Asher was just standing here driving me crazy, the way he was demanding a banana.
He shouts and he screams! I sigh and boil.
Then I turn to look at him and I see how he sticks his tongue all the way out to say nana, and it totally cracks me up.
What Asher gives off, his contagious joy, even trumps sibling rivalry. Most of the time.
It was right around this time last year that we found out he has hydrocephalus. (If you don't know what that is, it's what used to be called "water on the brain," where valves are not doing their job of getting fluid to the spinal cord...in short. Asher had a brain shunt (a valve that works) put in last December.)
From October, when we got the news, to December, when he had surgery, we really had no idea what to expect. I don't know that we even really understood what was happening. It was a blur of appointments with a neurosurgeon pointing at cat scans and saying things like, "Then we'll pass through here, to the center of his brain and tubing will be put in through his neck to his abdominal cavity," and oh my mothering heart was constantly weeping.
Just look at him now.
We were at our city's annual Halloween bash the other night and I thought, what a difference a year can make. There I was, sitting back all relaxed in our cute little Pleasantville-like city hall, all decorated with orange and black. Miles and Asher were going through the spooky tunnel over and over, and it hit me... I was having normal conversations with people, about the weather and pretty much nothing, and that felt good. Because last year at this same time I was a bundle of nerves, fresh off the phone with doctors, hearing this news I didn't want to hear. Back then, I could not stop telling everyone who innocently asked how are you all about my child and his upcoming brain shunt surgery, somehow slipping it into the conversation.
Seriously. Everyone. I suppose this is pretty typical, this need to be heard, for sympathy, for attention in the midst of fear and hurt.
Looking back, I can see the way I would nearly interrupt a person mid-sentence while they tried to talk about the weather. It's actually quite funny to me now...
How are you, Heather?
SHUNT! Er, I mean...fine! Shunt you for asking.
I can vividly remember the responses, some distracted or uncomfortable, and others truly feeling it with me, bringing me to tears with their big hearts in their eyes.
I can look back and laugh at how I would bring it up now because everything is OK. It's really OK. Asher is going to be just fine, even if he's not always. I'm so glad, of course, but I say that with a bit of a heavy heart because I know that there are so many people out there struggling through things that aren't even close to fine.
I think about that a lot. I've always been
I get something I hadn't really gotten before, and due to some crazy twist of grace, I'm glad to get it.
Asher may drive me bananas with the way he demands nanas, but he is here with me. And the thing is, I'm not saying that all of us who have children that are OK, or at least healthy-ish, should feel guilty about our children's good health, kicking ourselves for ever being grumpy about bananas. I don't think that kind of guilt serves any purpose at all.
But I guess what I am saying is that we should pound the ground with thanks, and then we should listen. Because there are people out there who can't stop themselves from sharing their terrible news, the news that's always there, that horrible thing that sits on everything in their lives, engulfing. These are people who need to be heard and they should be heard and I want to hear them. I want to stand there or sit here and say I know, but I don't know. I get it, almost. I'm just so sorry, friend, because there's nothing else to say and then just listen.
That's largely why we're here, I think. To listen. To just be quiet and listen, not steering away because we have no words, but simply being there.
So let's listen, big hearts in our eyes. Most of the time, that's all a person needs.
Why hello! Are you new here? Did Mama Kat send you? Isn't she the best? (and I'm not just saying that because she chose my Motherhood post, really.) Thank you for taking the time to come by and for "listening" to another post. I appreciate it muchly.
You can find my posts that aren't too shabby on my Hits page. I mean, you know, if you've got all the time in the world or something. Mostly I just want to thank you for coming by. And I did that, so I'll go now...