Monday, July 2, 2012

Home Again ... With a Little Help From My Daddy

Wow! Where to start! I finally feel like I can breathe again ... a little bit anyway.

As many of you may know, Robert and I finally made that move back to West Nashville that we had talked about for so long; we have now been here 2 months. It's odd ... I feel like I am home again. I always said I would never move back here because it's just not the same old West Nashville it was when I grew up here, but now that I'm here, it feels like I have returned to my roots. I have been very nostalgic since Daddy died, and since the move I find that feeling has increased. Something about living in the same town that he and most of my family are from makes me feel like I am where I need to be right now. It's almost like Daddy had a hand in this somehow. How so?

Well, up until he died, I struggled with not being able to get to him. I had so much going on. I worked full-time-plus hours at a job that paid a part-time wage. It was a very stressful job. I may have been hired for an 8 a.m.-5 p.m. shift with an hour lunch break, but the truth is I rarely got to leave for lunch and rarely left at 5 o'clock. The job alone was stressful enough to anyone who was young and single, but throw in the fact that I'm not as young as I used to be, am a full-time wife, full-time mommy, had an ailing father 40 miles away and rarely a vehicle that worked ... well ... I always felt like my life was in control of me. Ya know what I mean? I never had the reigns.

I would daydream about being a stay-at-home-mommy, and had even discussed moving my dad in with us so that I could always be with him. Every time I thought about the fact that my daddy was sick and lived alone I throbbed inside. I just knew he would die alone, and I wanted so much to keep that from happening. It was so important to me for him to know that I loved him and wanted nothing more than to take care of him.

But ... Daddy was bent on staying at his own home in Centerville. Plus, he didn't want me to be the one to bathe him and dress him; I think for him that was a humiliating thought. Sure, he knew I would do it, but I think the idea of his child being his caretaker in some small way robbed him of his dignity.

Besides that, Ellie has stayed sick since she was born. From birth to 12 months we dealt with acid reflux. Somewhere around 18 months she developed the allergy-aggravated-asthma thing. From 1 to 2 and 1/2 years of age, she kept ear infections and sinus infections. Then from around 2 and 1/2 until February of this year she has struggled with constant vomiting and what the doctors were diagnosing as "toddlers' diarrhea." It's just a fancy way of saying, "Hey, your kid pukes all the time and has chronic diarrhea, and we don't know why." Symptomatically it's the same thing as IBS. For Ellie certain foods set it off -- particularly anything that should be healthy for you. At her age, certain fats are essential and her body has this really gross way of rejecting low-fat or fat free foods.

Everything mentioned above is stuff I am told she will grow out of in time, but when this started happening I started losing sleep and really, I felt at times like I was losing my mind. I mean, only other parents who have dealt with this can understand what I mean when I say, "There's a point where you get lost in the poop and puke, and it's hard to come back!" Somewhere in the midst of "all this" we did decide to get Ellie tubes to tame the ear infections; plus we had hoped that it would help at least with the vomiting. It did. But the diarrhea continued. Even up until the day before my daddy died.

February 28th: We took her to Maury Regional's ER because we were worried that she had become dehydrated. They ran their tests, did their diligence, but at the end of the day (literally), they sent us home with the "toddlers' diarrhea" explanation. My Daddy called that night to check on her; he died the next morning.

If one could will themselves to die, in some small way I believe he did. I think he could hear the struggle in my voice; the toil of the hand life had dealt me was audible. Not only that, but just a few weeks before I had told him how stressed I was starting to feel about everything -- working all the time, being a wife, being a mom, how Sick Ellie stayed. I remember telling him that I felt like I just wanted to give up.

I think Ellie's trip to the ER kind of sealed the deal. Not that it's her fault or anyone's fault. No, not at all! It's just that he loved his children so much -- all of his children: Brandon, me, Peyton AND Ellie -- that he would do ANYTHING for us. Even if it meant his life.

When his insurance policy reimbursed what Robert and I paid towards funeral costs, it made the move to Nashville possible by covering our moving expenses. Once we made the move, we saved virtually the same amount in Robert's gas as I was bringing home from The Daily Herald. Which ultimately meant that I didn't have to get in a big hurry about finding a new job, making me, if only short lived, a stay-at-home mommy!

Now I know my Heavenly father knows what I have need of, and I know that He was working behind the scenes of it all. But a small part of me can't help but believe that my earthly Daddy knew what I had need of too, and somehow willed it all to happen through his death. The Bible says that there is no greater love than this (John 15:13), and every day that I am here -- at home with my baby girl -- every time I look at her sweet face, I know that both my daddies love me and care for me and have nothing but our best interests at heart.

And do you know what else? That trip to the ER was the last time Ellie has had any IBS symptoms! It's truly miraculous to me how it all happened.

Now, this week, she has shown signs of her first ear infection since getting tubes in December, but she has been a healthy, happy girl since that day. We don't have insurance right now, but we do at least have all the drops she would be prescribed anyway -- even if I could afford to take her somewhere. So we're taking care of it; she's getting better everyday. And if for some reason she should begin with the symptoms all over again, my experiences over these past few months have taught me that my FATHERS will take care of me and her, and I have nothing to worry for anymore.

So you see, I am finally breathing a little easier! I am home again -- literally and spiritually. I have put my trust in the Lord, in my Daddy God because I know he has nothing but good plans for me, for us. (Jer. 29:11) And I feel like I now have someone on the other side who is also making sure it all works out for us.

Well, I meant to catch you up on all that has happened in 2 months, but somehow, as usual, the subject has turned to my daddy. I'll try next time to fill y'all in about life here on Eastboro. Till next time ...