If you ever feel like you mess up as a parent, take comfort from this. 🙂
It started with a ferocious leg cramp.
Like a charley horse on steroids, it hit the muscle in my shin. Never felt anything like it. Whined like a baby as Brian tried to stretch and massage it.
I stood up and hobbled around the room. Finally sat on the steps leading upstairs and planted my feet on the tile floor. Tried to gently stretch the muscle back out.
We’d been hiking that day, but nothing too strenuous – three miles out and back. It had been hot though. Really hot. So maybe I just needed some water?
Brian gave me some electrolytes. Fancy stuff from the runners store. Tasted horrible, but I chugged some down.
Then I started feeling dizzy. Cold sweat. World fading in and out.
Cassie and Savannah had been out jumping on the trampoline. They just walked in when my world started going woozy. They tell me I turned shades of green, blue and finally ashen. Cassie grabbed frozen potstickers from the freezer and put them on my neck (we were out of peas – she made do). Mom got a cool wash cloth and put it on my forehead. Savannah went to a side table, pulled out a kleenex, sprayed it with water. She brought it over and pressed it into my neck. “This will make you feel better, Mama.”
Oh baby girl…
I started to come back around. Brian ran for the blood pressure monitor and they placed it on my arm. It tried to read my pressure two times before saying “error.”
The world started fading again. I was drenched in sweat. Brian was holding the phone in his hands. “You better call,” I said, before I dropped my water and crumpled down another step.
I could hear Brian talking into the phone as Cassie cradled my head – I was in and out. Although I do remember having the wherewithal to hope the EMTs might be handsome, young and single since I’d messed everything else up for Cassie’s second day in town.
The ambulance arrived. The guys asked me a ton of questions and hooked me up to an IV. I’d had some arm pain so they were concerned about my heart. They suggested I go in to the hospital to get some more tests. I was scared enough to comply.
They loaded me up on the gurney and into the ambulance.
Brian would follow close behind while Mom and Cassie kept an eye on Savannah.
The ambulance started moving and the EMT asked me more questions. I knew I was a little slow in answering, but I tried to stay focused.
Then he raised his arm to adjust something on my IV. His forearm was directly in front of my face and he had a very large tattoo.
The grim reaper.
Big. Shadowy. Dark cloak. Skull. Reaper thingy in his hand.
On his arm.
In an ambulance.
Suddenly I was no longer at a loss of words.
“Nice choice of tattoo.” I managed, quite clearly.
“Oh,” he said, as if it were no big deal that he has a GRIM REAPER on his arm in an ambulance with a potentially dying, delirious woman on his gurney. “I got that before I started in this job.”
Oh, you mean back when you were working as… a murderer?
I kept my eyes open. Alert. Aware. Watched his hands. Don’t move a muscle mister. I watched Karate Kid 1, 2 AND 3. I got moves.
We arrived at the hospital and I was never so happy to be wheeled in to an ER.
They ran some tests. It seems it was all just a perfect storm of going hiking on a hot day with one kidney and little water. My calcium was low too, and that seemed to intensify it all. Follow up with the doc and maybe a few more tests, but all in all – not near as bad as it could have been.
It was not my heart. I didn’t die.
No thanks to the grim reaper.
So here’s the thing, I know tattoos are really popular these days. But if you have any type of cloaked figure, skull and crossbones, poison symbols – anything dark and deathly and you happen to work in the health care field – cover it up. Masking tape. Gauze. Paint. Long sleeved shirt. Anything.
Please cover it to avoid giving a perfectly healthy dehydrated human a heart attack.
So that’s the story. Oh, and while Cassie didn’t find the man of her dreams in the EMT crew, we did manage to have some fun for the rest of the week. And we also received some adoption news. to check that all out, you can watch the YouTube here.
Be safe my friends! And may none of you encounter a grim reaper this week!
It doesn’t always happen.
Sometimes broken things stay broken for a million different reasons.
But our God is working, He is always working – and hope, life… and even sweet, godly romance are possible!
Check our story out here.
