Wednesday, January 14, 2015
DIARY OF AN UNWILLING WIDOW
January 14, 2014
I'm tired today. We're back into early wake-up times now to get Ben off to school. Maybe after all that wonderful sleeping in during Christmas break and the late starts and snow days last week, my body is rebelling against finally having to awaken early again.
I woke up with a nightmare this morning. And then as soon as I awakened, I realized I had a migraine. Ugh. I dreamed that the bus came for Ben and he was nowhere to be found. I was screaming, "Ben - the bus is here! Benjamin!" and he didn't answer. So in my dream I scrambled outside with his backpack and gave it to the bus driver, assuring him that Ben would be out in just a second. I came back in the house, still yelling for Ben, only my hollering came out as squeaks, so of course, he couldn't hear me. I finally located him in the basement and he was oblivious to the time and circumstances (that part is true to life) and I became very upset that he didn't have his shoes on. So, then I had to go back to the bus so I could retrieve his bag and tell the driver I would just take Ben to school and I couldn't keep my balance and so had to inch across the yard to where the bus sat at the end of the alley. What a nightmare! I was telling David this later and he said, "Only a mom would think that dream was a nightmare!" Probably.
I had to take the girls in for check ups today - only so I could get IDs made for them so I can obtain social security cards with their new names. It's been an ordeal. So, we saw the dr. who has seen my other kids, but not the girls. He wanted to know all kinds of things about them. I finally had to tell him I know nothing about their medical history. We'll have to be surprised together.
I had forgotten that he plots the height and weight of his pediatric patients and then predicts their adult size. I remember he told me, years ago, Ben would top out around 5'10" and he was pretty close to that. Ben's at 5'11" and I am getting suspicious he is pretty close to being done growing.
So, he told me Lizzie will probably be a large woman. He's predicting she will grow to 5'10" or 11" and weigh about 200 pounds. This is if she continues growing at the same rate she is now. But Ellie is going to be smaller. He thinks the tallest she will hit will be 5'6" or 7" and won't weigh more than 130 pounds or so.
None of the girls' biological brothers are all that tall. Birth mom was maybe 5'4 at the most and she was tiny. I never met the bio father but was told he was short and round. So I really wonder where Lizzie is getting this height - must be some recessive genes that showed up in her. Too bad one of her brothers couldn't have gotten them instead! Oh, she'll be fine. There's nothing wrong with being tall and even a little overweight (although I don't think 200 pounds is unreasonable for a woman pushing 6 feet). But if she's going to have a more petite sister, I need to make sure we have lots and lots of talks about how beauty comes in all different sizes.
I became a little suspicious that the dr. thinks Lizzie may have ADHD or something like that. He commented a couple of times on how "lively" both girls were. They were pretty much bouncing off the walls by the time he saw them - messing with the roll-around stool and chair, climbing up on the bench, trying to scale the wall, (Ellie), messing with his tools, and both chattering away wildly. I commented that I am considering enrolling them in school next year and he looked at me almost gleefully and exclaimed, "Oh, I'm so glad! You have got to take care of yourself!" Later, he said we'd need to keep an eye on Lizzie and if she continues to be so outgoing or whatever we'd need to consider some options. Like what? Drugging her? I'm more concerned about Ellie, to be honest. She is such a little live wire and doesn't have half the common sense Lizzie does. But she's only three, too.
We finally got out of the doctor's office. I had to run to one store, which was another opportunity for the girls to demonstrate their complete lack of sobriety. I grabbed some lunch for all of us and as soon as we walked in the kitchen door I shooed them off to bed and collapsed briefly. No wonder I feel so tired!
Something happened to me a couple of weeks ago I forgot to write about. Really, it should be on my list of THINGS THAT STRESS ME OUT but I didn't feel a bit stressed when it happened. I suppose it was because I was in no real hurry. I was going to pick up the Littles from Merritts a couple of Saturday afternoons ago and as I travelled up Hwy 65, to turn off onto I-80, traffic came to a halt. I mean, a complete stop. Both lanes. I sat there for 45 minutes, along with everyone else. Eventually, my heat gauge began to climb a bit so I turned off the van and then realized that everyone else around me had already done the same. I don't know what you're supposed to do in situations like this. Maybe that's Traffic Jam 101 - turn off your vehicle. People were getting out of their cars, trying to see what was going on. One lady in an SUV drove through the median but it's rather steep and I was pretty sure my van couldn't do the same trick. Really, I was ok with the whole thing. I had a book so I had almost an hour of uninterrupted reading time. No children were in my van. If they had been, it would have been a different situation because they all would have needed to go potty/eat/pick a fight with their seatmate/ask 300,000 times, "When can we go?" "What's happening?"
Eventually, a couple of tow trucks drove breathtakingly close to the side of my van on the shoulder and awhile later we finally got to go. It turned out it was an accident between a pick-up and a full-size van. One of them was hauling a small U-haul trailer, which became disconnected in the wreck. But neither vehicle looked smashed to smithereens. Just another afternoon in the big city, I guess.
Just now Ellie asked for a couple of cookies, like Sam and Lizzie had a few minutes earlier. I replied to her what I had told her siblings - that I would let her eat the cookies, but she had to promise me she would eat all her supper tonight. I didn't want to hear, "Oh, my tummy is full!" when I finally serve them in another hour or so. I'm saying that because I'm fairly confident not one of them is going to be overly excited by tonight's menu (layered one dish dinner - stew beef covered in veggies and soups). Ellie replied earnestly, "Oh, I promise, Mommy! I will stick a needle in my eye!" I don't need quite that level of commitment...
