6/1/09

On the road again

*If you're new here and don't know much about our youngest son, Asher, this post may be a little confusing. If you'd like, you could catch up a bit by clicking on The Noggin under Labels in the sidebar. There are plenty of Noggin posts there, and I'm sure they'd love to fill you in. Yes, they'd love it, because obviously, my posts have feelings.

~~~~~~~~~~
Yesterday, at my parent's cabin, Asher woke up at 5:00 a.m. I didn't want to wake up the rest of the house with screeches and screams, so I put Asher in the van and we went for a drive, not really knowing where we were going.

We saw the sun rise, some sheep, some cows, and long stretches of road. It was a beautiful start to the day, even if I wasn't at all happy to roll out of bed before the sun.

We drove to town and picked up a coffee and some diapers. Then with nothing else left to do, we sat in a parking lot. Asher watched Wall-E while I read a book and sipped my mocha. We did that for quite a while, lazy and content, until Asher said, "Mama...beep beep." And I asked, "Does that mean you'd like to start driving again?" He looked right at me and gave me his crooked grin, nodding so obviously that his chin would meet his chest as his little noggin went back and then down, very dramatically. I laughed, and then we were both a little more ready for our own private little adventure than we had been earlier.

Asher sat quietly, taking in the scenery and munching a graham cracker while I sat in awe of the beauty around us, and wondered how the songs shuffling through the IPod could be so perfect for our little journey. And then there was a shift in me and I wept. It was the strangest thing.

I was crying and laughing a little at the same time. Maybe it was the way the light was cutting through the tall pines. Maybe it was the words of the songs. Maybe it was just plain exhaustion. There was something changing in me, I know that for sure.

I thought about how I haven't really spent much time in quiet with Asher, not just the two of us. There's been nothing quiet about his life, nothing quiet about him. And here we were, driving along, and I was struck by the beauty of it, all of it. All of him. The beauty of the time with him on that drive, and of every moment I've ever had with him.

For the first time, I simply let myself see how hard our road has been. I finally sat with it, I looked at it and saw how very long this road has been. I saw the truth of it all and felt the relief of recognizing your own pain, and I cried all over it.

The day before we left, I sat with some lovely ladies who asked a lot of questions about Asher's condition. I haven't done that in quite some time, most people I'm around already know. So as I talked and watched the concern and curiosity around the room, I realized that I've always pushed away the idea that Asher's hydrocephalus was any kind of big deal at all. After all, there are much worse things, right? Why complain? Why dwell? Why make it more of a thing than it is?

But you know what? It has been really hard. Really hard. No, not as hard as a terminal illness or the loss of a child. No, but hard.

When other moms compare their everyday struggles with what's gone on with Asher, and they excuse their own pain by saying, "Oh I'm sorry...this is nothing like what you've gone through," I like to say, "Well, maybe it's not the same, but that doesn't make it easy."

I haven't been giving myself that same grace. It is one thing to be strong, to have a very true sense of peace that carries you on, and quite another to deny yourself the human need to weep, to validate your own struggle, to take a deep breath and let out a, "This is just plain hard."

During Asher's months (and months) of colic, and then his diagnosis and surgery, it's as if I put him in a car and just drove, just kept going, fixing, doing...being Mom. And yesterday, I put him in the van while I grumbled, not wanting to be up so early, not wanting to drive aimlessly. But because of the beauty that was handed to me on that unexpected journey, in the perfect songs swirling around us as the sun lit up the day, something lifted. Something hard turned to something good. So I laughed while I cried because I could see that without the early morning human alarm and the grumbly walk to the car, I would have missed it.

It wasn't until we took a break from the road, took a breath and rested, that we could look at each other and decide to keep going, feeling a renewed hope in the adventures ahead. In much the same way, I have a new perspective because of the road we've been on. One that has helped me to see things in a way I would have never been able to see them without the bumps and sharp curves.

It has been hard.






"Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces, calling out the best of who we are." - from Add to the Beauty by Sara Groves

48 clicked right here to comment:

Lisa @ Crazy Adventures in Parenting said...

Heather, this is such an emotional, BEAUTIFUL, heartfelt post! I could literally feel what you felt here, too.

And the pictures! The music! His face is gorgeous (oh I could eat those cheeks!), and those crying pictures, while adorable, are heartbreaking, too.

*huge hugs* for all you've been through.

Melanie J said...

What you say about something hard turning to something good is exactly what makes life worth living. I'm so happy for you that you got to share that moment with your baby.

T & T Livesay said...

wow. deep and true --- glad for this cool moment for you. much love.

Peanut said...

Beautiful. So glad you got that moment with him, even if you had to drag yourself out of bed to get there. I'm glad that you are healing a little bit at a time.

Jen said...

this is such a beautiful post and the song that goes with it is perfect. You are so right. No matter what struggle life brings it is hard and sometimes we just don't see it until we have come through the clouds to the sun on the other side.
I am so glad that you had this moment!

Debbie said...

You've done it again. Another absolutely beautiful post that no one else could ever have written. You have such a gift.

C said...

The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.
