About Abby

I'm a mom and blogger. I love all things creative! Follow along at www.chapterthirtyseven.com

Walk away

Walk away

  “What is your code ma’am?” You had to have one. A security code to give the hospital every phone call to see how your baby was doing. I still catch myself, feeling like I haven’t done something I need to do, I haven’t called to check on Jed. My code is 9014. I’m calling to check on Jed, do you have his labs for today? How much oxygen is he needing? How did his blood pressure do over night? What time are you running dialysis? Does he look ok? I’ll be in this afternoon. Call me if something comes up.  It is the cruelest feeling I have ever known, to turn, to walk away, to will yourself not look back, to not cry, to harden your heart with all the facts that you know so well, to leave. I have done it more times than I care to remember. It … Continue reading

This Is Not About Me

This isn't about me

This whole thing, start to finish, is not about me. This existence, this space on earth I occupy, these moments of intersection into other people’s lives, this whole thing called life is not about me. Counter to culture’s doctrine, I am not the hero of the story. I am an underscore, a shadow, a very fuzzy reflection of a brilliant reality. I am ashamed to admit I am fighting this truth tooth and nail lately. I know this truth. I teach it to my girls. I believe it. But I almost always shrink from the courage to live it. I want to have an edited picture, filtered, in focus, one that will earn plenty of approval. Because I am just that good. The only problem with that sort of picture is, that is a lie, I am not that good. You see, there are three great sorrows in my life. My daughter’s health complications, … Continue reading

Push-ups, Plants, and Patience

pushups, plants, and patience

The first time a physical therapist showed up on my door step to evaluate Christina for services, I’m fairly certain I was as warm and welcoming as glacier ice several miles thick in January. She had worked with special needs kids for blah blah…and at that point, I was lost and gone. I did not have a special needs kid. I had a developmentally delayed premature baby. Get it right lady. Out came the check list. Was Christina able to do this, this, this, this, or this? No, no, no, no, and no. What did that prove anyway?? Clearly, there really was no extensive problem here. The therapist wisely ignored me, and proceeded with the whole business as if she didn’t notice my freezing lack of enthusiasm. When Christina was somewhere around a year old, I finally floated back down to the good old reality of Earth, and was ready … Continue reading

Is my excuse really my reason?

excuse or reason

It was somewhere between three months and seven and a half months into Christiana’s short, but dramatic life that I remember dully listening to another mom gushing about her daughter. Words meant to be encouraging landed like slaps to my heart. “We just had a lot of faith,” she said. “We prayed, and prayed, and our daughter made it home with no ventilator, and is so much better than they ever thought she would be. You just have to have faith.” I remember smiling politely and walking away. Have faith echoed from my footsteps down the hospital hall. It chuckled mirthlessly in the silent elevator. It jeered at me from the back seat of the car driving home. We had faith. We prayed. And then we picked our in home nursing care, installed electrical outlets for a ventilator, learned to change a trach, and memorized emergency procedures for keeping a baby … Continue reading

Bitter, Better, or Jesus

19-300x197

     I don’t have anything new to write about. No really, I don’t. I have fought and fought in my mind about this blog, about writing, about whatever happened to that women five years ago who painted furniture while two healthy little girls napped, and blogged pictures to amuse invisible friends in cyber space. I have always thought the day I got my first glimpse of my squirrel sized premature third daughter, was the day the door to my former life snapped shut and sealed itself impenetrably. There was no going back to the “shall we have taco’s for dinner or go out” life of luxury style problems. Her birth pealed a layer away to a deeper view of life that once seen, can never be unseen. As if a door to another world had opened and swallows us, we found ourselves lost in a maze of terrifying scenery. … Continue reading

How are you?

thanksgiving

Why, in western culture, the phrase “how are you” is considered a legitimate way to greet each other positively confounds me. Very few actually answer the question. Fewer still answer with even the slightest form of honesty, and those who do, are generally considered less than pleasant people. Bless their hearts. I recently started working a bit in the retail business. For a people watcher such as myself, this is quality entertainment at its absolute finest. Dozens of times a day, the socially proper question of dubious meaning comes rolling out of my mouth to be answered in the expected, the unexpected, and sometimes the most downright shocking of ways. If I was not already convicted by my own lack of gratitude, I am now. If I was not already convinced, I am now thoroughly certain, that we, generally speaking, are not a thankful people. We are tired. We are … Continue reading

Treasures of Darkness

treasures of darkness

The fact is, it has been one year already. What are facts when the mind seems to refuse to absorb them. The mind says that one year has lasted several lifetimes, yet it started only a second ago. What does the mind know anyway. The mind plays tricks. Yesterday it could remember exactly the feel of wispy blond hair, as soft as feather down, remember it sticking to the clothes and floating away in the air as chemo spread its poison. Today the mind remembers nothing, it only says to hurry. Hurry, clean the house, leave nothing undone. Hurry, and get ready for the phone call that will rush us to the hospital. That is a nasty trick, there is no phone call. Tomorrow the mind will laugh. It will laugh at the absurdity of anything seeming important or significant. What could possibly be important? No one is dying today … Continue reading

I Won’t be That Mom

I won't be that mom

     I grew up in central Florida. Where heat shimmers in waves above the asphalt, where afternoon thunder storms with more electricity in them than the entire population of Texas uses in a year (or so it seemed anyway) is the norm, and where of course, Mickey Mouse brings hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Not to be misunderstood though, Mickey and I were not BFFs in my childhood years. My family actually lived well outside the ring of glitzy entertainment, down a dirt road, in a double wide trailer, on the back side of a cactus nursery. The “cactus farm”, as my friends dubbed it, was a family owned and operated business passed down from my Grandpa. Cacti were the means of financing our food, shelter, and education, and we kids were expected to take the growing of them as seriously as the adults.      I … Continue reading

Compassion is inconvenient

compassion

One. Two. Three. Three sailboats drifted out on the water today. I squinted my eyes, was that a fourth sail easing into view? Yup, that’s four. Clearly today was a beautiful day to be outside. I turned away from the huge window and glanced up at the clock. A half hour had passed in the time it had taken me to count the boats, wander fancifully through the streets stretching in thin ribbons below me, and imagine myself staring up at the high church steeple sticking like a needle in the distant horizon. Nothing behind me had moved in my mental absence. The little mound on the bed lay motionless, the machines swooshed rhythmically, the numbers on the screen glowed steadily. Nothing would change today, there would be no outside play for us. Satisfied that I had missed nothing inside, my eyes again drifted to the window to the world … Continue reading

I can be a mom, but I cannot be a Savior

I am a mom, but I am not a Savior

         You are busy, you have stuff to do, and you hear your child’s voice calling you from the back door. You ignore them, because that is what any self-respecting mother who expects to get anything at all done in a twenty four hour period would do. The calls are insistent. That kid is not going away. Whatever they have to say is apparently worth repeating “maaaaaammmmmmaaaa” seventeen times. The eighteenth time the little voice takes on a forlorn tone as if you have abandoned them forever. The tone of voice does its work, and your awakened feelings of pity send you immediately to admire the flower they have found (one of the approximately four billion weeds in the yard), be appropriately sympathetic about the scratch on their finger (which you can’t actually see), get them a drink (which they could have gotten themselves), assure them that … Continue reading