Most things that I have done lately are because I’ve had to. I chose the venue for Carl’s thirteenth birthday party based on seating options. This local arcade/laser tag/mini-golf establishment boasts a multitude of plush reclining couches for parents with bad backs. Being the only driver before my surgery meant I chose Carl’s birthday based on what I could physically manage.
I literally finished the entire signature project for my school semester ahead of time. I took quizzes, study guides, and completed that big project well before the due dates. Because I had to, otherwise my grad-school work would be clouded with a post-surgery haze of pain medication.
On that same note I wrote out a comprehensive list of all the medications Carl takes, their doses, their purposes, and the doctors’ info. I pre-filled the next weekly container of his pill case just to be sure.
I arranged casseroles of food for after my surgery. I had to do this because things would be so busy that no one might have time to cook and I had to feed my family. There was also the (slim) possibility that for whatever reason I might not make it and then everyone would need comfort food.
I had awkward conversations with Luke about how if something happened to me I’d want him to move on and find happiness at some point. I wanted him to know how fulfilled he’d made my life. I had to say all of this just in case. I also had to remind him where to find the information about my life insurance policy.
I gave my children the best few days I could on the off chance that they’d be the last. I left some “in case” notes behind so they’d know how amazing and great they were. If they lost another mom they really needed to know it wasn’t anything to do with them. I just had to do it.
When it came to my own parents I was at a loss for what I had to do. I wanted to make sure they had a good trip right before my surgery (planned long before.) I wouldn’t let them change any travel plans. They deserved enjoyment away from all of the chaos and drama that surrounds my family of herded chickens!
I made sure to leave my mom what must have been a weirdly sappy message about how great she’s been to me. Everyone loves their mom, but before becoming a foster parent I never realized how MUCH I had to appreciate.
The last thing I had to do was send Marcus an oddly sappy message. I usually avoid communicating too much positive emotion to him, so as not to make him uncomfortable. Our communication has been off and on since he last moved out. But just on the off-chance I didn’t make it I sent him what, in hindsight, must have been cryptic. It read:
“Hi honey, No matter what happens I want you to know that I love you forever no matter what. I am so lucky that I got to be your mom (one of them.)”
To my surprise he replied that he loved me and he wanted to do something to help us. Sometimes it really surprises me how much Marcus has learned about family. Although he didn’t realize I’d be in the hospital for at least a night, he showed up at the house that day. I did have a wonderfully happy morphine-laced phone conversation with him that I can’t remember at all. But at least I spoke to my son.
I did all of this because I had to. Everything changed when I woke up from the procedure. I hugged my husband and my family close, albeit in a highly gentle way, because I could. I drank a much-needed cup of coffee, because I could. I wrote a blog post, that largely made no sense, because I could.
I hope that each day I have now counts as one I could do something great with.
**Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.