be a lot less hectic, and missing something precious.
Filed under Love, Mary Beth