Now that I have your full attention…
Recently I tried out for “Listen to You Mother“. As much as I hate to admit it, I for sure didn’t make the cut. As embarrassing as it is, and as horrible as I felt about myself, I still felt the need to share my try-out piece and fail with you. So, for your entertainment pleasure here is my failed try-out piece. Let me know what you think and what hard things you can do.
**Oh and keep in mind my original piece was 30 minutes long and I had to cut it down to 5 minutes. Be impressed with that skill alone, if nothing else.
“I can do hard things”
“I can do hard things” has been a motto for my family since before I can even remember. Very often we would take a deep breath and say, “I can do hard things”. Like the time my father walked out on my mom, 7 year old sister and myself, at the age of 2, when we moved 16 times within 18 years, or when all the Hershey Chocolate Easter eggs had been eaten and the store had no more.
It was the theme to my infertility struggle, the divorce from my abusive ex-husband and the years as a single mother. It got me through my current husband’s deployment, being pregnant and on bed rest the entire time, while raising a 3 year old and hearing that my unborn baby had Trisomy 18. I had hoped, after preterm labor, preeclampsia, a code being called during my delivery, for my baby and I, and having a baby while my husband was in Afghanistan that my hard things were over.
Fast forward a year and 3 months later.
May 19th was like any other day. My kids were driving me crazy, the hubby didn’t know how to do anything properly and I needed a break.
I called my mom on my way out, venting about the day. She reminded me that all moms go through these days. I wasn’t a bad mom for wanting to run away with a wagon full of toys and a box of cookies. You can do hard things, remember that.
After about an hour of moseying through the aisles of the fabric store with a friend, my phone rang.
My neighbor’s name showed up on my screen
“Get home now, Little Bean is hurt, really bad.”
The phone went silent.
I ran out of the store, got into my car and drove away.
I called my neighbor back. I had to know what was going on.
I didn’t need to know more. I dropped the phone and sped up to 90 in a 35.
The floor of our kitchen extends to the other side of the house. There is a cut out where the stairs go down, but the floor continues straight. Down at the bottom of the stairs is a load bearing post. This setup makes for a triangular shaped cutout to the side of our stairs. The railing that is there, runs along the wall, above the cutout, at a height meant for adults or older children.
There are no banisters below. There are no railings for babies.
There is just open space.
The image of my baby in that ambulance will forever be burned into my mind.
He was lying on a stretcher, strapped down at his head, chest and feet. He had a neck brace on and there was blood pouring from his right ear, pooling around his little body, despite the attempts at putting gauze there to stop it.
Tears filled his eyes as he went in and out of consciousness. He started crying and quietly said “Mama” over and over.
I tried holding myself together. That was an epic fail of an idea.
I sobbed big silent tears.
I begged God to save him, to let him be okay. I’m not the kind of strong it takes to lose a child. I’m not an amazing person that can bounce back from that, God knew that, he had to know that.
I wanted everything to stop so I could catch my breath. I wanted everything to go faster so he could get the help he needed as soon as possible. I wanted so many opposite things that it made my head hurt.
My husband finally found us. He had heard that life flight would be there soon to get Little Bean. He looked at me while grabbing Little Bean’s hand. “You need to be with him. You fly with him, I will meet you there.”
The strength in that man saved me. He could do hard things.
A nurse leaned over and said, “it’s up to the pilot to let you go or not…”
Wait, what, I thought?! There was a possibility that I wasn’t going to be in that helicopter?!? Well they better strap me to the side because my husband already left and I wasn’t about to let my son go for a “joy ride” without me.
He continued,”…but the more calm you are the better the odds that you get to go.”
I wiped my face, took a few deep breaths and bit my tongue. I could do hard things, maybe.
I was asked if I was afraid of heights or if I was prone to motion sickness.
I knew that if I mentioned that I was a: terrified of heights and b: threw up with just the thought of motion, I wouldn’t have a prayer of going in that helicopter.
So I lied.
I held onto my Little Bean’s hand the only part of his little body not wrapped up or strapped down and said one last prayer for strength, courage and of course to not barf all over the inside of the helicopter.
I was then told to walk out with the pilot…
Shortly after landing, my husband, my mom and my step dad were brought into the trauma room. I quickly recapped what I knew and told them about the terrifying ride in which Little Bean threw up everywhere and had to be put on oxygen. I felt like I was suffocating. My mom must have seen it in my face and she ushered me outside of the room.
It was a moment I will never forget and something I needed to hear most. I didn’t need to hear that it was a horrible situation or that we would get through it unscathed. I needed to be reminded of my own strength as a woman, as a daughter and as a mom to a very hurt little boy. I had tried reminding myself over and over again but I needed someone else to have faith in my strength. I needed someone to remind me, out loud, that I could do this.
The following months have been full of hard things. Constant therapies with my TBI baby, new and different diagnoses, new problems occurring, having my older son start kindergarten and deal with the heartache from his inconsistent biological father, pre-cancerous cells in my body, my step dad passing away, and a plethora of other hard things. None of them seemed so hard after what we had went through. None of them were more than I could do and each time I thought it might be I was reminded of that night, of the moment when I listened to my mother say those beautiful words to me.
“You, my brave daughter, can do hard things.” And I do.
What hard things have you had to do? What are some words of advice that have gotten you through it?