Tuesday, February 25, 2014

the final goodbye (and a trip to the emergency room)




Hello friends.

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:



Suzan Sweatman said...

Congratulations on the sale of your home ( bittersweet - I know, I know )
I'm still hurting 3 months later :(
Glad to hear Michael's ok - and Patrick made it home safely - life is never dull, right?
Stay strong - the tough part is just starting - thinking of you :)
Much love,

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Oh my, this sounds like quite an eventful time. So glad all is well now. This post made me think of all the stories I recall with raising 2 sons, never a dull moment. Hugs, Marty

anangloinquebec said...

Oh Leslie, you always have a way of touching a familiar chord in me that brings forth all my own memories of raising my kids and the memories that our home has buried deep within its walls. I am not saying that all us mothers live the same lives with our children but there certainly is a common understanding amongst us, I am sure, when it comes to worry, pride and moments we need to cherish.
I look forward to following your move to this next home Leslie. I am sure that you and your family will create memories that build upon this home and enhance the next step in your lives together. So much more ahead! It's an adventure.

White Weathered Hutch said...

Oh Leslie what a whirlwind weekend!!
Hope both your sons have a speedy recovery!!
Can you imagine that your son didn't tell you that he had hurt himself and that he felt out of sorts. That's guys for ya!! They keep all the pain to themselves so not to worry their Moms.
Yes it's hard to say goodbye!! So don't say goodbye, but, so long for now!!

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

Oh Leslie, I could hardly read fast enough to find out what happened - whew! And reading the texts actually brought tears to my eyes. Knowing that our children are safe and well is what allows us to actually breathe. And congratulations on the sale of your house. You will carry the memories with you and now a wonderful new adventure begins. Can't wait to see where it goes!

Jennifer Connolly said...

This post brought tears of recognition and sympathy dear Leslie. I am terrible at letting go and giving up the controls. How very frightening this last day was, and how wonderful all is well. It's never easy to turn a new page in life. I've torn a couple of corners off by gripping too tightly so am a work in progress at it. Wishing you joy and happiness in your next chapter!! xoxoJennifer

Pam Kessler said...

I read this earlier this morning and got all teary eyed and had to put the computer down. Now I'm back. Glad to hear you got one last big weekend in at the house. Sorry it came with an unexpected ending.

Art and Sand said...

Just like "oh, the places you'll go", your house shares in "oh, the adventures we had".

I am so excited that the house is sold and you will be in the next chapter soon.

I hope the boys are both okay.

Carla from The River said...

I have two boys who are 13 and 11. I can just feel the love as you write this. I can see me in the future waiting to take a photo of them walking into the door.
Great post as always, I will be praying for you.
Best of Luck!

Calypso In The Country said...

Wow, sounds like you had your hands full! Wishing the best for both of your boys. It sounds like they handle things pretty well. I know it can be so hard to let go. My boys are 10 and 7 and I already have to let go at times. It's definitely a learning experience for all of us. Take care dear. - Shelley

Sarah said...

Leslie, glad to know that Michael is OK and Patrick is back home safely, and that your move is scheduled. Good luck! I love your idea of saving the memories of your home. Sweet thought!

Dayle Allen Shockley @ A Collection of Days said...

Awww, Leslie ... what a whirlwind, yes. I know it was bittersweet for you. Glad the boys are OK. What a scare though.

Can't wait to hear about your next big adventure.

Leslie said...

Leslie, I don't know where to begin.. you are right. Just when things are moving along smoothly, something unexpected happens. I think this is why I've become such a worrier over the years. I've been in that emergency room .. and still have flash backs to the day. It was not such a simple diagnosis however and the outcome wasn't good. At any rate, once a mom ~ always a mom and I don't think gender, distance, or age changes anything.

I can imagine the emotions having these last moments in your home and the scene with you dog was touching as we have just put our family dog to rest (with the passing of my dad a few months ago.. this has been an interesting year and more to come).

I'm relieved for you as you've made the transition with your home and now a new chapter begins. We are having floors refinished today, will stage the house, and probably list it this week. The builder at our other place is in the permit and drawing stage. I am expecting the floor guy here in 30 minutes, and need to pack up and leave for a couple days. My husband has been traveling all week so it's just my (remaining) pup Layla and I.

Sending light and energy your way. xxL

Sheepskins fairylights said...

Boys! We let them fly,want them to fly,yet find it so hard to let go, not worry. & life is a rollercoaster, everything happens at once.....hope both your boys are recovering :-)
You give me hope that I will sell my home this year, make me feel positive, so thank you xxx

Custom Comforts said...

So glad all is well in the end. As a mother, I don't think we ever stop worrying about our children. It's the one thing they don't tell you when you become a parent - it never ends. My 25-year old daughter is in Peru for 6 months doing volunteer work and I had no say in the decision. It is very hard to let them go, knowing you can't protect them, but I take comfort in knowing that God takes over when we let go.
Wishing you an uneventful move with no more trips to the ER.

michele said...

oh leslie. there is nothing i could articulate better than you have. please accept this giant cyber bear hug and kiss on the cheek. you are a champion. you probably don't even know it. but you are.


Linda @ Itsy Bits And Pieces said...

So much real life is happening for you right now, Leslie...adventures and changes...and things you never expected. I'm glad the sale went through, although I know it will be a bittersweet time. You'll take the memories with you and make lots of new ones. And even though we have to let go of our kids as they mature, we will always want the only the best in life for them...
Wishing you all of life's blessing ahead! XOXO

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...


Congratulations on the sale of your home, I hope that another family will make as many wonderful memories as you and your family have there.

So sorry to hear about your son, I hope that he is feeling better.

Be well and enjoy your final moments there, then on to the next adventure.

I hope your parents are taking it well.

Hugs to you, Elizabeth

Betsy said...

I hear myself in your post...I always say "Life happens when you are making other plans", but it is challenging for me to let things move forward as they will. I love your quote about that and i love the last one. I think I will make a sign of that!
Life IS "wonderfull" in very imperfect ways.
Hope both boys heal well. Our youngest is headed to college in the fall and I will miss her and all the rest of them dearly. At lest the youngest three will live within 20 miles of each other and will be on the same campus every day. Two at school and one graduate, working. Our Eldest daughter and her family live in Germany...that was when I began to learn to let go. Just BEGAN, mind you. Our first Granddaughter was born there and due to illness I could not go, lost the arirfare and everything. It was so difficult for me. and I can't even DRIVE there! I have moved very little in my life, we live on a farm, we will be buried here! LOL but I can see how that change is a challenge. You have a great attitude girl, remember the wonderfull memories and look forward to new wonderfull memories to come. That is what I will keep telling myself!

Vickie @ Ranger 911 said...

Congratulations on the sale of your home, Leslie! I'm sorry you didn't get to have the goodbye moment you had planned, but you've got all the memories tucked away in your heart and they'll always be there for you and your family. I know how hard it is to let go of our children, but in doing so, we get to experience the wonderful adults they've become. And you're so right. Life (including our children) doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful. And now I wish you all the best in your new beginning.

xo, Vickie

Heather Lindstrom said...

Leslie dear-what a touching post. You perfectly describe all of the mix of emotions of life a 'wonder full' life. What a scary, sentimental and sweet weekend. Congrats on the sale of your beautiful home. I know it's bittersweet and I hope the exciting adventures to come are shining brightly to balance it all out. I hope your son is on the mend by now. Take care of yourself my friend.
xx, Heather

Monica said...

I'm so glad that everything is OK! Looking forward to following your new adventure. xo

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