Friday, March 7, 2008

Family Friday - An Alphabet Family is Born

I've got a yummy extra for you today, in honor of the big blog party. Usually, for my Family Friday posts, I write about my current joys and struggles of living the family life. This Friday, I thought I'd give you the first chapter of my very own love story and how the Alphabet Family* all started.

But first, I wanted to share something with you that has encouraged my heart, made me laugh, and made my cry. (This is mostly directed at stay at home moms, though it is not dissing working mothers, by any means.) Sometimes, being "just a mom" is hard. People look down on us and think of us as couch potatoes in sweat pants. But the fact is, we're not. Well, we might be in our sweat pants, but that's because we haven't had a chance to get dressed yet. Since the moment our child(ren) demands we leave our bed, we never stop encountering the demands of motherhood. And a lot of times, the demands do not stop when our head hits our pillow. As my friend recently said, "To be honest I can’t think of a single mom that I know that hasn’t struggled with the challenges and struggles of motherhood. Too bad we don’t like to open ourselves up more to share those struggles, huh?"

It has been a rough two weeks as I have struggled with the realization that motherhood is 24/7 for the rest of my children's lives. That others can help with "things", but no one else in this world can take over mothering for me. I will never get a break from being a mother. Ever. It's so overwhelming and sometimes I feel like I can't even be me. Instead I'm just a poop wiping, food making machine.

So, when I heard these Focus on the Family radio episodes (here and here), I laughed, I cried, and I was encouraged. When you get a chance (I know you're busy this week neglecting your kids partying), listen to them. It will do you good. I promise.

Ok, on to Chapter One of An Alphabet Family is Born.

An Alphabet Family is Born
Chapter One

Interesting enough, it did not start with A. It started with an S, but I’m jumping ahead of myself.

In April of 2004, my brother was being promoted from basic training at ALERT (Air Land Emergency Resource Team), and our family had traveled down to Texas to get in on the ceremony. I was very excited. My best friend, Sharon, was going to be on campus. She and several other older single girls were going to be leaders at the first ever “girls’ boot camp” (STEP). I was happy for my brother, but I was mostly concerned with meeting up with my friend. I hadn’t seen her for over a year. We wrote hand written letters and emailed back and forth during that year, but to be able to see her face to face was a treasure I valued highly. We didn’t have a lot of overlapping time to really talk… the deep kind of talks that we loved to have… but we did get to visit a little.

The morning my family was to leave Texas and head home, I asked Sharon what she was going to be doing that day to prepare for STEP, since the next day the girls would be arriving. There was excitement in her voice as she answered, “We're going repelling! To just give it a go before we have to teach the girls.” I don’t remember what I said. Probably something along the lines of “have fun”.

We had just reached Oklahoma City, about 4 hours from the ALERT campus, when Mom’s cell phone rang. I don’t remember who it was, but they said that Sharon had fallen 60 feet while repelling. She was in the hospital and was asking for me.

That sinking, gotta throw up feeling that settles in the pit of your stomach when you’ve just heard bad news hit me in a split second and stuck with me all the way back down to Texas and to the hospital. There were so many thoughts going through my head. Would she live? Will she be paralyzed? I should have told her how much I really appreciated her friendship. And on and on the thoughts went.

After waiting for a while in the waiting room with the ALERT directors, Sharon’s sister, Joy, and another mutual friend arrived. Had it been under different circumstances, I would have been ecstatic. We waited, we cried. Finally, we were able to go in and see her. It was hard to see her in such pain. So much pain that she didn’t even realize I was there.

There was nothing more I could do. With many injuries to her spine and two crushed heels, she would be in the hospital for a long time. So, reluctantly I returned home.

About a month and a half later, Sharon’s mother called asking if I could come down to Texas to assist Joy in taking care of Sharon. She was now out of the hospital and on campus, bedridden in one of the dorms. Her mother wanted to stay with her, but it was hard on the family of youngsters and being away from her husband. She needed to go back home to Indiana. Joy was to remain to care for Sharon, but it was too much for one person. So, the beginning of June found me back in Texas dorming with two great friends. I won’t go into all the struggles and sad times, to protect Sharon’s privacy, but it was not all fun and games amongst three giggly girls.

Just a few days after arriving, Joy informed Sharon and I that one of the guys who had helped with the Space Shuttle Columbia search and recovery wanted to come over that evening and show us his pictures from the recovery. I guess he wanted to provide us with a bit of entertainment.

“Hi. I’m Aaron,” he said as he walked into our dorm room. “You must be Brenda.”

I think I answered, but I don’t remember. I was too busy thinking about his gorgeous eyelashes.

*My husband's name starts with an A and mine with a B. We are continueing the alphabet with each of our children, 1st born C and second born D. No, we do not plan to go all the way to Z.

1 comment:

johnyzgurl said...

First off, the Focus on the Family episodes were GREAT! I laughed and cried and laughed some more while I listened. Thank you for passing them along! :)

Second, I love your "alphabet family" and hearing the whole story. So awesome!!! Don't keep us waiting too long for the next installment!