Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mothers, Miracles and Mortarboards

I had a different kind of Mother's Day last week. Our oldest daughter graduated from college. She has earned honors and awards in connection with her academic work, and is preparing her thesis for publication. Here is the kicker - She was offered a full time job with benefits last month, and begins work in the Honors College this week. A Humanities Major with full time employment in this economy. Now that's a miracle.
Our other daughter was able to take us to several exhibits where she has her artwork on display. We were able to see her works in progress in the studio. She shared with us her idea for a project that could impact millions of people. It might take time, and effort getting many people involved. All great things do. But she has it in her to be able to do this.
Another miracle in the making.
Each moment of being a mother has the potential of bringing great joy or deep heartache. There is nothing that can teach you more about love, forgiveness, repentance, trust, and enduring than connecting yourself completely to another life, unconditionally, for the rest of your life.
There is a risk that children will choose to turn away from all you have offered them. There is a risk that they will not forgive you for the mistakes you made (Yes, all parents make plenty of them). There is a risk they will choose to do things that will cause them pain, which causes you pain. There is a risk that others will hurt them, which hurts you.
It is very likely that you will do the best you can, and your children will grow up becoming capable adults. They will make mistakes, and forgive you for yours. They will go through difficult times, their own heartaches, and become stronger for it. They will remember that you use your days to learn and grow and try to make a difference in this world. They will see that they can settle for getting by, and be fine with a basic level of happiness, or they will realize that there is a greater joy and deeper love possible.
In other words, their life will unfold pretty much the way yours did.
Each Mother's Day tends to remind me of all this. Some reminders are painful, some joyful.
This year was no different. I don't know if I enjoy the joy that much more because I know the pain. I do know it is all part of me being a mother.
That is something I hope I never graduate from. There is always a higher degree to pursue.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

I Can See Right Through You

Mike is still in pain. He can't raise his left arm, his neck and shoulder are still hurting. He can't find a comfortable sleeping position, and he has to find ways to do more tasks with his right arm. He tries not to let on that this is effecting him, but he can't always hide the tension in his face that builds up as the day goes on and pain wears on him. And yes, I do see the grimaces when he tries to do something that would normally be easy but it just hurts.
Now I am not one that responds to wimpiness, and I have frequently used the phrase, "Would you like some cheese with that whine?"
But I am not sure there are great benefits to the "I haven't got time for the pain" method of healing either.
Mike went and saw a specialist last week. I saw Mike's jaw clench and eyes water as the doctor poked and prodded his neck and shoulder, expressed concern with the bone movement and ordered a CT scan. He looked at the instacare x-ray and said it was not detailed enough to show the problems.
Even the x-ray is trying to hide the pain.
There is one thing that Mike is totally transparent about. He really misses riding his bike, and not riding is impacting him as much if not more than the pain. Each time he goes into the garage he looks at the broken and mangled pieces of his bike, and mourns a little. He had worked long and hard getting every component and adjustment perfect on that bike. No parts are salvageable. I offered to help him arrange a burial, but we need to keep it until the insurance is done with it.
We took it to the bike shop to get a statement for replacement cost. As we unloaded it, each of us carrying parts and some dangling pieces dragging on the ground, I said, "When we go in there, please walk up to the repair desk and say - I think something is wrong with my bike. It isn't handling well. Can you fix it?"
He wouldn't say it. That tells you how much the pain is effecting him.
Does a wounded sense of humor count as pain and suffering?