Earlier today she was looking at some pictures on David's camera taken last May at Mount Rushmore. She squealed, "Mount Marshmallow!"
I'm going through a little booklet in my devotions by Adrian Rodgers called, How to Keep Your Spiritual Fire Burning. I like just about anything that man recorded or wrote. Today I was reading his explanation of what happened at Pentacost and he was covering the whole speaking in tongues thing. I liked this,
The true mark of spirituality is not that you speak in a foreign language or speak in an unknown tongue. The true mark of spirituality is that you control the one tongue that God has given you!
I went in for my second opinion this week on my tooth. I immediately liked the office because it looked old - like something from the 80s. Very unpretentious. Slick, modern waiting rooms are fun, but not so much when you remember that they have to pay for them somehow - and that somehow will probably be through you!
This dental office is a father/son operation and just seemed very relaxed. I saw the son and he was all for just pulling my tooth. He says, down the road, I may want to consider a bridge because, sooner or later, one of the filled teeth on either side of the broken one I have now will break off and I probably won't want to be minus two molars right next to eachother. I had asked my regular dentist when this happened about pulling what was left of the tooth and they acted like I had spouted dental blasphemy and wound up their you-want-to-keep-all-the-teeth-you-have spiel by muttering that besides, then all my teeth would fall over sidewise, trying to fill that space. Well, I sure don't want that to happen! But this dentist I saw emphatically told me that will NOT happen. I'm going with his opinion because pulling my tooth is going to cost a whole lot less than the implant or bridge they wanted to sell me. I get it out on the 28th.
I was also really impressed when he took the xray of my tooth. All my adult life, dental xrays have been horrible events because, "You have the smallest mouth!" they all exclaim and then insist on jamming a wad of cardboard full of sharp edges into my too-small mouth. This dentist started to try that and then stopped and said, "You know what?" And then he instructed me to just hold the piece of cardboard in place with my finger and he got the picture just fine. I didn't even know that was an option! He won my devotion right then and there!
I find that I am doing a lot better this month. I suppose some of that is just natural relief that the holidays are over. But, also my schedule has been a lot more relaxed this month. Granted, this week I have had somewhere I have needed to go every single day - but they haven't been all-day endeavors. I'm getting a lot of things crossed off on my to-do list, I'm actually educating my children, I'm cooking real meals instead of throwing an (industrial sized) package of corn dogs in the oven, and my house is no longer in a condition to warrant a visit from the state health department. I'm thinking that this is the pace at which I optimally operate. But you know me - pessimist to the core. I can't be content with what is at the moment. I need to borrow from the future and worry over that! So I am. I'm finding myself getting anxious about three years from now when I probably should be entering the work force. How will I manage? How will I cook and clean if I'm at work all day? What about when my kids need to go to the dentist? Will I have to take off work? What if I get fired because I take off too many days from work? Since they'll be in school they'll probably be exposed to all kinds of germs which will mean they'll be sick and what will I do when they are too sick for school? I'm trying to tell myself to stop and just enjoy this moment - this January, this year...
But I'm not very good at that.
I had my mp3 player going in the kitchen this week. There have been a number of songs I've avoided listening to since Paul's death - romantic songs, songs about marriage, etc. Well, I was busy doing something and the next thing I knew, Steven Curtis Chapman started crooning loudly, "I-I-I-I I will be here..." And what did I do? I yelled at him and said, "Well, you're NOT here now, are you?!" Maybe I'm entering the "mad at the dead person" stage of grieving.
I finally figured out this week what the hardest part of widowhood is. ( Hint: it's not hearing Christian romantic songs in my kitchen).
The other night I went to tuck Sam into bed and he started asking questions. He wanted to know why God decided his daddy had to die. Why couldn't God have just let him live, instead? His little lip started to tremble and my heart just broke to pieces. Sam rarely ever cries. Maybe he was extra tired. A friend suggested, when I told her later, that he might have been feeling Will's return to college after having been home for a month. That could very well be. But soon he was sobbing and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. Oh, I said all the right things. I assured him of God's love and provision. I reminded him of how much his dad had wanted him and loved him. I even told him I don't know why this happened. I told him, "You're right - this was never supposed to happen. It's not fair and it's not right!" And then we talked about God's original plan for mankind where we were never supposed to feel the sting (such a mild word for what feels like utter agony at times) of death.
But in the end, I had a little boy who cried himself to sleep that night because his daddy is dead. I went upstairs and fell apart.
This is the hardest part of widowhood, hands-down, bar none. I would gladly bear their pain myself if it meant they didn't have to. This is one of those areas where older widows have no understanding of what it's like. When they lose their husbands, it's generally more expected. Their children are grown and usually busy with families of their own - and know that at some point, they will be burying their parents in the years to come.
They don't have to try to fix broken hearts of children too young to understand why they don't have a daddy anymore.
I can't fix their hearts. I can't even mend them.
All I can do is cry right alongside them.
I'll take the financial burdens, having to learn things I never wanted to, the lonely nights, the silent phone, the sad Valentine's Days, and the bare ring finger. I can do those things.
But I can't do this.