Monday, June 16, 2014

There is always more.

Blessings by Laura Story played on the radio as we drove to Audrey's rheumatology appointment. I still gasp a bit when I say that. My daughter has a rheumatologist. We both said we were picturing her recital dance as we listened. She is such a lovely dancer. Graceful. Delicate. Strong. I exited the highway and pulled up to a red stoplight. A man was holding a sign. "Liver Failure. I need help. Anything helps." Gaunt body. Dirty clothes. Hollow eyes that looked like they'd seen almost everything a person could see. And I cried. I looked at him. I saw him, Blessings playing on the radio, and smiled weakly at him through the tears.

We got to the U of M Children's Center and I walked in pushing my baby and holding my daughter's hand. We passed a little boy with a mask over his face. Thick black hair over one eye, eyes peeking out over the mask. He was intent on helping his mom pay for parking by pushing all of the buttons and inserting the ticket and credit card. It was obviously taking a lot longer, but she was patiently letting him have his fun.

A mom pushed her daughter in a wheelchair. The girl looked at Audrey and me searchingly with her deep brown eyes. The mom pushed her, a vacant expression in her eyes. I wondered what news they were receiving that day. Why she needed a wheelchair. What burden and fear the mom carried as she cared for her daughter.

We got up to the Children's specialty floor where Audrey's rheumatologist (gasp) sees patients, but there are also many other specialists. There are always so many babies. This time there was a beautiful little baby, big brown eyes, full head of hair, younger than Asher, being carried by his dad while his mom carried his oxygen tank. Asher stared at him and smiled and cooed and the baby looked back. I wondered why he needed help breathing and what type of doctor he was seeing today and how his parents navigated the unbridled joy of being a new parent with the overwhelming sadness of a possibly major illness.

Audrey got in to see the doctor. The doctor agreed that while Audrey does have a touch of arthritis in one toe, it does not explain her other symptoms and is in agreement that seeing a pediatric neurologist is the best and most logical next step. So now my daughter has a rheumatologist (gasp) and a neurologist (gasp). Not to mention our chiropractor who has been a wealth of knowledge to me and the infectious disease doctor I have to contact and the pediatrician specializing in Lyme's disease that I need to call. And we still have no answers.

And that scares the hell out of me.

This is not a woe is me post.

This is a woe is us post.

Because sick kids and Iraq all over again and Crimea and school shootings and ailing parents and flooding and lying politicians and child molesters and girls stabbing girls to please a made-up internet thing and all of the other reasons that I had to stop reading the newspaper yesterday morning. Just stop and put it down because it was too much for my brain and my heart to handle.

This world is hard. It has always been hard. Read any account of any country's or civilization's history and there are wars preceding wars preceding wars. There is hatred over borders and religion and customs. There are evil rulers intent on taking over as much of the world as forcibly possible.

Woe is us. Today and every day leading up to it.

The struggle is not new. This is oddly comforting. Comforting to know that what we are going through is not unique to us and others have handled it and lived to tell the story. This is simultaneously depressing. Depressing that we continue to make the same mistakes and spread the same hate and endure the same hurts over and over again.

Some days it feels like the pain of the earth is bubbling up and washing over me. I see it everywhere. I feel it deep.

But it never ends there. At least not for me. At least not so far in my life. There is always more.

There is the Child Life Specialist who remembered helping Audrey with her blood draw the first time we were in and came in just to say hi and to say she'd help her again if they needed to draw blood. She told Audrey how brave she had been and how easy she'd made it look even though she knows she was scared. Wow. Imagine how empowering that feels to a scared 8-year-old.

There is the friend who brought over two mojitos for our own little Happy Hour when I just couldn't stop crying.

There is the boy who hid under his covers so that when I came into his room to tuck him in he could jump up, shout surprise, and run at me for a humongous bear hug.

There is the bible verse that we talked about at our last day of co-op. The verse that they sent home with us and I hung on my kitchen cupboard (the inside of the cupboard. showings, you know) that very same day, not knowing how much I would need it. Philippians 4:6-7
There is the unexpected note sent from my grandma telling Jim and me what a special time she had with Audrey visiting and how we are doing such a great job raising a polite and loving and fun daughter.

There is Anne of Green Gables on DVD from the library while my daughter and I snuggled up nice and tight and cozy on the couch, the scent of tea tree shampoo and lavender essential oils fresh in the air.

I could go on and on. There are more stories. There are always more stories. Enough stories to build a wall of love and hope around a heart that feels weary and worn some days.

This saying rings true and loud and clear in my life. It is what I need and it is what I aspire to be to others.

I know I've shared this quote before and I'll probably share it again. Kindness matters. In the face of hurt, bad news, anger, sadness, desperation. Kindness matters. 

A huge thanks to everyone lifting my little family up these days. Your kindness matters to us. And I hope you feel love and kindness in return.

How has kindness helped you through a difficult time recently? Or what have you done to extend kindness to others? Share your stories here. I'd love to hear how kindness is making a difference today.


  1. So true in that when dealing with something difficult, a simple act of kindness can go a looooong way!

  2. That's something I try to remember daily. THANKS for the reminder... AGAIN. Hopefully you guys find an answer and a treatment plan! Hugs all around!