I really wanted to title this post “I can’t make this $h!t up” or “Are you freaking kidding me?” but I went the more inspirational route. When I last left my 63 faithful blog followers, my other half was to have surgery two weeks into summer. A procedure that would alter the plans of our entire summer….the 10 week block of time that my very soul longs for the other 42 weeks out of the year. And true to form, I threw a hissy fit, cried a bit, shook my fist at the Big Man and then put on my big girl panties and faced it like a Momma. Three days before we walked into battle he developed a complication that delayed us…indefinitely. But I got on board with this God. I made this work in my plans God. And He said…sorry Queenie, My plans not yours. It was weeks of delays, other doctor appointments, changed vacations, changed deadlines and shuffled workloads-both his and mine– before we had another surgery date. The longer it went on and the more summer that slipped away I started to understand the plan a bit. And when I realized how much easier it would be on his recovery with the kids in school, I saw God that day. Although we’d had a summer of complete limbo, we didn’t get the vacation we’d planned, we still got one and nobody had to miss to a single swim day or a single popsicle. I saw God that day.
So he comes home from an appointment and he has a surgery date. And I had given him a choice of dates that worked best for me. Here, give the doctor these dates and you and he figure out what works best for each of you based on this list. K? Thanks. He comes back with a date….a week before school starts. Are you kidding me? You cannot have surgery a week before school starts? You’ve waited this long, you can wait another two weeks. I know you can do it. He didn’t agree. So then, on the porch, God and I had THIS convo:
Dude. You’re not serious? The week before school starts? I’m not even finished uniform shopping. We have no school shoes. We’ve got to get haircuts. Order bows. Monogram bows. Kindergarten orientation is the night of the surgery. We still have 7 days to cram in last minute summer fun and memories. What are you thinking? You could NOT have possibly picked a worse day for surgery, after all this time, than the week before school starts.
To which God very clearly responded….Hold my beer.
Thirty six hours before surgery, while taking out the trash, my beloved got bitten by an ant. One lone ant. Not on the toe, or ankle or even the hand from touching the trash can. One supersonic, tiny ant clearly possessed with the spirit of Lucifer himself went rogue and bit him on his hip one half inch from his future incision site. Which just to be clear, was covered by clothing. Two layers of clothing assuming he was wearing underwear that day. An hour or so after the attack he shows me the bite and I just started laughing. So I did what any sane wife would do. I put apple cider vinegar on it, followed by alcohol, followed by holy water. Duh. Then at 5:30 the next morning went to a friend’s house and got her miracle cream and put more alcohol and holy water. And then with our tail between our legs we called the doctor. He took one look and said “Duuuuuude maybe you’re not supposed to have this surgery. Of allllll the places to get bit.” And then he comes home with a new surgery date. The first day of school.
So there I stood, with my jaw on the floor and in my hand, God’s proverbial beer. Oh I definitely saw God that day. In all His might showing me who was boss. And that’s when I felt completely confident that we had a firm surgery date. This one was would stick because the only other less convenient date He could give us would be Christmas Day.
I don’t think I spoke for three days. Well not beyond the usual nagging and bossing of the donkeys who live under this roof. Aggravation, confusion and overwhelming dread had set in. For a mom who’s had the same first day of school drop off routine for 12 years–he drives, I video and commentate, they smile and sometimes cry, then I cry and always smile (when I walk into a quiet house)– to learn that I wouldn’t even see my donkeys that morning kinda broke me.
And then of course they don’t all start on the same day. But when I realized that my most needy, least confident one would start the day before, I saw God that day. If ever there was a child who needed her momma to drop her off on the first day of school it was that middle donkey of mine. My big donkey and my baby donkey would survive their first day without Momma. Gulp. My big can drive and dress herself and jumped at the chance to sleep out. And my baby, well she could run the world with her bracelets on her wrist and a candy in her pocket, flirting her way to power. So all three got spread out amongst that village of mine and I saw God that day too. Because the pictures were taken, the holy water was sprinkled, the signs were written, the car ride prayers were said and off they went to 11th grade, 2nd grade, and Kindergarten.
Surgery, check. Recovery, check. Awful night in the hospital where no one sleeps, check. First physical therapy session, check. Occupational therapy session where they teach us how to survive the next 6 weeks, check. Wheelchair ride to our car, check. We get home to settle in before the donkey brigade rides in and we have no electricity so we can’t raise the garage door so we can’t get in the house. Of course neither of us can find a house key to use a side door so we track down the 16 year old who is far more responsible than her parents and get her key. We finally settle in and here come the donkeys. Don’t touch daddy, don’t jump on daddy, leave daddy’s walker alone, no you can’t see daddy’s bo-bo, clear the path right here so daddy doesn’t trip. We were so careful to keep daddy safe and upright that nobody was watching Momma. Who tripped over baby donkey and hit her ankle just so on the corner of the bottom stair and hit the floor. Wailing, sobbing and screaming the whole way down. Apparently so much so that 16 year old donkey joins me on the floor and whispers “Momma I’m calling 911 to come get you.” I stopped her but I did call a friend to take me for an X-ray. That poor clinic doctor. Bless his heart. “If it’s broken it’s okay, we’re gonna put you in a boot and you’re gonna see an orthopedist Monday and go about your business. Do you know an orthopedist?” Do I know an orthopedist? DO I KNOW AN ORTHOPEDIST? Matter of fact, I saw one at 7am this morning when he discharged my husband–from-the-hospital. Same husband who can’t drive for 6 weeks. Husband who needs newborn baby level care right now. Yessss I’ll just call the orthopedist and then right after that he’s going to call the social worker. It wasn’t broken. Sprained and bruised. I saw God that day.
