Posted in Anxiety, Depression, Teenager, Cancer, Life Lessons, Love, Parenting, Word, Word, Truth, Life, Love

Going on a Bear Hunt – I’m Not Scared!

Tonight I feel like I’m in the old nursery rhyme my kids would chant about “Going on a Bear Hunt.” In the chant the kids would search for the bear in various ways (in tall grass, behind a big tree, through a pond) and realize they couldn’t get around these things – they had to go through them.

The opening refrain was:

“Going on a bear hunt,
Gonna catch a big one,
I’m not scared.
What a beautiful day.

Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under it.
Can’t go around it.
Gotta go through it.”

I guess I’ve been on a bear hunt lately. I prepared for this. I’m a researcher – it served me well in grad school. I prepared myself for my bear hunt – a laparoscopic hysterectomy. I was gonna catch a big one – in this case my big bear is Cancer. Getting my uterus out means a lessened threat of Cancer – because these pre-cancerous cells won’t stop multiplying.

I planned to take off a week and a half from work and then work from home for 2 weeks and then go back to the office. A week and a half off of work is what my budget could stand to lose without setting me too far off-track financially. The surgery would cost this much money. I’d be fine. I’ve had surgery before – three of them being c-sections. I could handle this – no problem.
I’m not scared.
And therein lies my problem – I didn’t really prepare for unexpected complications. Certainly not for the strain this particular procedure would have on me – emotionally.
This was supposed to be a beautiful day.
By nature – I’m an encourager. There is nothing I can encourage myself with tonight. I got nothing.
Nothing could have prepared me for a switch between a laparascopic surgery and an open abdominal procedure. Nor for the fact that I seem to be grieving the loss of the womb that carried my three precious children. Nor for the fact that my hormones would cause so many tears. Nor that uncontrollable sobbing would make my stitches burn. Nor for the dread in my heart as I wait to find out if my uterus has Cancer or not.
Nothing.
And why do I feel so guilty for feeling this way? I’m a woman of faith. I feel the hand of God in my life daily. Daily. I know He is with me and for me. I know His Word instructs me not to worry. I know He has not left me – He says so, and I trust Him.
But I feel so guilty.
I feel guilty that my 21-year-old daughter has taken on the full-time job of taking care of her mother because it hurts me just to get out of bed.
I feel guilty that my 17-year-old daughter feels anxiety because of all this.
I feel guilty that I’m missing Gavin’s last week of school, and friend’s graduation parties, and so many things.
And the lonliness I feel is absolutely overwhelming. It’s the dread of not having a partner to walk through this with. It’s been 15 years without a forever kind of love – and I’m wondering if I’m just always going to walk through life without such a love. (More tears.) Is it too much to ask for a loving hand to hold through this? I’m worthy of love, right?
It’s not fair for me to put this off on my friends.
So I struggle silently.

“Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under it.
Can’t go around it
Gotta go through it.”

All I know to do is let nature take its course. I will heal in time. My hormones will regulate. Life will return to a new normal. I just gotta go through it.
I just hope that soon it will again be a beautiful day.
I must close by reminding myself of the words God gave me a few years back:
“What you’re walking through is a life-season, not a life-sentence.”
Love you,
Melissa

Posted in Letters, Parenting, Word, Truth, Life, Love

Love, Mommy (a letter to my daughter)

Sweet child,

No one taught me how to be happy. No one. Not my Mom or Dad. Not my siblings or grandparents. Not my cousins or teachers or friends. No one.

Happiness, contentment, joy – these aren’t things I can teach you. They are things you already have inside of you.

We tend to look for something newer, better, more exciting to woo us or distract us from the yucky parts of life. This isn’t because we are made to be adventure addicts, it is because we are created to live fully, love creatively, and laugh continuously. Unfortunately, this world is far too full of muck and anxiety. The trick is to decide to pursue life to the fullest anyway.

We are made in His image. We are created to experience all manner of emotions. These emotions – even if they are sadness or anger or anxiety – these are what make us grow. Like the way a tree is strengthened by the tossing of the wind. Like the way life-sustaining oxygen bursts out of waves as they crash and tremble and die on the shore. Like the way you and I understand each other and ourselves better when we collide sometimes. This is why we are put into families – so we can grow before we go.

It’s this part – our clashing – that made me pause my work and write to you this afternoon.

You see – I don’t really mind it. It means you’re one day closer to being who I’ve imagined you to be. It means you get to find yourself in a mess on this side of life – on the safe side – instead of in the world where it’s too often dark and damp and scary.

So I’m inviting you to sit with me and laugh and love and rise and fall and fail and succeed and learn what it means to live. I’m inviting you to work through your emotional ups and downs in this “training environment” instead of in a “published environment”. Here you get do-overs. You get the joy of being safe enough to play.

It’s been an honor, these years, to spend my life watching you find your wings.

If you’ll trust that the process of learning flight means falling, striving, and unexpected flight-path corrections, you’ll find that my past experiences (and failures) will enhance your success rate exponentially. You WILL fall, but I promise I will be here for the getting up and beginning again.
Just focus and keep trying.

Remember the song we’d sing in the car on full blast on the way to elementary school:

I’m not afraid to fall
It means I climbed up high
To fall is not to fail
You fail when you don’t try.
-Superchick

My whole life has led to this window of time where I get to watch you unfurl.

And this is exactly where I want to be: in this moment.

The ability to climb this mountain, jump off, and find the elation of exercising your wings is in you.

Embrace joy and gratitude.

I love you more,

Mommy