Five years ago I was in hell…parenting hell. You’re probably wondering how that’s possible but I can tell you with 100% certainty that the temper tantrum your child threw at the grocery store over the candy bar you told them they couldn’t have doesn’t even come close to what watching your child be rolled away on a gurney towards the OR feels like. Maybe at the grocery store you are embarrassed, angry and ready to lose you’re damn mind but it doesn’t compare to the downright devastating and scared feelings of scenario #2, although the ready to lose your damn mind might be a close similarity at times.
Five years ago scenario #2 happened. I watched my sweet 5 month old baby boy be rolled away towards the OR to fix the heart defect that we had found out about when I was 6 months pregnant. Constantly talking about the possibility of surgery and then actually scheduling the surgery doesn’t prepare you for the feelings actual surgery day brings. As a parent you want nothing more then to be able to protect your child, fix their problems and take away their pain and in the hours I sat in the waiting room, next to his bedside and fighting with the pain management team I felt completely helpless. That feeling of absolute helplessness is why I relate this to hell. There was nothing I could do but trust his team of doctors and make my voice heard when things didn’t seem right. I am happy to say hell lasted about two days, when he finally started to take a bottle again there was a light at the end of the long dark tunnel from a few days earlier.
Now I look back and I can still feel those feelings on days like today but now five years later there is so much more to my sons story. He has been through so much since his surgery with the additional specialists we had to add to his team and the two additional times he had to go back in the OR (non heart related). Through it all he has stayed strong and in turn he has given me more strength then I thought I could carry. He has taken a love for things like collecting Hot Wheels for Toys for Tots and in those proud moments I’m reminded that the parenting hell I was once in only lasts for a small time and is replaced by these amazing moments.
So as a mom who has lived through this form of hell I am here to tell you to hang on, speak up and pull strength from the amazing warrior in you’re life. At the end of the long dark tunnel there will be some form of peace and I hope it’s the kind that brings you tears of joy and a smile.
Three weeks ago it was any typical Monday morning. My son Brayden was at preschool, my daughter and the kids I babysit were playing in the living room and I was taking a quick second to hide and chug my Capri Sun in the kitchen. It was a little while later when I got the text message that another plant in my husbands company was hiring for a position he had been commenting about for weeks prior.
First reaction: this is such a great opportunity!
Second reaction: Arizona is across the country from Pennsylvania…
After lots of conversation the decision was made to submit his resume and see what happens. Little did we know a little over a week later he would be on an airplane to interview for this job in a state nether of us had ever been to. Sounds crazy right? Things got even crazier a week later when my husband received an offer that it didn’t seem we could pass up. More conversations about our life here, family, friends, baseball, dance, our house ensued and the lingering in the back of my mind was if we don’t try we will never know. Then there was the conversation of positives- our kids could be outside almost all year long of course except the afternoons in the summer when it’s 115 degrees, they had baseball and dance studios, and even some of the schools had higher ratings then our current situation and well I haven’t started my career yet so besides missing my babysitting kids my sacrifices were minimal in the work department.
Then there were the dinner time talks with our kids consisting of daddy might be getting a job in Arizona, how do you feel about moving? Of course our 5 year old was hesitant he had just started to play sports and had school friends – those of which he wouldn’t be going to school with next year anyway but that concept he doesn’t quite get. Our nearly 3 year old doesn’t totally seem to get it, I explained to her that there are 3 dance studios we can look at and she can pick one and that’s all that really seemed to concern her.
So what do we do? Do we pick up our life and move nearly 2,200 miles across the country? Is this an opportunity my husband would have here? Could the kids adjust?
The new opportunities not only for my husbands career (huge opportunity) but for our kids and our life as a family outweighed our reservations about moving. Now don’t get me wrong leaving our family will be the hardest thing ever but agreeing to have a plan in place on when we visit home and a separate account to fund our plane tickets was reassuring.
Now I remind myself, if we hate it it doesn’t have to be permanent and if we don’t try we will always wonder what could have been.
And now I have to deal with my husband leaving in 3 short days to start this journey without us.
I look forward to sharing this crazy journey with you all.