Day two of recovery was baby donkey’s 5th birthday party, which had been scheduled way before the final surgery date was set. My only duties were to show up with the co-birthday girl, smile (or try to) and two hours later check the box. The other co-birthday girl’s momma had handled every detail right down to the treat bags (we all know I don’t do treat bags)…and when all I had to do was write her a check, I saw God that day. Thank you village.
Our first full week with his new hip did not disappoint. We unexpectedly saw the doctor on day one with an incision issue. Then there was a school meeting every night that week for something. When I got home from meeting number one my oldest tells me, “Daddy is in bed with the covers up to his neck and his teeth are chattering.” Gulp. That could only mean fever which could only mean infection. Double gulp. Fever was 100.4. Paperwork said call at 100.6. Okay we’re good. Thirty minutes later we were at 102.5 and two hours later 104.5 and maxed out on meds. Two calls to the doctor later and we’re still riding it out. And by we, I mean me because he was not very engaged. I have walked the floors with four sick kids over the years and am no stranger to fever. But let me tell you. A 220 pound 41 year old man, shivering uncontrollably, not speaking very coherently….literally brought me to my knees. I can honestly say it was the second scariest night of my entire life. When you’ve got a sick baby with high fever, you toss them in the car seat and head to the ER. But by 2am when I had a grown man trying to get out of bed and not listening to reason who was a major “fall risk”, I didn’t have many options. I could not have handled him myself and 911 seemed a bit dramatic. So I prayed, prayed, prayed and at 5am we were at 100.1 and by 7am we were at 98.9. Okay crisis averted. I saw God that morning. After sending my little donkeys off to school I tucked him in all nice and neat into the recliner with the remote and I climbed into bed. Just to be safe I called the doctor to update them but I let them know there was no reason to worry because the fever had broken. Just as I closed my eyes they called and said he may have a blood clot and to go in for ultrasound now. Four hours and no blood clot later I climbed back into bed. And woke up to find that supper had been delivered and the kids were being picked up from school, fed and dropped off later. I saw God that afternoon too.
I saw God a lot in the weeks that followed. And boy did God see a lot of me…and not always my best side. But what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right? Where’s the barbell because I’d like to see what I could bench press today. Busy moms, run don’t walk and load the bible app “YouVersion.” There is a reading plan for everything under the sun. Most are 5-7 day plans and each day’s readings are short and concise. Which is about all I’ve been able to devote these days. On a particular trying morning, during a particular trying week, I was on the final day of the study titled “The Warrior We Call Mom.” My pre-prayer convo went about like this….5:04am: Lord, I’m about done. He’s got to go. Five weeks of togetherness is enough Lord….he’s healed. He’s—got—to—go. And I opened the day’s devotional and it was titled, “Fight the Enemy in Your House”…well Lord I wouldn’t say he’s my enemy per se…but he has got to go. 5:06am The devotional read, “You might be similar to Jael today–a mom who dwells in her tent and is faithful in her own territory, seemingly unarmed and far from dangerous to your adversary…..You may choose to believe that the battle is someone else’s responsibility because you are up to your eyes in laundry…..But you, woman of God, are the secret weapon that God desires to use on the front line. Jael fought the one battle that would win the war all by herself in her living room” Okay. God. Seems kinda dramatic but what are you saying?
5:09am: Then the Scripture reading. And I quote what was given to me in the context in which it was given: “But Jael, Heber’s wife, picked up a tent stake and a hammer and went quietly to him while he lay asleep, exhausted. She drove the stake through his temple into the ground and he died.”
5:12am text to my Soul Sista read: “I’m pretty sure God just told me to kill Jacob.”
5:12 and a 1/2 am text received from my Soul Sista read: “I just spit coffee all over my phone, please explain.” So I sent her screenshots of what I read and she replied, “Yep. I think that’s what He said.”
6am text sent to one who is way wiser than me in all things Bible: “So are you familiar with the story of Jael?” Her reply was, “Yes, the woman who drove a stake through some poor dude’s temple? What are you trying to tell me?” So I sent her the screenshots from the study and I said, “You think God is telling me to kill my husband?” Her reply, which came a bit later, no doubt after struggling between her sympathy for my mental state yet her own fear of being accessory to murder, read “Oh my. I guess there are many ways to interpret that.”
So the next day I pulled out my Bible and read the passage in its full context. Ohhhhhhhhh Jael didn’t kill her husband, she killed the intruder in her tent. Ohhhhh. My bad. And honey, if you’re reading this….that was close! You almost not only saw God that day, you almost met Him. (I’m nothing if not obedient) So having all of that “context”, I went back and also read the devotional in the app. Ohhhhh. The enemy in our house is busyness, distraction, addictions and it comes through our tvs, computers and devices. Ohhhhh.
And so now here we are. Daddy donkey got his walking papers today and more importantly, his driving papers. We are no longer joined at the hip (literally) and I’ve got my house back. Fly little birdie, fly. I saw God today.
We are all fighting battles. And often times I think I could handle some people’s battles blindfolded. And I’m sure some people wish their battle of the day was their husband’s hip surgery. It’s all relative. But I’m not ashamed to say that the Hip Replacement of 2018 goes down in this momma’s book as one I’m glad to check the box on. If and when we reach the day where we’re rocking together on the porch, way older and way grayer than we already are, we will no doubt look back on this adventure and laugh. Not today, but maybe on that day.
And the battles we face today prepare us for the battles that are coming tomorrow. And he and I…well we’ve already fought some doozies. We’ve checked more boxes in our two decades than most people check in a lifetime. We are fully suited up and know that this latest one, came as preparation for tomorrow’s. And that battle that is looming, it’s a big one. But that’s a post for another day.
Disclaimer: It should be noted that my husband’s life was never truly in danger. We don’t even own any tent stakes. I know because I checked.