The little guy wouldn’t give up. Brian, Hannah (my niece) and I watched as the tiny mouse reached from underneath the fireplace to grab one of Savannah’s balls. He pulled, he yanked and it just wouldn’t fit.
I filmed him. Added some goofy commentary. We laughed harder (see the 20 second video Here).
That little mouse tried to pull that ball through for a good 30 minutes, convinced that either the size of the ball or the solidity of the fireplace would eventually give.
I kept laughing, Brian laughed, Hannah laughed. And eventually we went to bed, promising to buy a mouse trap in the morning.
This morning I woke up and the ball was gone. Gone. That little mouse figured it out. I have no idea how, no idea when, but while we were laughing at his foolishness, he was figuring it out. Darn if that little fighter didn’t make it happen.
I underestimated that critter.
And he taught me something.
Never give up.
You just might find a way.
No matter what big humans might be laughing at your efforts.
It was our first adventure in a camper. It all went well, if you don’t count my mini meltdown. 🙂 We saw Gorillas, a crazy huge mouse and ate s’mores. Here’s a 5 minute snapshot of our adventures – would love your thoughts on other family building ideas!
Every good story starts with a toddler…
I’m sporting this shirt for luck today.
Tomorrow I’ll be wearing this.
Not to church. Did that last week and it was sooooo awkward.
I’m actually wearing it to my very first Aquabike race, triathlon style.
750m swim, 20k bike, 750m swim.
I’m ready, I think.
Except they have this weird rule in racing triathlons where they log your age as what you’ll be on December 31st of the same year.
As if 46 doesn’t feel old enough.
But you know what? It’s okay. Better than okay. I thought I would be scared today. I thought for sure I’d obsess about cycling into another biker, dream about whacking some other poor swimmer on the head or imagine myself coming in long after the sun goes down and the rest of the racers are home with their feet up sipping electrolyte drinks.
But I’m not obsessing, dreaming or imagining all those horrible things.
I keep walking around the house and informing family members, dogs and the occasional fly… “I’m going to be in a race tomorrow, don’t know if you know. It’s a swim, bike, swim. Yeah… so.”
I can’t wait to put on my form fitting tri-outfit that celebrates and accentuates my extra curves – leaving far too little to the imagination. I’m excited to strap the timing chip around my ankle and put on my lime green swim cap with my own very own race number. I’m all giddy about gathering with the other racers and hearing “Go” and then dashing off into the chilly water to begin my first swim.
I feel like a kid again – but even better because back in the day I was too scared to even try stuff like this. I loved adventure, but I hated the idea of racing, being last, being the turtle in the midst of the rabbits.
But now I truly don’t care. I’m a racer. An athlete. A 46 (or 47 – whatever) year old triathlete, to be exact. Go, turtle, go!
So if you think of it tomorrow, say a little prayer for this aging racer. That I don’t run any cyclers off the road, drown any fellow swimmers or come in long after the final horn has blown. Just pray I finish with a smile on my face. And that I get a medal. I really, really want a medal.
Okay, off I go. Gotta go start putting on my outfit. It takes a bit of time to stuff all of me in there.
On your mark, get set, GO!
I’m 45 years old and I downloaded a Justin Bieber song.
Sure it was a while ago, but the lyrics came to mind this week.
As long as you love me, we could be starving, we could be homeless, we could be broke.
Now that’s sweet.
This last weekend Brian and I went camping up in the mountains. I carried Savannah on my back in a cool little pack and Brian carried all the rest of our gear – tent, sleeping bags, diapers, food and a million other “just in case” essentials.
And yet I was the one to get all the compliments from the other hikers.
“Wow, way to go.”
“Good job, Mom.”
Brian carried twice the weight and received half the glory.
I married a good man.
So we got to the campsite, six miles up a long and winding trail. By the time we arrived, I was drenched from head to toe in sweat and my shoulders were aching. I was thrilled to see the cabin where we could check in and Savannah was thrilled to see all the other hikers. She doesn’t know a lot of words yet, but it doesn’t seem to matter. She’ll hold a conversation with just about anyone as long as they nod at her animated noises.
