Loving people through “it”

Don’t be lame

I last left you people with the story of Clark’s diagnosis.

When you receive a life-changing diagnosis, you cannot explain how it rocks you. For Clark, the diagnosis was actually a relief because of the months building to that moment. The hard part was when our neurologist dropped the heavy truth-bomb that Clark was not and would not ever be “typical.” For my friend just diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, it was the moment of diagnosis. I am absolutely wrecked with their news. I love this person and their family so, so much. I want to take away all the hurt and fix the situation–hello, nurse over here 👋

Y’all, I’m going to get serious for a minute and tell you all the things I’ve learned from my personal experience about dealing with someone’s heavy stuff.

  1. They are hurting. Like run-over-by-a-mack-truck-mangled-and-gasping-for-air kind of hurting. Life-changing news actually takes your breath away. That’s not just a saying. The affected party actually struggles to get enough oxygen with their breaths because it feels as if their lungs are stupid and are not cooperating.  Do not delegitimatize this level of hurt. Don’t say, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” That’s some bullshit and is completely unhelpful.
  2. Now, if you do love them, you’ve got to let them hurt. Let ’em. You don’t have to have the magical words to make them feel better because *spoiler alert* you cannot make them feel better with any words. Let them tell you how destroyed they are. Let them tell you their life is falling apart. Let them ugly cry. Yes, I know it can be totally uncomfortable when they are sniffing and dripping their own snot with their swollen, red, blotchy-faces. Just let it happen again and again if they need it.
  3. DO NOT SAY “I’m here if you need anything!” Look, Brenda, they do not know how to tell you what they do not know they desperately need. Instead, just try being there. Send the note, text, email, letter, gift, package. Tell them, “I’m thinking of you, and I love you.” Show up with all of your inadequate words and your Mawmaw’s casserole that uses two cans of Cream of Chicken soup. Just show the hell up.
  4. Also, don’t ask “How are you?” And follow it up with “but you’re okay, right?” They aren’t good. That’s a given. Instead say, “This sucks, and I’m here. Want to talk? Want a drink?” Let them know that you know the situation is messed up, the future is uncertain, but you are there for all of it. I promise this means more than “Oh how are you?”
  5. They are not the same anymore. Acknowledge that, but love them anyway. Keep inviting them to every function even if they never show up. Know that they have been forever changed, but also let them know that you don’t care. Be the friend you want to have when your life is wrecked, because one day it will be.
  6. Treat them like a human without the kid gloves. Nothing will piss a person off faster than being treated like a fragile piece of glass. If you regularly text the person pictures of floating hair, aka tumbleweaves (like I do), then still do that! If you screenshot hilarious and dramatic Facebook statuses (guilty, again) don’t stop. Keep up your friendship, oddities included.

The moral of the story is to be a friend, which I think is a lost art. Truly. Think about it–we live in Facebook world where everyone is a “friend,” but that’s just not true. Not every acquaintance is your friend, and not every friendly person is a friend. You can be kind without letting everyone into your inner circle, and that’s totally okay. But if you claim the title of friend, then be a good one! Show up and stay through the hard parts. Go out of your way and love people so, so hard. Show up with the meal, write the letter, and love on people consistently and genuinely. I just cannot emphasize this point enough–Be authentic, invite your people into that inner circle, and love them aggressively.

We are not perfect people. We’re going to mess up and say and do the wrong things. So what? Do better, love harder. What everyone says about “millennials” is bull because we are hardworking, we are accepting, and we are far more genuine in our relationships than anyone gives us credit for. Let’s show them all how we’re going to change the world by eschewing the platitudes we’ve been taught and embracing authenticity, both in friendships and in life in general. Until next time,  love to all. ❤

Pill-eating, picture forgetting, and lice hunting

This is my circus and those are my monkeys

Hello people! I have been absent in the blog world lately because of grad school. My life has not slowed down even a little bit and really nothing has changed. We are still a messy bunch of people struggling to not live in absolute filth while getting exercise occasionally. A few weeks ago, we were getting ready to go to Friday services  while Ben was handling Clark, and I was on the phone with my mother-in-law. All of a sudden, Darcy bounces into the living room and says, “One more!” as she pops something into her mouth.

