Friday, May 11, 2012

to all the mothers in my life

Eight months ago, I couldn't walk. 

Eight months ago, I could barely even stand.  Not without a lot of help, anyway.  Eight months ago, the goal was to get me from my bed to the bathroom door on my own two feet.  I remember that when I finally did- after eight or nine days in the hospital, everyone cheered.  Except me.  They helped me back in bed and I cried.  I cried because I knew I didn't make it to the bathroom.  They practically carried me there while my feet shuffled along the floor.

Weeks later, at home,  I'd go outside on my back patio and hold onto Courtney's arm while we walked.  One lap.  Two on a good day.  One night I was feeling fancy and suggested to Courtney that I might try three whole laps.  He thought I should start with one and see how I felt.  He was right, two was all I had.

But I kept going.  When I was alone, which wasn't very often, I would slowly make my way down the steps and practice.  Before long, I was doing three laps!  Finally, I graduated to walking around the garden, and next, on to the driveway.  Once again, I started with just one lap.  Then two.  Finally three. 

It was exciting, and everyone cheered me on.  Still, I wondered.  Would I ever be me again?  I would round the driveway on my little strolls and look toward the church down the road.  I've walked and ran that direction hundreds of times.  Deep down, I was terrified I'd never have that freedom again.  That road was my therapy, the place where, alone or with a friend, I solved the world's problems.  Amidst all my fears, losing my legs and the freedom they bring me scared me the most.  The other biggie?  Would I ever be the type of mom again that my children were used to?

Slowly, but surely I got stronger.  After a few months, I was going to the grocery store.  Driving again.  Christmas shopping.  I was thrilled, and hoped I was on the mend.  Then I ended up in the hospital again for Christmas break.  I won't ever forget how I felt riding in the ambulance on my way to the hospital.  I remember the paramedics asking me a string of questions while I looked out the window and wondered if it was going to be like this for the rest of my life. 

It isn't.  This week, I walked three miles.  I mowed the lawn.  I sprayed weeds.  We set my bike up on the trainer, and I rode it for twenty minutes.  It was really hard, but I did it.  I've spent full days caring for my family, cooking and cleaning my own house without having to take a nap or have someone else watch my kids because I didn't have it in me. 

I can't tell you how good that feels. 

I know I sound like I'm bragging.  And I probably am, for I feel like I've come so far.  But really, as Mother's Day approaches, I've been thinking about all of the good women in my life.  So many, many good women who make me want to be better.   You have visited me at the hospital, cleaned my house, mothered my children, fed my family, fulfilled my church callings, chauffeured me to various doctor appointments and therapy visits, filled our pantry full of home canned goods, and lifted my spirits with visits, flowers, texts, and phone calls.  Literally and figuratively, I have leaned on you as I have walked this unexpected road. Today I thanked my Father in Heaven for all of you incredible, kind women in my life, and it occurred to me.  I haven't come so far.  We've come so far. 

Part of me wants to jump up and down and the other part of me feels like crying.  I cry tears of joy and gratitude because I know I didn't make it here.  We made it.  Courtney and I, our girls, Samuel, and all of these amazing people in my life.  Slowly, but surely, I've gone from helpless to helping once again. 

I've never written any thank you notes.  To be honest. it completely overwhelms me, but I wanted you all to know that I know the truth.   In the past eight months, I haven't gotten anywhere on my own. 

You practically carried me there while my feet shuffled along the floor. 

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