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Tuesday, August 5, 2008


As I gracefully age, I am learning that life is about choices.

Every day, I choose which glasses to don. On one nightstand lay the HE-brand spectacles. Otherwise known as the Half Empty designer brand; the “why me?” and “this sucks” label. On the other nightstand lay the HF pair. The Half Full designer glasses; the “I will conquer” and “I am so blessed” brand.

The oddity is that both pairs of glasses are spankin' hot. Both pair include prescription lenses that enable me to see better. Both pair are couture and match well with all the outfits in my (wishfully-thinking) walk-in closet.

When the morning alarm rings, and I sit up in the middle of the bed, I am forced to choose which glasses I will wear. To the right lie the HE pair, and to the left rest the HF’s. My selection could affect the entire day. Because both pair are equally striking, it’s a really difficult choice.

The HE glasses feel much more comfortable when I’m tired. They sit perfectly on my nose when I’m watching other kids run, jump and talk in complete sentences. They seem to show a clearer version of Ellie’s hip x-rays. They most certainly are a better fit for when I’m looking at our bank statements.

BUT, there’s something enchanting about these two pairs of glasses.

Even though they both look pretty to ME, I realize that only one pair is radiant to OTHERS. While I see the Half-Empty pair as matching my outfit, everyone else wants to scream, “You CLASH, girl!” While I tell myself that I can see just as well sporting either pair, others notice me bumping into things when I wear the HE brand.

Every day I choose which glasses to wear.

Yesterday evening, Richard and I decided to try putting Ellie’s leg braces on overnight. Twelve hours of hamstring stretching in her sleep. The doctors and therapists have suggested we try it, but I’ve been too chicken. I was afraid that Ellie would wake up every hour, all night, begging for me to take the braces off. I LOVE my sleep. Richard LOVES it when I get my sleep. Ellie LOVES her well-rested mommy. Finally, though, I built up the courage and we decided to try it out.

As I was zipping Ellie’s sleeper footies over the bulky braces, I wanted to run to my bedroom and quickly switch out glasses. The Half-Empty’s were right there, beckoning me from the night stand.

Pick me! Pick me! If you wear ME, you can let yourself wallow in the vision of your baby girl having to sleep in those bulky, uncomfortable braces all night long. You can envelope yourself in sadness as you replay Ellie asking for, “Ballerina Shoes OFF!”

Oh, it was tempting.

I realized that I was standing at the crossroads of choice. Half-Empty or Half-Full.
Which brand?

I resisted the coaxing coming from the nightstand and stuck with my Half-Full spectacles. I looked at Ellie, being tucked underneath her hot pink princess blanket and thanked God for her Ballerina braces. I chose to look at the braces as a blessing, because without them, and the therapists and doctors who recommended and made them, she would develop severe ankle contractures.

I chose to see the blessing.

I sing a lot with Ellie (okay, I sing a lot. Period. No matter who I’m with). In the moments of decision-making, when I’m contemplating which glasses to wear that day, I try to sing one of our favorite songs:

I’m trading my sickness
I’m trading my pain
I’m layin’ it down for the JOY of the Lord

It’s sadistically comforting to know that EVERYONE experiences the glasses conundrum. We all have to decide which glasses to wear. Every day (several times each day, in fact!). You may not be choosing which glasses to wear while securing each Velcro strap on your daughter’s Ankle-Foot-Orthoses before bedtime, but you have your own version of leg braces.

Every day you and I choose how to look at life.

Today I’m wearing my pretty glasses. The ones that make me look 10 years younger and 50 pounds lighter, in both the “Chrystie mirror” and the “What Others See mirror”. I’m choosing to ignore the summons coming from my bedroom, begging me to switch pairs.

Sweet Ellie sleeping for 12 hours straight, without any complaint about her Ballerina Shoes definitely helped with my decision-making this morning.

I choose the JOY of the Lord.


Amber said...

You beautiful girl,you! Thank you for the I prepare for my daughter open heart surgery...I haven't had the HE glasses on YET....(not to be confused with I promise I won't ever) I actually just had this conversation with my oldest son (12yr) last night....only he can choose his happiness! I am so trying to only look at this repair as HF....I think what gets us is when, we are tired. Thank you, for a beautiful post!

Jane said...

Chrystie, I just love you. This post was amazing.

Erin said...

Amazing, insightful post.

~Laura~ said...

wow! Totally made me cry! I needed this after the week I've had.

Melissa said...

Seriously, Chrystie.....your blog is like therapy for me!! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your way of expressing yourself. Today, I am so thankful for you & your beautiful way with words!! U R AMAZING!!!