We finally headed off to our site, set up our tent and nestled into our jammies. I wondered at Savannah. This was her first time out in the wild. Her first time camping. Her first time hiking.
Would she hold up?
I wasn’t sure what a dark night and the cold mountain air might bring. I could picture us trying to rock her as she wailed at the injustice of it all. Where is my crib? What have you done? Why is there a bear nibbling on my ear?
We laid out our sleeping bags and snuggled her in between us. She pulled her blankie up to her nose and looked around.
Her eyelids did the sleepy shuffle and Brian and I exchanged smiling glances above her head. This just might work!
The sky darkened and Brian and I whispered a sweet conversation until our own bodies settled in.
At home Savannah usually wakes at 4 a.m. I’ll sneak in, give her a pacifier and off she’ll go to dreamland again. On this trip she woke up several more times than usual. Maybe it was the dark, the noise of the fellow campers, the colder night air.
I thought she might get undone, but instead, she woke up and reached out her hand. She touched my chest, “Mama.” She reached over to Brian, “Papa.”
And went back to sleep.
Four or five times through the night, “Mama,” “Papa.” Back to sleep.
She didn’t care if it was cold. Dark. Different. As long as we were there, she was fine.
I had a tougher week this week. My heart was hurt. I was tempted to pout, wail, ball up my fists. But then I remembered Savannah and her nighttime touches, and instead I imagined myself curling into my God’s arms, tapping his chest, “Papa.”
He’s there. I’m safe. And as long as he loves me, I can face anything.
Enter Justin Bieber: As long as you love me, we could be homeless, we could be starving, we could be broke.
Of course the week didn’t bring anything near as dramatic as all that, but the song came to mind. And yes, that’s why I downloaded a Justin Bieber song at 45 years old. It makes me think of my God and it reminds me of what’s important, no matter what this life brings.
He loves me. And I desperately need that.
But don’t expect me to dance. Or flip my hair as I gyrate my hips.
I have my limits.
We’re like the start of a bad joke: An atheist, a Jesus-lover, an artist, a teacher and an ex-military guy walk into a bar…
Only it’s no bar. We met at the dog park and (most) every Monday night we walk into a coffee shop or someone’s home to talk writing.
They’re my writer’s group—and they rock.
It’s our dogs that actually brought us together. Mattie brought her owner, Jayson, to the dog park. Max and Simba Roo brought me.
Max and Mattie are sweet on each other, so while they whispered sweet nothings into each other’s ears , Jayson and I found out that we’re both writers.
Tiva hangs out at the park too, and she introduced me to her owner, Thom.
Jayson, Thom and I started chatting and they invited me to their writer’s group. We’re a diverse band of artists. Thom is a gifted cartoonist and sculptor. He’s a great writer as well, and has written a book on being the best atheist you can be. I write books on loving Jesus and then speak at women’s retreats. Jayson does Civil War fiction, Cheri writes children’s books and Pam does a little of everything, including painting and sculpting.
You’d think Thom and I would go at it at our Monday night meetings—I’d thump my Bible and he’d debunk my beliefs and the others would vote for the most eloquent argument. A good old-fashioned rivalry: like the Yankees and the Red Sox, apples and oranges, vegetarians and cattle ranchers… you get the idea.
But it’s not like that. We genuinely like each other. And while I occasionally say things that make his eyebrows go skyway, he smiles when he sees me at the dog park and still welcomes me into the writer’s group.
The others are just as engaging. We don’t share a lot in common beyond a love of the arts and a tenderness for our pups, but that’s enough. It’s enough to make us laugh together, cheer for each other and share life.
Now I’m not saying that I wouldn’t love for Thom to believe in Jesus. After all, I love Jesus and care about Thom – I’d be crazy not to want that. But I don’t hang out with Thom for that sole purpose. I hang out with Thom, Jayson, Pam and Cheri because they are lovely people with unique talents and I genuinely enjoy their company. They make me a better writer, a better artist and a better person.
And bad joke or not, that’s good enough for me.