~Marcel Proust

xo,
crock
lets rock up la casita....soooooon!

L.T. Elliot said...

This is why I love you so much, Heather. When everyone else would say, "Why me?", when everyone else would say, "It's so unfair," when so many others would only see the hard, you recognize the grace.

Yes, it's been so hard for you and your little family. I know how much you've suffered though, worried through, cried through. And yet--you still come out smiling. You still walk into the sunshine with gratitude and thankfulness in your heart.

It is so easy to be swamped by the negative, to see only the dark. But you always keep your face turned to the light. You acknowledge it, you thank it, you revel in it. And because of your brightness, it reminds me of how much I truly have to be grateful for. Oh, that I should be half the woman you are.

I love you, Heather. Thank you for being just the person you are.

Keyona said...

That was beautiful. I'm sure things haven't been easy for you at all and you have proven how strong of a woman you are. You rock girlfriend.

Sheryl said...

again...so hard to type through tears! i cannot even pull myself together enough to write anything that would even make sense.

love you, glad you're home. SO SO SO glad for your time with asher.

Mommy Mo said...

Beautiful post written by a beautiful person about her beautiful boy.

Cue....tears.

a Tonggu Momma said...

Beautifully written, Heather. It took me years to accept how difficult were our first few years with the Tongginator. It was almost as if I stayed in crisis mode for months, just pushing ahead and focusing on getting through the day.

I was scared that, if I stopped to just breathe and think, I might start crying and never stop. But now look where we are... my daughter will be mainstreamed for kindergarten. MAINSTREAMED. And I'm slowly realizing how very bright she is. And that she truly is "all caught up."

Stonefox said...

Beautiful, Heather. It has been hard...and from the rocky soil comes the most precious and resilient of flowers. Keep growing, keep shining.

Izzy 'N Emmy said...

*sigh, tears* Amazing. Among the many things it meant to you and Asher, it's a memory you will always have to look back on when you need a moment.

I had a similar experience a few months back. I was into a really good book (ok, TWILIGHT!!) and so one day the girls had doc appts. I left a little early, they fell asleep during the drive. It was heaven sitting in my minivan, sipping Starbucks, reading and watching them sleep in their seats in the rear-view mirror. Not as special as your beautiful adventure, but I can relate to how that part of the moment felt.

And for the record, NO, they've never been that still and peaceful again. Hahaha!

Brooke said...

Lady, you are so amazing. I LOVE your perspective on things, and I love that you can admit that things have been just plain hard, as they sometimes are. Sometimes, I think we don't give ourselves the luxury of thinking about how truly hard some things are, but I believe until we can, we will never see the truly beautiful side of difficult things. (or, at least what we can and have learned from experiencing such difficult things.) I hope I'm making sense. Thanks for your beautiful post. You're awesome.

Pam at beyondjustmom said...

I love how you can be beautiful and hopeful, and most of all, real all at once. You have no idea what a blessing your words are to so many.
Thanks!

Sabrina said...

It's when we go through the really hard things, then we can appreciate and embrace the beautiful moments in life.

I'm happy for you and asher and your lovely drive together.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

We all have totally different versions of "hard," but I so admire the way you look at and even embrace yours.

susannah said...

YES. some things are just hard. this is a beautiful post.

Cynthia said...

I love this post, the song, the slide show! You are so right, we all are called to bear those challenges that are hard for US to help us grow.

I had a similar experience once I realized my twins really were going to be okay. 11 weeks early, tiny, fragile 2 pound babies. Watching your child fight for their life changes you. Being granted the opportunity to raise them anyway, humbles you. And the most blessed of all the healing? That the pain becomes a memory that no longer hurts but continues to provide wisdom and perspective.

happygeek said...

So beautifully written.

Brillig said...

Oh, Heather. I love you for saying that it's hard. I want to throw my arms around both of you. What an absolutely gorgeous, and breathtakingly honest post.

Kristen@nosmallthing said...

This is fantastic. I've had a moment or two like that...not in a long while though. The quiet times like that creep up on you, totally unexpected. You can't plan them. They are beautiful little surprises.

I love what you say about it being hard. Sometimes life IS hard. Sometimes REALLY hard.

Good for you, getting this moment with your boy. It makes my heart swell to think of it.

radioactive girl said...

It is hard to stop being super woman and admit that things are sometimes hard. I know from experience nd it sounds like you just figured that out too. It is all right to find something difficult, it doesn't mean you aren't working your butt off to make it through and doesn't make you any less of an amazing person. Sometimes when things get easier, it seems safer to let go and finally feel the feelings you have been too busy to let yourself feel.

Beck said...

I remember when my Baby was finally diagnosed and finally started gaining weight (she was 14 pounds at a year. We truly thought she was going to die) and I was finally able to sit down and cry over how terribly hard it had been.

I loved this post.

Wendi @ Every Day Miracles said...

Oh those beautiful moments. Moments when we face our pain for real. Like really sit down and GO THERE. A place that is easy to avoid - because, HELLO, we are super busy moms. So much to do...

Who knew pain could be so beautiful? I know. And you know.

That's how God works.

Loved this post.

Heather said...

This is such a beautiful post-I would print it off & save it for Asher, just to see how far you all have come.

The tricky part of life is not to compare our circumstances with someone else's. To not wonder why The Lord gives one person what seems like such an easy road, where others have what seems to be burden and burden. In His perfect way all the pieces of everything fit together.

Much love xoxo

Rach@In His Hands said...

Oh, dear Heather...what a blessing to recognize the hard road, learn from it, and grow from it. The ONE who loves you and Asher so dearly knows every single ounce of your struggle and He promises to carry you.

Love to you....

sara said...

this was a beautiful post heather!! I think as women, we all need the reminder to extend ourselves a little grace. I love that you wrote about that...my situation may not be (in my eyes) as hard as someone else's, but it is still hard.

enjoy the rest of your vacation!

jubilee said...

Your post is inspiring and beautiful.

It is a gift to be able to look back at the journey and see God's hand in it all.

mama-face said...

I read your post last night and could not even write I was so overcome with emotion.

lovely post. what a sweet boy.

Tooj said...

You sum up the moment so perfectly that it makes us readers easy to imagine being there with you. :) Everyone's road is subjective to THEM, and the difficulty it causes them at that moment in time is subjective to THEM. I'm glad you cried, glad you laughed. It's all a part of the experience.

BoufMom9 said...

Just beautiful!
i too have been coming to grips with some of the struggles I have had with Will and feel the same way...I don't allow myself to grieve. We tend to put a wall up, don't we?
I am so glad you found the words to express yourself so beautifully and even happier for you that you found the release that your heart was probably desperate for.
Blessings,
Debi

Lee of MWOB said...

Oh Heather. I love this post. Imagining you driving with the tunes on with the light cutting through the trees like you said and your little precious Asher in the backseat munching a graham cracker, it had me in tears. And then I spent some time reading your previous posts about Asher and of course it's been hard. And good for you to give yourself that. It's hard just being a mom - forget anything else.

Getting away from the normal routine of life is so needed for us mamas, a change of scenery to inspire the heart and soul and give us that shift of perspective you experienced. I am so happy you had your mini-revelation because it gives us the much-needed fuel to enter back into "normal" life. Your vacation sounds just amazing. On many levels.

Good for you.

:-)

Growin' with it! said...

can't.stop.the.tears! what a moving post sweet friend. smiling with you!

jen@odbt said...

What a fantastic and honest post. Life isn't easy but I think without going through the hard stuff we can't truly appreciate how beautiful life is.

Jenn @ A Country Girl's Ramblings said...

Tears, tears, tears! This was so amazingly beautiful. I think as mommas we so often compare what we have gone through to what others have been through. Thanks for reminding me that it is okay to feel down and out, fearful and heart break over things that I have had to deal with with my children, even if it isn't as desperately bad as what someone else may have to deal with.

Carrie said...

Awww...way to give yourself a break! I hope things get better for you, and I'm glad you have been able to enjoy some moments with your littlest boy recently. :)

Blessed said...

This is a beautiful post - one I can relate too. There are things in life that I've just put aside, not because they were not hard - because they were very hard, but because I could see how it could have been worse and so felt bad for feeling how hard it was anyway.

Did that just make sense? If not... it's ok - I loved this post and could completely relate!

Mylestones said...

Beautiful. I had to come back later to comment cuz the first time I was without words. Love that song, love this post. Thanks for sharing your heart and what you discovered in the moment on the road...

That Girl said...

I am so grateful that you let us be a part of your life.

Adventures In Babywearing said...

I feel like I say this (or think it a lot) when I come here... but I know. I know this, too.

What I found after going through what I did with Noah- the "during" is just you getting by and surviving. But the "after" is like when it can hit you like a ton of bricks. In a good or bad way- it's however you take it.

If that makes sense. But yes- sometimes we need to, should, and must just breathe it and admit it.

This is hard. Stop faking and pretending and just say it and get it out there and go on.

Beautiful.

Steph

Tricia said...

This is simply beautiful!

Willow Tree said...

Thank you, for the permission I didn't know I needed, to also say... this is hard. I'm so happy you had the breakthrough. Take a break, set the bucket down, and thank God for the laughter.

Blessings,
C~

Eowyn said...

I've always found that after a particularly hard time, there comes a release. A time just like you described, when you realize it was a hard time, and that it's over, and the relief and renewed good times were worth the pain.

What a beautiful post!

MidnightCafe said...

(((hugs))), Friend. I'm glad you woke up for that moment with Asher in the early morning. Thanks for sharing it with all of us. You're words are powerful and beautiful. So honest and so wise.

Megan@SortaCrunchy said...

I'm so sorry I'm just now getting to this, Heather. It's beautiful and hard and honest. Thanks for sharing a little bit of your brilliance with us.

Roban said...

What beautiful words, Heather. Tears came to my eyes as I read about your little trip with Asher. It sounds like it was just what the two of you needed that morning. How sweet and precious you both are.

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