A Band-aid for Your Bleeding Heart

Carson, mister, what do you think you're doing?

I'm in a hurry. I fight it, trying to embrace the art of slowful living, to make sure my family knows I am present It's my nature, always trying to get as much done as possible, as quickly as possible, and as a result of that the laundry is washed and our house has been vacuumed and the kids are dressed, but I'm feeling hurried and empty --not taking time to feed myself, physically or spiritually-- before scurrying to get out the door. 

We're heading to Rochester, to the hospital waiting room, to be with good friends of ours who are currently experiencing one of the scariest times in their lives -- a brain tumor and a delicate operation. 

Carson probably sensed the angst in my heart, as I told him our morning plans, and now, when I'm trying to make sure I have everything we need for our drive, over an hour one way, he's sorting through a drawer in the bathroom, pulling things out and making a mess.  

I'm finding a band-aid, so Gina's mom feels better.  

He shoves two packets, white with blue lettering, into his Lightening McQueen backpack, now lost among the toys and coloring books and super cool silly bands, and he's ready to go, trusting that band-aids can fix brain tumors, because, when you're almost three, band-aids can fix anything.

I was taken aback. And as I drove through the pouring rain, my heart bleeding because it's October, I kept thing about the faith of a child, the simplicity of it. 


Anne of Green Gable and all of Instagram deem this month best of all. I use to think so too, October is beautiful, yes, but now bittersweet. 

Two years ago it changed, when what I use to associate with this season, the crunchy leaves and crisp air and pumpkin spiced everything, was replaced with memories of a month of prayer, of fear, of faith, of death. 

I still so vividly recall that morning, the shock and numbness that came with the news of his passing. The overwhelming grief, and in the months that followed, the anxiety that I would be the next mother grieving over a son.  

My faith was, and still is at times, so shaken. And on days like today, anniversaries of death, where I want to honor and remember, but don't quite know how, the longing for heaven and for wholeness is intense. 

I need a band-aid for my bleeding heart.

Ev, we haven't forgotten you. You left imprints on our hearts and called us to pursue relationships above all else, with family, with friends, with God. 

Today, and every day, we remember.

"There is a peace that cometh after sorrow, of hope surrendered, not hope fulfilled; a peace that looketh not upon tomorrow, but calmly on the tempest stilled. A peace that lives not now in joy's excess, nor in the happy life of love secure; but in unerring strength the heart possesses, of conflicts won while learning to endure. A peace there is, in sacrifice secluded, a life subdued from will and passion free. 'Tis not the peace that over Eden brooded, but that which triumphed in Gethsemane."  -Jessie Rose Gates


One Eye Laughing, The Other Eye Weeping

It was a rather rough day, one that started when the siren-cry filled the once silent early morning air, alerting me that all was not well.

Bed sheets were stripped, baking soda was sprinkled on the soiled area, plastic mattress pad penciled on the shopping list. I lay beside my child, the once-wailing-turned-chatty potty trainee who insists on wearing underwear day and night. He does really good but that chocolate milk before bed was a mistake. My mistake. Now I lay next to him, answering his endless questions at 4:30 am, wishing him back to sleep. 

Sleep finally happened about an hour later. We both dozed off in his bed. When my phone alarm rang at 6, reminding my of my commitment to working out ---which is currently boasting a 25% follow through rate for the week-- I hit snooze. 

So it'll come as no surprise to you but, I over slept.

Wet bed. Over sleeping. Rushed morning.

There was a list of errands that needed to be done, I couldn't keep putting them off, day after day. I hurried through breakfast, getting frustrated at the little boy who is always in a hurry, except for when he isn't. 

Come on, I coaxed for the umpteenth time, we've got to go!

9:23 am. The kids are both strapped in, the smallest protesting the injustice of a carseat.

We stop at the bank first, where we chat with our favorite teller, Christine. We drop a package --brown paper, tied up in string-- off at the post office, and waited in line for the local thrift store to open. The last errand (It wasn't going to be the final stop, but I easily talked myself out of the rest. They can wait for tomorrow. Or tomorrow's tomorrow.) was to pick up iced lattes for my husband and his employees, who were replacing the shingles on our house roof. 

It took a bit of time at the cafe. I chatted with several people I knew, Carson, of course, chatted with everyone. 

I had both kids strapped in, the lattes all accounted for, and we were pulling out of the parking lot when I suddenly remembered, he's wearing undies! Carson, how are you doing back there? I forgot to ask if you needed to use the potty. His standard response, the No mom, I'm fine, came first. On the heels of it came the one I dreaded. Mom, you need to pull over!

I knew I couldn't waste time. But I didn't want to go back to the cafe. That would mean getting both kids out of their carseats, hoping we would make it to the restroom in time. And even if we made it in time, there is still always the chance of a line...

There is a rest stop a mile down the road. I pulled off.

My plan was simple. I would get Carson out, he'd pee, we'd leave again.

Nothing went as planned.

I got Carson out of his seat, and helped him undo the button of his jeans. Brooklyn, meanwhile, is wailing from hunger, still angered at the injustice of her rear-facing carseat. My little boy, who is always in a hurry, except for when he isn't, wasn't. He took his good ole time, his sister beyond angst.

I couldn't take it anymore. Brooklyn was unstrapped, lifted out of her carseat, and nursed. 

What a sight we were, little boy, pants dropped around his ankles, now in a hurry, waddled all around the rest stop; frazzled mom, shirt lifted and baby latched, scurrying after her son, yanking his pants up, over his knees, over his butt. Somehow the mission was accomplished, in all that rush he had managed to pee. I sat on the picnic table bench, allowing the littlest to finish her snack. She slobbered and cooed, taking after her brother, who is always in a hurry, except when he isn't. 

Hey mom, I'm jumping over the bees! I glanced up. My kid wasn't kidding! He was hopping over a nest of ground wasps, three already wandering his shirt, most likely looking for flesh to pierce. I swatted them off, grabbing his hand and swiftly walking toward our vehicle. They were offended, beginning to swarm at us. We took off running, back and forth, opening the car door and clambering in as fast as we could. It wasn't fast enough. Carson's ear had already been stung. He was screaming from pain, his sister crying, not keen on her carseat, yet again, and I was more frazzled than ever. I tried to calm my kids, but mostly I just wanted to be home.

The crying and sniffles continued for the entire twelve minute ride home, and as we turned into our drive, it was all out wailing again from the smallest child. Her brother had noticed she was almost asleep and screamed in her face, Brook-win WAKE up. She gets so frustrated when he does that. Me too. 

I pulled the Tahoe into the garage, put it in park and switched the engine off. But as I opened the back passenger door to get the kids out, I realized Carson wasn't the problem at all, Brooklyn was crying, because in my frazzled rush to save ourselves from the bees, I forgot to strap the poor child in! She was scrunched in the bottom of her carseat, and I stood there, shaking my head at myself, praying for a better afternoon.

I know we often hear the saying Motherhood is Messy, and this little essay is letting you in on my messy. The messy I'm choosing to laugh at, because the only other option would be to cry. 

I need help. Send coffee!