Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Transatlantic Tuesdays #4: Take the High Road
Transatlantic Tuesdays is a weekly letter writing series between me (in the US), and Maxine (in the UK), blogging from Down in Front, Please - sharing our journeys in the form of letters to one another. Previous letters are listed at the end of the post.
I loved your response to my last letter, and how you said this: "We simply don't live 'negative' with Rukai. Don't feel it, don't allow it, don't tolerate it. We fight it off like teenage acne."
Brilliant, simply brilliant. Except, it made me think that, if you are fighting it off like teenage acne, this negativity must come back often, since, we all know teenage acne isn't a solitary case. You must keep that acne cream handy in the form of positive, uplifting thoughts about your child and his upbringing, and wield it like a personal sword in defense of your son. I'm so glad to hear it.
And my jaw literally dropped when I read your story about the nurse comparing her son to yours. The nerve of her even saying that your son could be anything less! Time for her to go back to nursing school, or choose a new career. It reminds me of an episode of "Call the Midwife" that I watched a few years ago about a mother who gave birth to a child with spina bifida. In the early hours and days after his birth, she cannot bring herself to love him because he is different, and it's her wonderful, caring nurse who coaxes her into coddling that precious infant by saying, "Life is never without hope." I wrote about it here, because it touched me so. If only your nurse could have been so understanding.
And a big happy 4th birthday to Rukai! I'm sure many of his "challenges" will continue to be met as the years go by. So glad you enjoyed your birthday trip with him.
Now on to answer your question:
How do you deal with the unexpected when things go 'wrong' in your world? Either with kids' issues, family issues in general, looking after yourself, etc. When something threatens to derail, how do you get back on track?
Have you been spying on me? Do you know that this is like the number one thing I struggle with, and have struggled with, ever since become a mom and wife? I think it's quite natural to wish that things would always go smoothly in life--to wish that there were no worries, no pressing issues. I can plan and prepare all I want, but I can never plan for the unexpected. Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans, right? I feel like I've heard that somewhere...
I think my answer could be very similar to yours...to not view the things that happen in life as "wrong," but just part of life. The word "wrong" has such a negative connotation--does anything ever really go wrong? Or does it just go in a different direction, one that you hadn't thought of before? If you view things that derail you as wrong, you must be on the wrong path...the bitter path.
I walked down that lonely, bitter road for a while. I let all the difficult things thrown at me as a mother take me off the yellow brick road and into a path of self-destruction, where I was in a constant state of anger and upset. I felt like life did not turn out the way I planned it, at all. I walked down this path for a few years, after my two oldest were born, and I'm sure I wasn't a very pleasant person to be around. During this time, my husband and I had some health challenges of our own, and adding that to the giant pile of "stuff" we were already dealing with, it felt like we'd never see the light of day. As I said to my friend recently, when she was describing her current issues within her own family and what lie ahead for them, "Do you ever wake up sometimes and think, 'is this really my life?'"
Life is going to happen, full speed, and you have to be willing to jump on and take the ride. Trudging down the path of bitterness means you aren't living your life to its fullest--you're just hiding in the shadows of what could be a bright and glorious experience. Even with those same challenges, you can hop off that road of bitterness and onto the road of betterness.
When my third child was born with challenges after praying every day for a normal, healthy baby, I had to do some soul searching in my hospital room. Obviously, my children are giving me a choice: will I take the high road—the better road? Or the low road—the bitter road, of life? Is it still possible to feel content, at peace, when things turn out differently, or don't go the way you were hoping or expecting?
Yes, I told myself, holding my newborn son, who now faced a bumpy road of doctor visits and surgeries ahead of him. Yes, I have to take the better path—my kids are depending on me. I want them to see a happy, positive person so they can meet the challenges they will face with the same attitude. I would never want them to feel how I felt on that lonely bitter path. I have to do it, for my kids—they deserve the brightest future imaginable.
So, have things gone "wrong" in my life? No, but I have chosen the wrong path. I'm so glad I've made it back to the safe road that leads to hope and fulfillment--that leads to eternal joy and happiness.
Maxine, I know you are very sick right now, and have been for some time. Please find that spark of hope and meaning in it all. And if you are feeling up to it, I would love for you to answer this question in your response next Tuesday:
Speaking of challenges, what has been the greatest challenge Rukai has faced thus far, and has he overcome it?
New to #TransatlanticTuesdays? Catch up on what you've missed here:
Letter #1: --Maxine
Letter #2: --Kera