Monday, September 11, 2006

some of life's recent twists and turns

After I posted the "Thinks Too Big for Me to Think" blog, I learned late Wednesday afternoon that my Mom was to have major back surgery in Birmingham (6 hour drive from here) Thursday morning. The doctor-sister (lives in CT) couldn't get there until Friday around noon. In conversation with the designer-sister they worked out their tag-team timing best they could. Meanwhile I felt it only right that one of the kids be there to help Dad with the whatever aspects of the event (even though Mom's brother was already there with them ... and thank God he was). I handed off my Wednesday evening rehearsals to my organist and pianist respectively (and respectfully, I might add ... I really appreciate them), then went home to get things ready. In order to help me keep alert on the road, Pappaw (my father-in-law) went along.

I really had too much on my mind to fall asleep at the wheel, but with him in the car it helped the trip to be more enjoyable ... and it helped the lovely wife to worry less about my falling asleep. We got there about 2am CDT. The surgery really didn't take place until late enough Thursday morning that we could have left here early (5-ish) and gotten there in time, but there was no way to know that Wednesday night. More important than sitting with Dad was for Mom to see me before she went into surgery. You see, as a result of our experiences with Mom's first back surgery (2-1/2 years ago) and her knee replacement (a year later), my designer-sister has declared my doctor-sister to be the best hospital help, herself to be the best home help, and me to be the comic relief. I'd like to think I'm a little more useful than merely comic relief ... but for now I'm comfortable with being at least that. My presence there was as much a morale thing as anything ... and even though she already knew I would be there by the time she got out of surgery, I think it gave Mom even more peace of mind to see me before she went in. As it ended up, we had a good couple of hours to visit together before she was taken back to the OR.

As we chatted (uncle, Dad, Pappaw and me) while waiting, we had a very enjoyable time. I've always been thankful for my family, but my gratitude has deepened over the past few years. With Grandmother still keeping her own house at 96 (or as she says, "My house keeps me"), Mom and her brother share the burden of her needs as well as any siblings I've ever witnessed. In many families, the lion's share of the responsibility falls to just one. I've seen it time and time again in my ministry. Not so with my family ... and I'm quite proud of them. Not only that, they are also among the most likeable people I know.

Pappaw and I stayed until Friday afternoon (picked doctor sister up at the airport) and gave her the report from the neurologist. I had to get back for stuff I gotta do (home and work). I realize I'm not as irreplaceable as I'd like to think I am at work, but I am the only one who can be the lovely wife's first husband and dad to the toothpick and the stickboy. I missed seeing the toothpick march on Friday night (I just love to watch those size 10 feet on that 5'7" 105lb body). But I rejoice in having gotten to Birmingham and back safely. I'm trying to keep my calendar flexible. Comic relief may be needed sometime in the near future, and I may not know exactly when.

This post may get edited for detail or improvement over the next couple of days. Right now I'm just getting thoughts out of my head because parenting two teenagers is requiring that I really need room for other thoughts to take place up there. If we get our boys through school before we lose our own heads, I will be quite happy ... and a little bit amazed.


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