Thursday, March 31, 2016

Moving, Doctors, and Finding Joy in the Unknown

Three months ago we followed the dream.  We packed up and moved four states away from everything we ever knew.  While it was and still is exciting there was one detail that I didn't fully think through.  Doctors.  To say that I dislike going to the doctor would be an understatement.  I get it, they are doing their jobs.  Mostly I just wish I wasn't in need of ever seeing one.  I am not a fan of taking medicine, or needles, or tests that could possibly inflict pain of any kind.  My pain tolerance isn't unnecessarily low my tolerance for dealing with things like this is quite low.  

In my delusion with this move, I had this crazy idea that I was going to get out of ever going to the doctor again when I moved.  A small part of my brain (read all of it,..all of my brain) thought that by moving south I would lose twenty pounds when I crossed the border and become so healthy from the sunshine that I would no longer require a medical professional as long as I remembered to wear sun screen.  I also was under the delusion that if I needed anything I could just call the doctor I've seen for over twenty years and he could just send the script to my husband and be done with it...because in "Heather world" this is how things should work.  I get what I need and I never have to enter the cold sterile world of a medical structure.  This however, is not how the real world works.  My doctor sent me in a three month supply at the request of my husband so that I don't drop dead and told him I had three months to find a new doctor.  Apparently there is a law or it is frowned upon to prescribe to a patient you cannot actually see to diagnose.  Whatever...

I spent weeks researching doctors on the internet.  One of my best friends is named Google.  She doesn't send me Christmas or Birthday cards but she is handy for information.  I googled family practitioners near me and then sorted through them all looking at their Vitals and Health Grades online and all sorts of patient reviews. I even went so far as making an appointment with one doctor and then changing my mind and picking a different one.  (The first one didn't sit well and I felt unease about it.)  I made the appointment and then had weeks to stew about it.  

Wednesday I went to this new doctor and it became quickly a "Toto...I don't think we're in Kansas anymore" type of situation.  (The building is two levels for one.) For those of you that are not aware I moved here from a one stoplight town surrounded by corn fields in the Midwest.  We are now in a warmer climate where I haven't seen a single stalk of corn but many a cow and if you can think it, its probably here.  I brought a book because I was sure that I would probably have a wait.  I had to stand in a line to check in and there were two desks across from each other where you could check in.  You have to have your id and insurance card ready before you get up there.  There were many people waiting.

Here are my thoughts and observations before being seen by anyone:

1.  Are all of these people waiting to be seen? This is going to take forever
2.  Shouldn't there be a television in the waiting room playing Little House on the Prairie?  This place seems kind of new-ish, couldn't they afford a flat screen to entertain the masses that are waiting? 
3.  I think there is a rule that I can just leave if the wait time is over 30 minutes.  That's a thing right? 

When I get called up I did ask the gal if the doctor was nice.  She checked to see who I was seeing and then sang his praises.  Note to self: OK he seems to be liked by the staff.  If she checked to see who it was that means there must be someone that is not up to par.  It seems I chose well. 

I didn't have to wait too long before getting called back.  I'd say about 2-3 pages into a book.  There doesn't seem to be any real decor and everything is very sterile looking.  I had to stand on the dreaded scales and then in my head I heard my nurse back home tell me, "We are going to the room with the butterflies on the door."  There are no butterflies on any doors and there aren't any family pictures in the exam rooms.  Mostly it seems cold.  But then I got to talk to this new nurse and she seems really nice.  I then get to meet the doctor a short time later.  He arrives and apologizes for my wait which really wasn't that long.  He looks very doctorly. (Yes it's a word even if spell check disagrees.)  What I got from the appointment was that he seems very knowledgeable and when describing my recent history he doesn't seem to agree with my treatment.  He spent some time shaking his head and put his head in his hands at one point.  What I also found out is that I have spent too much time going to the Wawa and should meet a vegetable or a piece of fruit sometime.  

I explained to him that I had thought I would lose weight when I moved here but then we met the Wawa and losing weight has taken a back seat to everything else.  He seems to have a good head on his shoulders so I think this might work.  

So here's the take away.  Oh don't look surprised you knew a lesson was coming.  Moving is stressful.  Parenting is stressful.  Adulting (this too is a word) is well... stressful.  Sometimes it can all be overwhelming...especially when you have water coming out the bottom of the dishwasher and no clue who to call and really all you want to do is curl in a ball and cry.  I struggle keeping it all together.  I'm not as brave or near as confident as I'd like to believe I could be but here's the thing...  From the very beginning of this journey even when we thought the journey was not going to happen, God has been right there to put people in our path to help us with all of this.  Even with all the stuff that can send you in a tizzy and make you question everything, God is there.  I know very few people here.  I don't have even a handful of people to call for coffee or a movie for a girls night.  I don't have my beloved Bunco group and I sure don't have the surroundings I've known my entire life including my medical team.  What I do have though are possibilities and promises.  I have dreams and sunshine after the storms.  Honestly this week has stressed me and stretched me.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  My life verse plays in my mind followed swiftly by this one found in John 16:33 "I have told you these things so that you can have peace in me, In this world you will have trouble but take heart! I have overcome the world."  I'm holding onto these promises as I learn my way here.  I can do this.  I can live this new life because every step of the way God has made a way for us.  He put things in place, he brought friends before us to show us the way, when we arrived and were living in the mess of boxes he helped us to find all the paperwork we needed for everything.  He placed us in a church where I really like the pastor and his wife and think to myself, "He might be the man who performs the ceremony for my children's weddings."  In this church we found a guitar teacher for my daughter and she learned more in one lesson than ten back home.  In this neighborhood we have met people who are kind and maybe not lets go hang out friends but people we can ask questions or call on to remove a snake.

I'm holding on for dear life.  I am stressed to the point of breaking out in hives but I'm also filled with joy.  I may not be brave but I can rest assured because I am beloved.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Is This Midlife Crisis?

In this quadrant of life I find myself in I find myself seeing things in firsts and lasts.  In just a matter of ten short days my oldest child will turn twenty years old.  Gone will be her teens the very last vestiges of her childhood gone with the turning of the clock.  I see flashes of her childhood flashing before my eyes.  Her first day of kindergarten when she said she was a big girl now and she had to ride the bus to school.  Her learning how to read, how to write, how to multiply, how to drive.  So many firsts with so many more yet to come.  Last days of elementary, last day of junior high, and last day of high school she was sure would never come and I wasn't sure we would survive with so many roller coasters that we seemed to be riding.

As a teenager I couldn't wait to fly the nest and get on with life and as a mother I'm terrified of her flying away and getting on with her life.  No longer will I be the mother of three teenagers.  I will be the mother of two teenagers and an adult.  How do I mother her now?  I haven't even gotten this mother of teenagers thing figured out yet?  These people are growing up far to quickly for my taste.  Where do we go from here?  My entire identity is changing.

I was married at twenty two and had my first child at twenty three.  I stayed home to raise my children, a gift that I acknowledge, and an enormous blessing as I am aware not everyone is able to do so.  I haven't been in school for over twenty years.  I didn't use the two associate degrees I earned in college and I don't know what I'm supposed to do with myself in this quadrant.  How do I introduce myself to people when my children are grown?  "Hello I'm Heather and I'm a stay at home mom, I just don't have any children at home?"  Or " Hello I'm Heather and I'm a housewife who hates to cook, can't bake like her mother, and cleans when she can write her name in the dust?" (That part may be an exaggeration) How will I spend my days?  I don't watch soap operas and I'm not entirely sure what bon bon's are.

My middle child is eighteen years old and she can't wait to get a move on with figuring out her next steps.  My baby is thirteen.  THIRTEEN!!! The baby boy that I brought home from the hospital what feels like four years ago is now thirteen and is taller than everyone in our house.  He's smart and funny and handsome and you know that some girl is going to snatch him up and I will no longer be his favorite.

Is this a midlife crisis?  Is this THAT?  Am I suddenly going to get urges to drive sports cars and have surgery to pick my "girls" up to where they once were?  How does this thing work?  What is even crazier is I've been toying with the idea of going back to school.  I'm going to be "mid-forties" and I'm thinking of going back to school?  That's crazy.  By the time I graduated I'd have maybe five years to work before I was getting pushed out the door for being too old.  Who wants to hire a fifty-something year old with no experience right out of school who may very well retire at sixty-something if she even lives that long. Don't get me wrong I aspire to see the ripe old age of ninety five.  But let's be real here.  I had my baby at thirty.  And what would I study?  Can you transfer twenty year old college credits?  Even if you don't remember the classes because your entire existence has been about kids, kids activities, and carpools?

Twenty years old....and it went too fast.  I want to go back to the American Girl store and start over.  I want to get all rapped up in that cult of dolls and all their accessories.  I want to buy the barbies and the matchbox cars and the Lincoln logs and forget this business of colleges and graduations and first apartments and marriages.  I don't even know how to make chicken and noodles for two people.  Will we just eat out or eat frozen entrees for one?  What if he doesn't like me anymore when it's just the two of us?  We've had children for almost the entirety of our marriage.  I'm not near as cute as I once was.  He looks the same if not better, I look like I'm old enough to be an older cousin.

But then again...maybe it won't be so bad.  Maybe they will marry really great people someday and our family will get bigger.  Maybe someday we can all be in a room without someone being mad at someone else.  Maybe we can come together at holidays around a table of the finest meal Bob Evans has to offer at Easter and enjoy watching our future grandchildren hunt for eggs.  Maybe my husband and I will travel and see the world.

Maybe...God has got this too.  Maybe I should take a beat and remember who I am and not everything has to be figured out this minute.  I am the child of a righteous King and whatever comes next...whether I have a really cool way of introducing myself or not, well, I suppose maybe the best identity I can think of is exactly who I am.  I'm the daughter of a King who was blessed to stay home with three great kids and whatever comes next doesn't change that.  I'll still be the mother of three great kids we'll just have a different dynamic.  Also I would do well to remember that they were never really mine to begin with, they are His.  He has a plan for each of them and if He has a plan for them, I can rely on Him to have a plan for me as well.

Now I really have to go because...well I have homework. One class awaits.  Let the experiment begin.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Happy 64th Birthday Mom!

February 25, 2016

Dear Mom,

You would have turned 64 today.  I wonder what you would have looked like?  Would you still color your hair? (Probably)  Would you wear it short or longer?  To my mind's eye you are frozen in time, forever 52, forever beautiful, forever youngish.  Would you have moved south with us or would you still be angry that we left?  So many questions left unanswered until we meet again.

Your grandchildren are getting so grown up.  Your oldest is going to be twenty.  Can you believe that?  M is finished with high school and preparing for college. and P, our baby who you never saw with hair, is taller than everyone in the house.  You would be so proud of them.  They would have driven your nut as they are just and sarcastic and snarky as their mother but you would have loved them deeply.

It was a moment, a blink of an eye, we were all together.  We were having lasagna for Christmas Eve, we were eating the best cookies and candies ever made, we were shopping for nothing in particular, we were arguing because we were both right ALL. THE. TIME., we were talking on the phone while I made dinner, you were coming over for dinner, the kids were spending the night.  It was a moment a lifetime ago and you were gone. I woke up and you weren't there and you weren't coming back.  I want to call you.  I want to tell you about our day.  I want to hear about your friends.  I want to argue with you because that's how I knew you cared.

We would be planning your birthday dinner for tonight.  I imagine you being tan and being here and taking you to our favorite place for shrimp here.  I can see you in your yellow swimsuit you wore the year we went to Surf side beach in South Carolina. I can see you sitting at the table drinking your coffee and chewing on your pinky finger like you used to do when you were tired.  I can hear you asking me what I want to do next.  Your voice is ingrained in my heart as well as your smile.

I'm sad but it isn't crippling anymore.  I can see past my last year with you.  I can remember all the fun times and smile because I was blessed enough to have you as my mother.  You were young and not ready to be a mother but you were perfect in your presence.  You were there for everything.  You didn't miss a beat and you had a look that could stop me cold in my tracks.  Oh how I wish I had inherited that.  I wish so many things.

Wishing is not futile however, because I have the certainty that I will see you again.  Until that day I'm sure your party in heaven is going to be amazing.  Have a great day and know that I love you always.

Love,

Heather