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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Clap On, Clap Off

Sometimes, okay most times, my feelings make no sense. I wish I could contain what spews out of my heart. I wish I could be the master controller of the emotional on-off switch.

I’m surprised at what makes my heart sad and jealous sometimes. When I type it out, and read it aloud, I KNOW that it sounds ridiculous. I KNOW that it’s nonsensical. But it’s real and raw and that’s the way I roll on this blog.

You know what made my heart pang with jealousy today? Hearing the news that a sweet 2-week old baby is home from the hospital after her heart surgery. Now, most everyone would expect me to say that I’m envious of people whose babies are healthy and whose birth experiences were heavenly. But, to be jealous of parents whose baby almost died at birth? THAT is ludicrous!

Believe me, I know that.

Of course, I’m not covetous of their hospital experience. I am empathetic, because I know how heart-wrenching and devastating it can be. I am, however, envious that their baby underwent a successful surgery and, according to doctors, will have no side effects. The sweet little girl will grow up just like her healthy older sisters. She will walk and run. She will talk and learn to read. She will get married and have her own healthy babies.

Or something close to that.

And I am so jealous of those parents, who were able to leave the hospital for good.

I have also become accustomed to skimming the topic headings of my “Parents of Children With CP” message board. Rather than conjure up those nasty feelings of resentfulness, I avoid any threads with “My Kid Took His First Step Today!” or “The Doctor Said My Daughter’s CP is Mild!” titles. My heart writhes with jealousy with I read those words.

Of course, after the envy, my heart and head are quickly flooded with shame. What sort of terrible person begrudges those who have sat in the same NICU, in the same neurologist’s office?

I want so badly to replace the jealousy with joy, the envy with excitement. I want to rejoice when sick babies are made healthy, when kids with cerebral palsy walk independently. I want to scream with delight when a brain injured child is released from speech therapy because she’s now “caught up” with her language.

But how do you force your heart to feel something it doesn’t?

My saving grace is that these feelings of jealousy are usually short-lived. I have learned to shut them out and pull that burning fork of envy from my butt. I have learned to pray for compassion and a soft heart.

I have not yet fully acquired the ability to accept my lot, but I’m working on it. It was not in “the plan” for me to leave Las Colinas Medical Center with a healthy baby or a working uterus. It was not in “the plan” for me to hear the words “mild” while sitting in the neurologist’s office. I don’t know why. I wish it was different. But it’s not.

And, more than anything, I don’t want my perfect Ellie to be fight these demons of jealousy. Her mere presence gives me the determination to pray more, to accept better, to envy less. So that maybe one day I will hear the news of a baby’s hospital release and be filled with JOY. And Ellie and I can do a little happy “dance” when we see one of her therapy buddies running and jumping.

THAT’S what I want for our hearts.


Miss Burb said...

We can't help but want the best for our kids! It's normal and I feel it all the time...

for example, when I read your post about Ellie being potty trained? Jealousy! But then I was happy because I know what a relief it must be for you both.

It's okay to feel what we feel. It's what we do with those feelings that matter.

Mo said...

You are entitled to feel this way...I appreciate the honest post.

Sheila said...

Big hugs! I know this feeling well!

Jane said...

I've always admired your ability to be so honest about your feelings. I'd hate for you to feel like you couldn't share them, no matter what they are.


Amy said...

Boy do I know this feeling. I think it is just normal to feel this way. Let's face it, this life ain't easy!! To be honest with you, I find myself envious of Ellie's language and walker skills and energy and ability to play, especailly since Emma is 6 and Ellie is 4!!! (You know what I mean because you know I am one of your biggest fans.) I am honestly happy for you because I know what it means to you both, but I want those things too. So I get where you are coming from. I am always there because Emma is more severe than just about any CP kids I know. I get exhausted sometimes trying to always find the positive in the smallest things, and I stinkin hate that people feel sorry for me because of that. I am loving this post because it hit home, and I appreciate your honesty. It is what I think sometimes too but am afraid to say. Thank you.

Kat said...

Thank you for this post, Chrystie!