I’m still here… moving through these final, whirlwind days before our relocation and I thought I’d give you an update.
This past weekend was officially our last time together—as a family---before we leave this home. And wouldn’t you know it? In addition to a lot of happy moments, it included an unexpected trip to the emergency room, which added one more memorable story to our life in this house.
Our plan was to have both boys come home from school for a quick visit; we wanted to celebrate Michael’s 19th birthday and take the video camera around the house so we could all share some of our favorite memories together. And for the most part, this is what happened.
Only ever since last October when we began this process of moving to another city I’ve been reminded that nothing ever goes as planned. And even when I think I’m in control, I’m not.
Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.
- Lao Tzu
So on Friday night, I had my camera ready because I wanted to get a picture of each kid coming through the door one last time. (Sorry for the fuzzy photos, but I forgot to change my camera settings in all the hoopla)
Here’s Stella. She can hear each car drive up and she waits at the door.
Michael gets home first from the airport.
And here’s Patrick after his long drive. It was the first time we saw him since his injury and Stella couldn’t wait to get way from those scary crutches.
Did I tell you? In the middle of all this transition I got a phone call two Saturdays ago and heard Patrick’s voice on the other end. Don’t you hate calls that begin like this?
“Mom, I have some bad news. I think I need to go to the emergency room.”
It turns out that he had broken his left foot and as I write these words he’s still waiting for his final walking cast.
But my point about sharing Patrick’s injury is this recurring lesson for me about letting go. And it’s an experience that seems to be everywhere these days.
Having your college kid be alone in an emergency room hundreds of miles away, dealing with prescriptions, doctor appointments and insurance information is an instant reminder of the free-falling feeling that comes with backing away. Giving up control. Accepting vulnerability. Managing one’s worries.
Are you good at letting go of control and practicing the art of surrender?
For a woman (yours truly) who likes to pretend that she can keep bad things from happening by focusing on all the details that could go wrong, it’s very uncomfortable. But I’m getting better.
In fact, do you want to know how much raising boys has
warped changed my perspective?
I actually felt relieved that Patrick didn’t fall on his head and get another concussion. (and-hooray for no more wrestling with friends on concrete sidewalks. Another sigh of gratitude)
Which leads me back to this past weekend.
One minute it was life as usual. It was Sunday and Jim was narrating over his video camera while we added our funny stories. There was the usual talking and texting and laundry and loading Patrick’s car and getting ready to take Michael to the airport.
When suddenly I hear a chair screech on the tile and I see Michael sinking straight down to the floor with a strange look on his face.
waiting in the emergency room with Michael
And this is what I’ll remember in the end.
What I’ll remember most about this special weekend is what happened during this scary period when everyone realized that something was wrong with Michael only we didn’t know what.
I’ll remember watching Patrick bend over his brother and ask him quietly for information about his recent weight training. I heard him ask about his pain and his symptoms which were in his lower back, and I saw them both calmly use their cell phones to search for forums and answers while I called the hospital and their Dad phoned the airlines.
Funny what you recall during crisis moments. Your mind grabs at random details like the fact that he had no tingling in his legs or fingers. And that he could still move all his limbs.
And I remember hearing Patrick say, “Mom, calm down.” when I began to over-react to Michael moving prematurely and I recall feeling impressed by their composure. And the sudden appearance of sensitivity and kindness in a stressful situation.
Later, after we moved Michael gingerly to the car so that we could take him to the hospital we all stood in the sunshine and hugged goodbye.
Patrick’s close buddy Matt, had arrived by now because he was riding back to school with Patrick. And he hugged me and told me he had wanted to come over to say ‘bye’ to our house too. Apparently, there was a funny story about Matt jumping into our fountain after a high school party that I’d never heard before. And we all laughed, including Michael.
Six hours later when we returned home from the hospital with medication and a likely diagnosis ( a muscular tear with some possible bleeding) we were all exhausted. Michael was drowsy from his IV with pain medication and went to bed immediately. And I felt stiff and tired when I sank into our bed.
I asked Jim if he’d seen the scribbled note that was left on the chalkboard by Matt.
the kitchen chalkboard
And we both smiled in the darkness at Matt’s message.
Then I had to find out if Patrick had made it safely home.
And once I got this text message I remember sinking into my pillow and having one of those, Life-doesn’t-get-much-better-than-this-kind of reactions, the kind of pure gratitude that washes over you after a relieving visit to a hospital.
The kind of gratitude that helps you appreciate all the little things we so often take for granted.
By the way….
We signed our papers yesterday and it’s official.
Our house is sold.
I’m linking this post up with these friends: