Our Family

Our Family
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my hearts trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song. ~ Psalm 28:7

Monday, January 31, 2011

A New Appreciation

For the millionth time, I've suffered right alongside Kevin as he's endured yet another round of croup. Croup is that nasty, barky cough, the kind that starts up way high in your vocal chords, the kind that signals your airway is beginning to swell and tighten. It mainly comes on at night. Oh, you get a hint of what's to come as the daylight hours fade, and by day two, you're seeing the symptoms lurking around even when the sun shines.

And yes, it DOES sound as bad as it is. Because there is NOTHING you can do to "quick fix" it. So, we endure a three day run of horrible coughing at night, gasping breathing, sometimes vomiting (like last night ) from the shear force of coughing. A lot of times, we opt for the "go to" drug, steroids, which gives us the Incredible Hulk in pre-school form. (Envision Kevin telling you..."Mr. McGee, don't make me angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry").  Not a pretty sight, and truly, it doesn't even seem to work well anymore. Doesn't matter...steriods are prescription, and we're out from the last time we saw our doctor in Morgantown.

We approach nightime with fear and trepidation, knowing full well what's to come. I prep for a full night of trips outside into the ice cold air, hoping that helps. Or we try a hot shower steam sauna to see if that works. I bunk with him, I listen closely to see if we're getting to a distress point that needs an ER trip. Chris holds down the fort.

And then morning comes. And life must go on. Kids must go to school, and have breakfast, and be at the bus stop on time with lunches in hand. Dad must go to work. And Kevin, despite his lack of sleep, breathes much better as daylight is ushered in. And, let's face it, he's four years old. He's ready for the day, albeit, a much more subdued version than he normally tackles.

And then there's me. Zombie Mommy. No amount of caffeine makes up for the lack of sleep. No amount of hot showering can relieve the stress I carry in my shoulders from tensely waiting to see what would happen in the wee hours of the worst of it. I'm exhausted, and barely tolerating a massive headache between my temples. Chris is gone, and it's just Kevin and me. I'm barely able to tackle the breakfast cleanup, and Ryan will be home soon. And I'll have to be "on" again. 

Normally, this would be the tipping point for me. The point where I throw myself onto my bed and just cry. BUT, this time is different. And I have to pinch myself to remind myself that it's different.

THIS time, my MOM saves the day! Chris can stay at work, the kids can come home to a slightly less crazy mom than they expected, (Chris can safely expect not to receive a dozen phone calls from me melting down!) all because I could punt the remainder of the day to Grandma!

I'm not boasting about this, please know. For many years, Grandma was too far away to be able to help out the way I always dreamed it would be. And we had an awesome church family to rely on, a family who always came through for us. But in the back of my mind, I always imagined how it would be to have my mom close by, close enough to call on when I needed her.

That puts so much into perspective for me. My own mom's mother died when Mom was only 22 years old. Breast cancer. She raised my brother and I without the chance to lean on her mom's advice and wisdom. I still can't believe how she managed to do such a great job without being able to call her mom and cry/shout/laugh/listen/vent. But she did. And so she and I are BOTH still learning how this new dynamic works, since it's a new experience for both of us. How the "Mother/Daughter who's also a Mother" relationship unfolds and evolves.

But today, well this was it. This was what I always wanted. I wanted the chance to call on her, and for her to respond. I think she wanted to the chance to be needed. And we both wanted the opportunity to prove that no matter the time or years that have passed, no matter the lack of knowledge we have about how to play out our roles, we are still mother and daughter.

So she took care of me today. No miraculous healing was performed, no five course meal was prepared, no super human chore list was crossed off. Instead, she just let me be, she let me rest, comfortable, safe, content knowing she was there for me. She did what she needed to take care of the grandchildren she loves, and she kept the day as stress free as possible so I could step up to be the best mom I could be to those grandchildren she loves. And she just quietly loved me. Thanks, Mom.

What more could I possibly ask for?


  1. Love it. Can't wait until that time comes for me and my mom and mom-in-law. So great to have your family back in the area! <3

  2. Karen, your story of course brings a huge smile to my face:), but also the tears flow quickly. JOY for you, for your mom, oh how God is faithful! Tears for me, my own dreams of being close to my daughter one day, but how incredibly grateful I am to be near my precious grandchildren! I am still marveling at God's amazing work in the lives of you and your family!