This is a post that I have had on my heart for quite a while, but knew that I needed ample time to think and write, in order to express all that I need to say. I wanted to pick a day that was a more 'normal' day, and that my emotions were not running wild from one extreme to another. If I chose a day that I felt concerned or sad, my post would reflect that. If I posted on a day that I'm on cloud nine, it would end up a 'Pollyanna' post. So, I am choosing this day to write what is on my heart. I have the house to myself, I have no place to be until later today, and my mood is pretty evened out this morning. (Yes, I over-analyze!)
This year, 2011, I believe, will stand out in my mind for as long as I have breath in my body. You know, we have those years and times in our lives that just seem to forever feel so current and real to us. There are some years that I barely even remember, but, then, there are a few years, I can tell you exactly what was happening, who was there, what we were wearing, and I can even recall the smell or feeling of that particular time. For instance, I was only 4 1/2 when my Pa-Pa Pounders passed away, but, I recall those few weeks before and the days during the visitation and funeral as if it happened yesterday. It's almost as if I can close my eyes and be there once again. One particular homecoming parade, Christmas party, ballgame at school, homework assignment, graduation, wedding day, the birth of my children, etc. fall into that category. There are a few unpleasant times that I remember and if I dwelled on, would rip my heart out just as it did at the time, but, I choose not to think on those as much.
The main CHANGES in my life by George in 2011 include the following:
1. Our Home school Journey comes to an end.
2. My Mother's health declines drastically.
3. My Daddy retires.
4. Both my children have full time jobs.
5. The time to help my husband financially arrives.
6. I become a working woman outside our home.
If you have visited Life By George much at all, you know that I have home schooled our children for many years, and that my life has been centered around my husband for 26 years, and my children for 23 years. Also, my parents are very important in my life. I have been far from perfect in all of these areas, but, my heart has been in the right place, and I tried so hard to dedicate my life to God, Family, Home, Church, and Friends.
I struggled from the beginning of Cale's senior year with feelings of sadness and uncertainty with the end of our journey of home schooling coming to an end. I gave this example one day (after Cale's graduation): 'I feel like I am in a boat without an oar, just sitting there, going whichever way the wind blows my boat.' Even though I had that feeling of wandering and of having no control, my heart and my mind still knew that God has been, is, and always will be in control, and that if I would just wait upon Him, all would be well. Who needs an oar when you have the Master of the wind, right? But, I am human, so, I struggled with some restless days and sleepless nights, and shed several tears crying out to God to guide me and direct my paths; to steer my boat, so to speak.
To help with expenses, during Cale's senior year in school, I had babysat one baby boy (from the time he was about 2 1/2 months old) full time and another baby boy part time. Needless to say, I fell head over heels in love with these little boys, and when circumstances changed with my Mother's health, my heart broke when I had to give the babies up. I honestly mourned over the decision. I didn't need to be so tied down that I couldn't jump in the van and leave at any given time of day. Also, Scot and I had said for many years, that as soon as Cale graduated, I would get a good job, so I could help him with our expenses, and we could get some bills paid off, and not struggle as much financially. Giving up those two little boys rocked my boat quite a bit.
After I stopped babysitting, Mother's health continued to decline, so I didn't even look for another job right away. We almost lost her in July. She stayed in the hospital for several days. After that, she was in rehab for a couple of weeks. In the meantime, my Daddy, who has worked almost all of his life retired, so he could be home with Mother and be her caregiver around the clock. After Mother got home from rehab, she seemed to do some better for a few days, and then, she got worse. She suffers from Post Polio Syndrome, which there is no cure for. The pain is excruciating and constant. We were very saddened when we were told that her wheel chair and scooter would have to become her best friends...we cried in the doctor's office. Mother never walking again was a fact that broke our hearts and upset our world, but compared to the pain she has suffered, her not being able to walk has been minor. Between having surgery on her knee and several tests, she has been put to sleep 5 or 6 times since the end of July. When we rushed her to the hospital July 29th, they had to give her 4 units of blood. She had all the symptoms of stomach or colon cancer. They talked to us very frankly and we felt so hopeless. We got the word out and got our friends and families praying, and after doing a couple of tests on Mother that Monday and Tuesday, they told us she had a bleeding ulcer that had bled slowly, which is why she didn't realize she was losing blood. We were so relieved that she didn't have cancer. My Mother is the strongest woman I've ever met. Polio affects your muscles, and the initial disease left her with a limp and weak muscles, but she has NEVER used that as an excuse to half way do anything! She has always been a wonderful wife to my Daddy, an outstanding Mother to me, a caring and loving Ma-Maw to my children, and a constant and faithful servant to others. She was an immaculent housekeeper, a hardworking member of the PTA, a zealous and loud cheerleader in the Belmont Cardinal stands, a cook of large, delicious meals, and a comfort through phone calls, visits, and cards to many. Even since she has been in such terrible pain, went for days without sleeping, etc., she is still so thoughtful and caring toward others. One day, when I went back to her bedroom, she handed me a list. The list had the names and dates of people that would have birthdays or anniversarys throughout the end of this year. She wanted me to buy cards for each of those people. The days that she can't write, if there is a special occasion coming up, she has me to sign and address the card for her. Would I be that thoughtful toward others during such a time? I truly hope so. Mother is weak, and Mother is tired, but she continues to look forward to the day she gets her strength back and feels better. Many tears have been shed and many prayers have been offered on her behalf, and as long as there is breath in her body, I know God can give her relief and renew her strength if it is His will to do so. This has honestly been the most trying and the hardest time of my 46 years. Daddy and I feel so helpless most days. We do our best to meet her every need, but, after you give the pain meds, and she is still hurting so badly, there are times of frustration. It hurts our hearts to see her in such pain and so uncomfortable. My Daddy has been amazing! The nights he gets to sleep, he checks on her and gives her meds to her right on time. He keeps the housework and laundry going and their yard is always neat as a pen. I don't know what lies ahead for us, but, I can't help but praise the Lord for His constant care, His peace when all seems chaotic, His grace always being sufficient, and His love always being unconditional. The Joy of the Lord has been our strength.