18 February 2011

I don't want to serve.

Sunday was my first time at church due to colds and our pure exhaustion after our late January ER visits and inpatient admission.

My favorite thing about church is our community.  And I greatly appreciated the sweet smiles and sincere "hello! how are you's" I received after being gone for a bit.

I even had a few friends give me a grunt or roll of the eyes as if to communicate, "oh my gosh, we heard how hard things have been for you guys the last few weeks..." which was usually followed up by a "are you guys doing ok?"

After a few of these very similar conversations, I began to really hear the words that fell off my tongue in reply.  Each time I was asked this question, I responded with a nod and a smile...and if the conversation lingered enough, I would expose my deeper feelings and admit, "I've been feeling a bit trapped..."

Trapped is a good word to describe how I have felt recently.  In dreary January.  During Cold season.  Stuck in a house with two active boys.  After a lonely hospitalization.  After seeing my son suffer.  Trying to catch back up to life.

Trapped is when one feels there is no place to go or no way out.  And, honestly, that's how I recently felt as a mother, even more so as a CF mother.

It's easy to feel embarrassed for feeling "trapped" when you're the one who chose to have two children and care for them full time.  It was a choice, wasn't it?

But my before-I-had-children fantasies of motherhood didn't necessarily include forcing my child to eat enzymes or frequent admissions to the hospital.

I have realized that, at times, CF hijacks my opportunity to be a mother...forcing me to be more of a caregiver instead.  So, this adds to the feeling of entrapment.

Whether the feeling of being trapped was due to the overcast January weather and many days indoors or to the overwhelming demands of caring for a sick child, the fact is I have felt trapped recently...and most notably began to reminisce of my pre-mother/pre-married days.  I began to appreciate my previous career as a journalist and as a teacher.  I began to wonder what it might be like to pick those loves back up again.

I began to dream about my own dreams - what do I want to do with my life...accomplish...experience?  And then, like a pop to my daydream bubble, the thought occurred to me that those things may never happen.

When I chose to be a mother, I chose to give up a part of myself.  Usually, this "giving up" lasts for about 20 years - until the child is raised - after which the mother and father's lives pick back up to  continue on with their own dreams and ambitions.

But special needs children are different.  They often need more care from their parents - physically, financially, emotionally - some of it, if not all.

And considering this, I began to remind myself that my life is not my own.  When I made a decision to have a child, I made the decision to give up my own desires/dreams/hopes in order to foster these  opportunities for my child.  Sure, I can still dream, hope and strive for things for myself...but when I chose to have a child, I decided that I was willing to put my desires secondarily behind my child's needs.

I did this when I got married as well.  No longer is my money, my living space and my time my own.  I now share it with my husband and often sacrifice what I want in order that we both get what we want together.

A decision was made when I married...and then again when I chose to have a child.  But that decision goes deeper. When I said my vows and when I welcomed my child into the world, I made a decision to care for my husband and my children through everything.  And I took a risk that "everything" might be "anything."

I will care for my husband - as the active capable loving man he is today.  I will care for my husband - should he get in an accident and become paralyzed.

I will care for my children - as the growing potential adults I hope they will become.  I will care for my children - should they be limited in life and need extra care.

I made a decision (conscious or not) to commit, even through the risk.

As I began to remind myself that I made a choice...and that it was a good choice then and it will be a good choice in the future (no matter the outcome), I began to feel less "trapped" as though Bennett's CF just happened to me.

The reality was, I chose to love this little baby, sick or not, and care for this little person no matter what gifts or challenges he would come with.  When I am caring for Bennett, I am not merely passively experiencing a part of motherhood, I am activity experience all of what motherhood means...

My friend and I were talking last night and in the midst of our conversation she mentioned that, as mothers, our "mission field" is family.  It is where God has called us, for a time, to care for others and demonstrate who He is.

I laughed and thought to myself, "But I sometimes, I just don't want to serve!"

It felt so right to say this because it has really been the deeper feeling behind the feeling of trapped.  "I don't want to serve"...that is what trapped as felt like to me.

I don't want to serve my children one.more.time.  I don't want to change one.more.diaper.  I don't want to refill one.more.sippy.cup.  I don't want to give my child his Vancomycin antibiotic or chest therapy one.more.time.

All of the sudden, as that thought rushed off my lips, I heard this whisper that simply reminded me that this is what it means to follow Christ...

It means to love put others first...

I can falsely believe that CF has made my life worse - that CF stole the freedoms that I am entitled to - that motherhood has me trapped and unable to accomplish my life wish list.  I can believe that I am merely living a groundhog day experience doing the same thing for my needy snotty children over and over and over.

Or, I can believe that I was given a great opportunity - to love on two little people who God has given me for a short time - to live a life of sacrifice whether that be my free time or my dreams or to care for a child who honestly might need me a greater portion of his life.

But when I realize that I am living in a place where God's gifts and my choices collide, I realize that I am not, in fact, trapped.  I am blessed.


  1. Wow...this is beautifully written. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. It's nice to read in words what I have tried to communicate so many times. Hope you and the family have a great weekend. Hugs.

  2. What a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing it with us.

  3. Thank you, Breck. I needed to hear this today.

  4. :) You are very blessed. This too shall pass. Just to give you a little light at the end of the tunnel. My kiddos are 10 and 1/2 months apart. Yeah .... I had 3 years of two bottles, two diaper changes, two crying babies. I totally get the "trapped" feeling. Two babies and one of them needing CF care. Going to the park got old, everything got old. But it does pass. They get older and less needy in a baby way. It does get easier. :)

  5. This is such a beautiful post! I had tears streaming as I was reading as this was EVERYTHING I have been feeling these past few weeks. You have such a wonderful way with words. We are given such a short time here on this side of Heaven and God chose US!!!! What an honor and privledge. Even on the days I feel like throwing my hands in the air and giving up, I will CHOOSE to remember this and remember His unconditional love for me at all times. Heck, I'm quite certain He feels like throwing His hands in the air about me most of the time too :0

  6. Breck,

    This is beautiful and although I dont know what its like to care for a special needs child, you are so very are blessed. God chooses a special journey for each of us. It hurts to be away from my husband so much and I too wonder why God put me in this position, but I look at it as a small bump in the road that he wants me to experience in order to make me stronger. In this life, we are here for God, to serve him, to live for and through him, and to experience the happy moments as well as the struggles. When we leave this earth and enter Heaven, non of this will matter anymore. We will be with those we love and no longer know pain or hurt. You may feel at times that "what if I had chosen a differnt path," but will you have been fullfilled? Would you have an empty void in your heart? I know I would... You are such a caring and generous person and I know that God has a beautiful plan for you, your husband, and you precious little boys. Never feel guilty about feeling trapped and remember, whenever the feeling arises, look around you and see all the gifts that God has sent you and pray for peace in your life.... This is something I have to do on a daily basis. Without Him, I would be misserable... Thank you so much for sharing this...makes teh rest of us feel good knowing we all go through similar life battles, each in a differnt way. =)

  7. I love the statement your friend made about 'our mission field is family.' I hope you don't mind that I copy that on my status. It really impacted me. Very moving post!!

  8. You are wise beyond your years, Breck. I'm glad I get to know you.


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