Where to start.......
Noah came to me the other morning overly tired and not at all ready to head off to school. His lack of energy was due, as he explained, to staying up late reading the book form of my blog from years ago. As he excitedly retold story after story from the blog, I grew ashamed. How much of our shared history as a family have I neglected to record over the last 18 months? All the little day-to-day happenings that seem so inane at the time but mean so much when you start to forget how little the kids hands were once....how they struggled to say "motorcycle" correctly (it was noodle cycle- so precious).....the first time they became too cool to kiss you goodbye in front of their friends (6th grade for my oldest son). Zach is starting 1st grade this summer. Yes, I said this summer- his school is changing to tracks so for the next 6 years I'll have a child on year round and the other two will be traditional schedules, albeit high school and college schedules in some part.
This is a weird stage in our lives as parents. We have this elementary age child and then teenagers. It's almost like two families. James and I constantly have to remind ourselves that Zach will have so much one on one time with us as he gets older and Tay and Noah move on to college/missions/marriage. We remind ourselves because it seems like he gets lost so often in the shuffle of his older siblings' busy lives, and it's easy to feel guilty that their needs take precedence over his. I must say though, I am so overly emotional when it comes to Zach. Knowing he's my last makes everything he does all that more significant. He's my last "first day of primary"- my last "first day of Kindergarten". I'm going to cry a whole lot as all these "lasts" approach. I love holding his hand. It's my last "little hand". I think a child's hand symbolize so much to us as parents: love, complete faith and trust, need, hope, promise. Watching his hands grow has been one of the hardest things I've done. I remember those milestones of growth: being able to grab just a finger, then the first time his fingers clasped my hand as he walked by himself. Watching your kids grow up is equal parts joy and pain.
There's a reason I'm so nostalgic lately....a reason why Noah's musings made me feel so regretful. We've had some serious things going on in our house the last few weeks. I want to record them so that in the future I'll be able to remember this time in our life, but then I also want to forget it all as well. I want to remember how incredible my daughter is. How her faith surpasses my own and how she's taught me so much. About how I never knew she had such a strong and unfailing testimony. About how Patriarchal Blessings are such a gift and a guide. But I want to forget about just how scared you can feel- scared to your bones and very core- when you don't know what's wrong or how to fix it. When you are waiting up all night for answers you're not sure you want to get. When you are so frustrated you want to yell and scream and cry but you have to put this face of serenity and strength because you're the mom and you have to set the tone for how everyone should act.
My daughter is sick. No one has answers for us. We are going to our 6th dr. Appointment tomorrow. Her spine is so swollen we've nicknamed her Gollum. X-rays and MRI's haven't yielded answers. There was a scary week when they thought it was an inoperable tumor. Her symptoms have gotten worse as each week passes. The swelling has moved up her spine and into her neck. She's losing function in her hands and to a lesser degree, her feet. She has terrible headaches and nausea. We pray for answers which we know will come, but are taking time and patience has never been one of my strengths. I know whatever she has can be overcome- thats the blessing of a Patriarchal Blessing- but we need to know what we're fighting in order to start fighting. It's been a blessing in some ways: we've spent so much time together as a family, and we've tried to keep everyone close to home. The boys are kinder to her and their tears in her behalf show just how much they love her. As a mom, I'm cherishing all the one on one time I'm getting with my almost-adult daughter. In just a few years, she'll be off to college and I can't imagine the hole that is going to leave in our lives. Selfishly, I love that she needs me for the first time in her life. Tay was born an adult and has always been so ferociously independent. It's nice to have her lean on me and allow me to do little thing like brush her hair, put on her makeup, and hold her while she rests on my bed. I cannot put into words how much I love this girl, how much I love these children. Seeing them struggle and hurt is the worst feeling in the world. Your heart breaks over and over and then somehow repairs itself in time just to feel it break again. What a glorious torture being a mom is