Do You Remember Your First Calendar?

It was a status symbol of your adulthood. You probably got it after graduating from college. You might have acquired one in college. All you know is that the neatly outlined pages of lines and numbers represented your life…and it was starkly blank. Do you remember thinking to yourself what you would put on those blank squares? Maybe your new work schedule? That’s a start. How about some bills? Yeah. Let’s add some bills on there, and of course your pay day because, after all, you’re an adult now. You are responsible. Yet, what you saw in front of you didn’t represent your life. You felt that your life was more important than what was staring back at you. You add to it, hoping that your life will feel more meaningful. You have things to do, people to see, places to be.

“Wake up”, written neatly in a small space with an estimate of the time you would actually crawl out of bed.

“Breakfast”, because you need sustenance.

“Lunch with _____” (insert name of friend).

“Practice violin”.

“Paint for one hour”.

What are these activities that have disappeared from your current adult life? The parts of your life that made your world go round? The things you thought were so important…..Where have they gone?

These scribbled reminders of the value of your life made you feel warm inside.

Time passes. You meet someone. You add their life to the pages of your calendar. You are one.

You relish at the idea of combining your lives.

You have children. Your pages soon fill up with the numerous well-baby visits. But it’s ok, because you still have some blank squares.

Your children get older. You notice something seems….off…you ignore it. Only until strangers point out that your child isn’t “normal” do you think to yourself, “Maybe I should get this checked out?”.

You seek help. You get a referral. An opinion is given. A recommendation is given. It leads to another opinion, another recommendation.

Eventually, you get to a point where there are no more blank spaces. Each space is filled with “Half-day”, “Early Release”, “Occupational Therapy @ 3pm”, “Cardiology @ 0815”, “Neurology @1030”……before you know it, you’ve gone to 70 appointments in 46 weeks and you feel washed over by your life.

The waves of responsibility pushing you down, swallowing up your former self, and spitting you out as if you were just another piece of litter a tourist across the ocean had carelessly left on the sands.

But, no. You are not litter. You are sea glass. Your rough edges carefully churned into a softness that a tiny human who calls you “Mom” can grasp firmly and hold onto without being hurt. You are their comfort. Their solace. Their home. No matter what is going on in their tiny world, you are theirs to cherish. They know you will keep them safe.

It’s a big responsibility.

It’s also within your power to say, “This is enough”. You have answers. You’ve done the treatment. You know what will help your children and what won’t. You’ve recognized that and you move forward.

You start to come out on the other side, hoping to have more blank spaces. Instead of filling those spaces with what someone else thinks is good for your child, fill them up with what you know is good for your child.

Make room for blank spaces….Try to fill them with the endless possibilities of blankness. Schedule dates with your spouse. Make play dates with friends. Make time for the good in the world so we don’t all forget. Help be the harvesters of memories for your children. Let them be children. Let them stay up a little past bedtime so they can play in the front yard with their friends. Let them laugh, and giggle, and make mistakes. Be there for them when they fall. They might surprise you with their resiliency. But they might also still need you to tuck them in. Always be willing to tuck them in and cuddle them a little longer, even though you’re exhausted.

Since August 28th, 2017, our life has been filled with appointments. What started as an innocent, “What’s going on with my kid?” has turned into my kids not being able to enjoy being kids. I often hope that my children will forget how arduous the last year has been. The thousands of miles driven. The endless hours in the car. Going forth, I hope I can fill their calendars with smiles…because I don’t want them to look back on their life and think it was just about going to the doctor…

With that being said, the appointment aren’t over yet….My daughter had an MRI in April and it showed a lesion. The doctors think it won’t change much from what it was a few months ago. It’s not a tumor, but it is a bundle of leaky vessels that the neurosurgeon thinks is a canvernous malformation. She’ll need a repeat MRI and MRA in October. In addition to the lesion, we are taking care of some other things. She’s had difficulty reading for several years now, and at the recommendation of her neurologist, she was evaluated for dyslexia. The speech language pathologist conducted an hours long test that confirmed what we may have already expected…with the addition of a referral for an ADHD evaluation. I’ll be honest, I was already suspecting that she might have ADHD just based off of the similarities that I see between her and her brother, who was diagnosed with ADHD in December.

I can’t forget that God gave me these children. He gave them to me because he knew I’d be the best mom for them. Although, sometimes it feels like I’ve failed them. Yet, they cling to me because they love me. And I love them. My little responsibilities that I’m so thankful to have.

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