She’s Complicated

March 5, 2019

So surgery.

She broke her arm 2 years ago, and it was cast incorrectly leaving a bend in her radius. Last July she had surgery to correct the bend and place a metal plate in her arm. Now her ligaments between the radius and ulna are too stretched out, like weak elastic, and it makes her ulna displace. Today her ligaments will be repaired and the plate removed as a bonus. Surgery was supposed to be Thursday, but yesterday she was bumped up to this morning.

These imperfect parents have been blessed three times with imperfect daughters. Paul and I have never been blind to their shortcomings or our own. Oh we’ve missed our fair share of obvious crap, but we are the first to admit our girls are sometimes lazy, sloppy, unindustrious, pampered, manipulative, dishonest, and prone to Oscar-worthy drama. Lauren has absolutely made Paul and me at least half crazy, especially in the last year. I don’t know, maybe since birth. Time blurs some of the crazy and almost makes it seem humorous and silly. But I can think of several times since last fall just looking at Paul asking “Did that really happen? Did she really say that? Am I going crazy? I think she’s making me crazy? Am I crazy?”

I can go on and on about each of my girls because they each are awesome in their own ways, but in different ways. Lauren is usually the first to apologize sincerely, and usually the first to do so without prompting. She’s also often the first to say “thanks.” She feels deeply, and probably no more deeply than her sisters, but she is incapable of hiding her feelings. If I ask them how their day was, they could each answer “fine” with completely different meanings. For Grace, “fine” might mean it was the worst day ever but she’s not gonna let me know it (she’s gotten much better about that). Emily’s “fine” is snarky and I have no clue what it means. But when My Lovely says “fine,” she’s choking back a sadness, and there’s no mistaking her bleeding heart on her sleeve. She’ll let me know when she’s ready to talk about it.

But she also can’t hide her happiness. There’s a smile that crinkles her eyes and a laugh that busts out of her mouth right from the deepest part of her heart. We went through months when there was only one person on the planet who could make her smile, but now her circle of friends is growing. And I know how to decode her emotions and predict her day by what songs she chooses for the Hot Jam on the ride to school. I’ve come to despise Harry Styles, and I would tell him that to his face, because when “Sign of the Times” plays, she and I will be in tears before we reach the school. But last week after playing Rascal Flatts “Yours If You Want It,” she actually said “love you” to me when she hopped out of the car and dashed into the school.

She has needed more help in the last year than she has ever needed in her entire life. Since February last year, she’s been in the hospital 3 times for possible kidney stones, her first wrist surgery, and an episode of passing out. She’s had xrays, 2 MRI, a CT, and an EKG. She has started physical therapy for her back. Plus all the issues with the bullying and changing schools. I keep pics of all her prescriptions in my phone because I can’t keep them straight. And Paul is so good to organize her pills and make sure she takes what she needs to take on time. Physical, medical, surgical, emotional, mental, relational, educational, and spiritual help. Some have walked willingly alongside her, some have walked away, and some have walked too quickly while constantly reminding her that it’s her own fault for being so far behind. Whatever. Lauren made the healthy decision to walk away from some who were hurting her. Now she struggles to sleep, and every week she tells me her fitful nights are now filled with the faces of lost friends she never dreamed of losing. And I wonder if they ever dream about her. And yet in the midst of this complicated time for Lauren “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Psalms 34:18df

Parenting a singleton would have its own challenges, but so does parenting three. I’ve been accused of inequity in how I dole out my love for each. I let so-and-so get away with so much more, and why don’t I ever make that one take out the trash? But Lauren accused me lately of not having any more tears for her. She felt I was too free and too loose with my tears over past struggles of one of her sisters, and she thought maybe my Lauren-tears for her had dried up. That one hurt, and that’s one of the reasons I can proudly say I’m never too proud to admit my parenting fails. But when I’ve tried to show a level of strength through dry eyes, it’s only because sometimes the situation requires one of us to keep our shit together and not completely lose it, and I have made the executive decision to allow Lauren to break down instead of me. Sometimes my tears are in the shower or in the car or in a meeting discussing Lauren or via text or phone call with a friend, but they most certainly are real and frequent, and most certainly can flood a room.

I’ve seen her be the best and the worst player on the field, all on the same day. Softball has been a saving grace for Lauren in so many ways. And now, just like last year with her other surgery, she is benched. At 14, her vision is nearsighted in that she wants her wrist to heal for softball. At 48, I’m more far-sighted and I want wrist healing for life. I’m trusting God has perfect vision for Lauren, and His reasons for benching her don’t have to make sense to us in the short term or long term , because I know it makes sense to Him.

I’m exhausted for Lauren, but it’s not about me. It’s been a tough, tough year for her. I never thought I would see Lauren give up, but that nearly happened. Give. Up. She is exhausted from being behind in life, and every time she gets her footing, something else happens. She has worked her butt off. She is learning whom she can ask for help. She is seeing some people show a little more kindness lately now that they understand that Lauren is sorry for the inconvenience, but this struggle is a much bigger pain in her ass than in theirs.

She just had her nerve block and they will take her to OR soon. She was taking selfies until I told her there is a sign saying “No Cameras.” She’s had about 8 medical people in the pre-op already, and they’ve all been so kind and helpful. They ask about her boyfriend and school and softball. They said she must be tough to be a catcher. One nurse commented about how pretty her eyelashes are. She was smiling a little when I left her.

Now I wait. I know y’all are praying. Thank you for those prayers.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

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