I always read about “mommy guilt” — trying to juggle all the components to be Super Mom. In my mind, I am she, and I tell people I don’t experience Mommy Guilt because I don’t experience it on the level that most moms do.
I don’t care if my kids watch 2 episodes of Caillou in a row. I don’t care if they only eat rice and leave the veggies or don’t absorb enough classical music. I don’t care because my main purpose is loving my kids and teaching them Who Love is and how to love others. If they end up like me, lower class and pretty uncouth, but trust that God has a plan for them no matter how they screw it up because they trust Him, well. Call my work done. Piano lessons pale in comparrison even if your life vocation was to be Mozart.
Well you know what I mean.
Mommy guilt? No? But stress…
If all my stress disappeared for a day, heck a few hours, I think I would cease to exist. Probably burst into a puff of smoke like Glenda the Good Witch. Oh wait, she went by bubble. Ok so maybe I’d go out like the Wicked Witch of the West.
Well, she melted didn’t she?
Anyway. Irrelevant. I’m trying to convey the fact that I have so much stress, it’s sort of defining my day to day. Why? Well a whole bunch of messy nonsense all rolled into a burrito of evil — but mostly stress because I read a statistic that with severe aortic or subaortic stenosis, potentially there’s a 2-10% risk of sudden death when left untreated. And that stat won’t get out of my head.
Now I hear you. That’s for people who don’t have a good medical team and an upcoming cath. Who aren’t being watched. This is all in God’s Hands. The odds are certainly in our favor that Josie has a successful cath that even shows that the stenosis is in no way near that level of severity, and she can go on a couple years or more before needing intervention. Sure. I hear ya.
However, I also detect the severity in the cardiologist’s tone over the phone when he wants to prepare me that “she may need an open heart as soon as this Summer”. I feel it when they do several echos in a span of a few months, and need to schedule a cath to verify that her heart is in fact as bad as it looks.
My heart says, when Josie’s having trouble catching her breath and coughing when she cries, and been having random coughing fits in the middle of the night, or randomly while playing, oh great — heart failure. I know, I know — outside-in, I would think I was overreacting too. I promise. But when you feel helpless, watching your child face unpredictability, with all the weight of being the adult in charge, the one to protect her, and yet so totally uneducated and unequipped — when you keep having flashbacks to what she looks like with her chest spread open with her heart pounding through just a thin piece of Gortex covering the opening — the hundreds of wires, and blood drip draining through chest tubes, the weird beeping from monitors and the whirring of machines, while you can do nothing. But feel like you are in the way.
yeah. Keep telling me, everything’s fine . . . I need to hear it. But even if I believe everything in fact will be fine and fine means her heart goes on beating, fine doesn’t encompass the level of suffering, pain and sheer crud a heart parent feels wondering all the worries that crawl into your head uninvited. Because we’ve been there, or known someone who’s been there.
Josie’s been doing this thing where she coughs, a dry hack for about 2-3 minutes, then she collapses — not losing consciousnesses, but just laying down on the floor motionless with her eyes closed for a minute or two. Or in her high chair, in the middle of nothing spectacular, she has a coughing fit, looks miserable, then wilts.
Then she’s fine.
We’ve been doing our best to ignore it and pretend nothing’s happening because I don’t want her to be playing a part that gets our attention. And I don’t know if she can sense my panic, but today, Mary was screaming ALL day (molars coming in? diaper too tight? practicing for her future career of banshee?) and in the car after Publix, Josie did the coughing thing looking pitiful and sweaty because the car is hot anyway and then lays her head down forward.
I decided, I can’t take this anymore. I try to offer it to God, to not worry, believe me, but really all I want to do is run. Trade places with someone with healthy, boring kids for a few hours and let them stand in and be vigilant and wonder, is it now? Is her heart shutting down? Her heart rhythms getting out of order and this is it? Will she cough up blood? Will she have time to get to the hospital? Will I remember to call 911? Is she just messing with me? Am I just paranoid because clearly she is fine? She’s going to have a super-awesome cath. Right? What is God teaching me here? That it doesn’t matter what I do? Doesn’t it matter how I react in an emergency? What am I learning, or supposed to learn? If I stop juggling, stop worrying, stop planning are all the balls going to shatter when they hit the ground?
I know let go; let God. Let go; let God. Worry is pointless. And I FULLY believe God is in control; I just know that when Josie has come close to death before, I have not had the strength to endure it. I see other moms lose their kids, and clearly — despite their intense faith and trust — they didn’t have the strength to endure it. Not really. A Mary at the foot of the cross kind of enduring. And maybe we are blessed to be great saints, we heart moms. And maybe this is all a lesson, and maybe I’m failing… or succeeding, but all I know is I hate this. I hate it, and I don’t know how to not panic.
So I keep watching and juggling on and on!
With a smile. While I do homework and growing baby number 3. I feel like Ginger Rogers doing things backwards in heels.
See, I am Super Mom!