from an article originally posted July 3, 2014...
I’m limping along trying to figure out the right time to take my new chemo and the right combination of drugs to help the pain of my cancer that is pressing in on nerves in my back and on my hip, as well as managing the side effects of my chemo. It’s a dance, a freaking ugly dance. One day I have the steps right, the next day I’m dancing with a puke bucket in my purse—lovely. This week has been uniquely tough because I have realized this is my dance forever. Well, until this drug stops working and another harder drug will replace this one.
So I’m stumbling, trying to find my way with this new routine. I’m awkward at best but thankful the my options for treatment have not run out. The worst of the side effects are about to hit me, and I’m trying my best to anticipate how to deal with this new side effect I have never had—deeply cracked and peeling hands and feet. But we will cross that bridge. We will dance like awkward middle schoolers just excited to be invited to the dance.
Yesterday a dear friend asked to take my kids for the day. Throughout the day, she sent me pictures of the kids joyfully playing. She would send me texts telling me how much fun the kids were having. She sent a text telling me what wonderful kids we had—what mama doesn’t love to hear that? Then the text came asking if the kids could stay the night. She kept thanking me for trusting her with my babies. This friend is a delight, a soft hearted, big love delight—as are her kids that match mine in age.
I had a friend shopping with me yesterday at Costco to do the heavy lifting for me, and spend time catching up on life together. She asked me if I was missing the kids. I thought about it, and simply answered no. Then I kept thinking about that question. I came to the answer with Jason last night. I told him the entire story of the day, the kids having big fun with Angie Strickler, and being asked if I missed the kids. Here is what I have thought about:
- I am limited in this season. Limited more than I would like to admit.
- I have friends, amazing friends, that are not limited in this season of their life that bring big love to my kids.
- My kids are being loved, nurtured, played with, embraced, prayed for, met.
- We are very careful and prayerful in who we let our kids sleep over with. We have never taken this lightly, as many of you can attest to crazy things happening on sleep overs in your own childhoods. So we are careful—endlessly careful and unafraid to say no to situations that we are not comfortable. I do not let mom guilt lead me here. We are carefully attentive here and we love when all our kids are together on a sleepover.
- I also realize I’m building a larger community of mamas around my babies when I open these kinds of doors and let other mamas into the lives of my children. This is not simply a sleepover; these moments are connections for my kids to mamas I heart, mamas who are likeminded, mamas who will one day gather tightly around my nest and care for my babies in my absence. They are a community of love, and in seeing the community of mamas around my brood, I can see the goodness of God in our hard. I can face what I’m facing with a little less fear. I especially love this because all my team (all four kids) are together.
So no, I didn’t miss the kids in a traditional way. I certainly missed their presence, their kisses, their laughter in the house. Saying yes provided me a day to work the kinks out of my medicine routine. I could delight in the fact that my kids were loved, big huge loved, and cherished by a friend that knows how to bring big Jesus love. I could have a quiet night with Jason, and know my kids were being uniquely loved and embraced.
For the sick person, it is hard to learn to say yes. Maybe one of the hardest things I have learned. Yes to meals, yes to kids help, yes to help with cleaning, yes to offers to run away and play with my kids. I love being the giver, I prefer it. But this is a season of receiving. I’m learning, learning, learning to say yes. You see, I could keep my kids snuggled close, moving slow with me, but they would have missed some of grabbing the best of life with their friends. So, I get to open wide my hands, let my community love us, and watch my kids flourish even in the midst of our hard. Do I want to be the strong, fun, going mama? Yes.. But that isn’t where Jesus has me right now.
How is receiving hard for you? Is there a place you are being called to give, to partner, to step into today that frightens you? This weekend is the 4th of July. I would love to hear in the comments how you are going to chase after and capture life this weekend. How are you going to put aside worry and fussing, and simply love big and enjoy your people? Do tell. I’m running away with old friends and new friends to a cabin. I’m going to be cooking, teaching my friends a new card game I learned at Latigo Ranch called Knock, and I’m going to let my kids get dirty—really happily dirty. Maybe a flea market, maybe fireworks, but absolutely laughter and fun.