Thursday was a bad day. The bad mojo actually started on Wednesday evening, when I made the unwise decision to binge watch Bachelor in Paradise instead of going to sleep at a decent hour. I’m six months pregnant and sleep is my very best of friends, so I have no idea why I thought it would work out to stay up until 11:30 to see who got a rose. Temporary insanity…wait, scratch that…Bachelor insanity. I swear, those producers know what they are doing!
So I woke up groggy on Thursday morning, wishing I had thought more about my wellness than my reality television addiction. And while I set with my coffee trying to readjust my attitude, my husband woke for the day, also in a very foul mood. We’ve been married for a while now (just celebrated 12 years of marriage). But even prior to marriage, we had discovered that morning is just not a good time for us. I know other couples wake together, roll over and look lovingly into one another’s eyes, but that just isn’t us. We have an understanding in the morning that we just don’t speak to each other. He gives me my time to adjust to the world, and I give him his. It works out perfectly for us. This Thursday however, my husband dearest decided on his own to break our sacred agreement, and he unloaded his frustrations to me at 5:30 in the morning. Ugh. Not to sound like the worst wife ever, but I don’t even want to think about my own frustrations at that hour. He realized his folly and apologized before giving me my morning kiss goodbye and heading out the door for the day.
I began the day’s routine, waking up my son. Then off to my daughter’s room. Sitting on the edge of her bed, I kiss her forehead and immediately feel the heat radiating from her tiny body. Fever…there’s no mistaking it. She wakes, telling me her throat hurts and sure enough, the thermometer confirms what my ther-MOM-meter already detected: 101.2 degrees. What to do now?
My mom-planning starts to spin. I begin to make phone calls and send texts. I need to talk to my boss, arrange for someone to cover my responsibilities for the work day, find someone to stay with my daughter for an hour while I go to a scheduled OB appointment, write my son a note so that he can walk home from school instead of taking the bus to the sitters, call the school and let them know my daughter will be absent today, message my husband and ask him to request a vacation day for tomorrow just in case there isn’t a quick recovery this go-around. These are the things that parents go through when life throws a curve ball, the thinking-on-our-feet, the quick reactions to make sure everything in life just keeps on moving along smoothly…we never miss a beat.
I saw my son off to school and snuggled my daughter, and I let the frustration of the unplanned, unscheduled day go. I let it roll off my shoulders and I focused on my daughter…my puny, sore-throated, coughing, feverish, precious, little daughter. That is the moment that my phone dinged. A message, I had a message. My husband messages me “I’m coming home at 9. My machine is down today. You can go to work today. My work issue should be better tomorrow.”
To be clear, I am an administrative assistant. I have to communicate with a minimum of five different people to be out for one day. I had sent all of the messages. I had made all of the calls. I had everything lined out to be off of work on Thursday and back to work on Friday. And now, that was all for nothing. My mom-mind was spinning….if the husband was off today, then he couldn’t be off tomorrow, then I need to be off tomorrow, so I need to go in today, so I need to call my father-in-law and let him know I don’t need a sitter for my doctor’s appointment, I need to send five more text messages and….ugh, I need to take off my fuzzy pants and shower and brush my teeth, and make the switch yet again from mommy-mode to professional-work-Melissa-mode. Again, my day turned upside down, and I felt like I was just along for the ride.
I sucked it up. I showered. I dressed. I gave my husband a frosty welcome home. I was sad, unhappy, frustrated. There are other things brewing in our life as well. And to be honest, while all of these circumstantial life events may have shaded my and my husband’s mood for this day, the real culprit…the real, gut-wrenching, terrifying, hard thing in our lives in this moment, in this season, has nothing to do with the happenings of Thursday.
My mother-in-law has been battling renal cell carcinoma for two and half years now. She has faced brain surgeries, kidney surgeries, radiation treatments, and recently we had moved on to immunotherapy treatments. I write “we”, but that is a lie. She has faced these horrible things. She has been the strong one. She has endured. She has survived these ugly things, and we have only been here to support, love and pray for her. Because that is all there is that we can do. The immunotherapy was supposed to be the saving grace, the magical medicine that would keep the cancer at bay so she can continue to enjoy this life with us. We got the news a few days prior that the immunotherapy did not work.
I hesitate to share this at all, because this is not my story. This is her story, but if I’m going to be completely honest with my readers, this is such a raw, close and intense part of our life, that I have to share. I have to give you the full picture of the good and the scary parts of our lives. We are not at the end of this story. My mother-in-law has an appointment with MD Anderson this month. She is strong and amazing, and all of the wonderful things that the rest of us can only hope that we have inside of ourselves. She is truly a rock for us many times, although that is so backwards…we should be a rock for her. But that’s not the truth. This is our reality. She is the strong one.
I left for my OB appointment with all of the weight of the world sitting squarely on my shoulders. I felt heavy, sad…I felt like I was failing…at life. My heart hurt. My soul ached. I sat in the waiting room. This was my 23 week appointment. At my 19 week appointment, we had an anatomy scan in which the doctor was able to clear everything for our little growing bud, except for her heart. She was still just too small to get a clear picture of her heart structure. So here I was at my 23 week appointment, heading to get another ultrasound, so that we could clear her heart, showing four beautiful chambers, working just the way they should. I laid on the table with the lights dimmed, the tech placed the scanner on my belly, and on the screen appeared my baby, my third child, my second daughter, my beautiful blessing. She had grown over the four weeks and her heart was bright and clear, pumping away, beating like the most beautiful drum. And then I got to see her face, her perfect sweet little chin, her upturned nose (just like her sister’s), the sweet curve of her cheeks…and I realized, that this moment, this moment was good.
this moment was good
And isn’t that how life is? The quote popped into my mind, “Every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day.” There is so much that is hard in life, so much that drains us and breaks us. There are moments we want to give up. There are moments that we cry, and scream, and times that we hate the things we are going through. But even on the worst days, we are given these beautiful moments. Even on the worst days, I can look at my son, at my daughter, at my baby bump, at my silly dogs, at my sweet husband, I can look to my parents, my siblings, my in-laws, our family, the cousins. I can pull back to the memories, the trips, the beaches, the rides in a teacup, the hugs from a princess. We can feel the breeze on our face, the sun on our skin, the floor beneath our feet. We can find the good in the worst of times. That ability is what makes us as humans so very unique, so resilient, so incredible. The ability to find the good is truly our gift, and it is what makes this life possible.
The ability to find the good is truly our gift, and it is what makes this life possible.
Wherever you are today, whatever life has thrown your way, whatever difficult, unfair thing, I challenge you to find the good. Hug the good, kiss the good, absorb it into your being, absolutely squish it into yourself until you feel it inside, and you are no longer observing it, but feeling the good. And if you can’t seem to find the good, I challenge you to be it. Be the good because I guarantee those around you are in need of it. We are capable. We are survivors. We are strong. We are the good.