Ben: “Darcy! What is that? Spit it out! Oh God, Beka. I think it’s a pill.”

That’s when Darcy reveals the topless pill bottle clasped in her sticky little hand. I race over and fish the pill out of her mouth and look at the pill bottle. It’s my thyroid medication and the bottle is empty. I run back to my bedroom to see if she spilled the bottle and by chance did NOT eat the pills. They are nowhere to be found.

Me (quite calmly, actually): “Darcy. Did you eat all these pills?”

Darcy: “…”

Darcy finally slowly nods her head.

Me (losing all chill):”WE NEVER EAT PILLS, DARCY!!!”

We throw her and Clark in the car and start driving to the emergency room while I frantically call Poison Control. To their everlasting credit, they were SO nice and quick to alleviate my fears. I estimated she had eaten about 10 of my pills which was only about 500mcg of levothyroxine.They basically said she was going to be fine and the ER trip was unnecessary, but to “watch her for signs of hyperactivity.” I laughed because this kid lives hyper. So anyway, I am #momgoals for overdosing my child. And yes, they were sitting on my night stand, so it was my fault and I suck. I know, I know. Because I want all of you mamas to feel awesome I’ll tell you another story featuring my crappy mom brain.

So, mornings at our house are challenging, okay? Ben leaves for work at 6:45 and is largely unhelpful with the kids in the morning. It’s not his fault–he has a commute and has to leave, but that basically means I take morning shift by myself. In the mornings, I am running around getting them up, dressed, fed, and dropped off at daycare, so I can bust my tail to get to clinical on time. Halfway through this particularly busy clinic morning, I get a call from daycare. I groan internally because I know they’re calling to tell me that Clark is sick because he always is. I’m immediately stressed because I’ll have to miss clinical and go get him, and I really don’t need to miss any more clinical days.

Daycare: “Hey, Mrs. Rebekah. So, today was picture day…”

Y ‘all, I laughed so hard! Today was freaking picture day and in my haste to get the hell out of the house, I dressed my kids like homeless Bob who lives under the interstate bridge.

Me: “Omg, I dressed my kids like hobos, today.”

Daycare: “We figured you forgot, don’t worry, there’s a makeup day on Thursday…”

So we get the proofs yesterday and Darcy’s expression looks like someone put cow dung on a spoon and held it under her nose. I’d post it, but we only have the proofs, and I’m pretty sure the GIANT watermark means I shouldn’t post it.

What can I say? We are #familygoals. I can laugh at that stuff for the most part because it’s par for the course around here, and we are just not normal. I can admit that stuff was pretty funny, but the lice scare of this past week was NOT. If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I have anxiety. My anxiety is SO weird though. Like I can drive 6.8 miles to the gas station even though I only have 7 miles to empty and I feel no anxiety. Cool as a cucumber, yo. But I get a letter saying there’ve been cases of lice in my kid’s classroom, and my head immediately starts itching, I psycho-dial my mom, and I spend the next 2 hours examining my hairline with a flashlight yelling, “IS THAT A DANDRUFF OR A NIT????!!!!” over and over to myself. Clearly, I am very stable and I’m #personalgoals.

But you know what? My people still love me so well. Just a couple of weeks ago, a sweet friend brought over the most delicious dinner. Ben had been working so late, and it was kind and helpful. Thank you, Ellen. That week was followed by one of the best weekends ever!  One of my best friends married the love of her life, and I got to be there as a bridesmaid. Tyler and Matt made the perfect couple, and I had the best time catching up with all of my gloriously imperfect friends. We are an unusual blend of backgrounds, religions, political views, and even geographic locations–they live everywhere from small Mississippi towns to Houston, Washington D.C., Oahu, and Sydney.  But they’re my people and we love each other so well. The very next weekend my husband surprised me with a beach trip to my parents beach house in Fort Morgan, AL. When I got there, I was so thrilled to spend time with my parents. An hour later, I answered the door and my brother and his family were standing there. My heart could have just burst! They drove from St. Pete Beach, FL to be there, and we made the most of our short weekend.

You might be like me. You drip sauce on whatever shirt you’re wearing, accidentally overdose your kid, smack your kids head on the car door putting them into the car seat, or walk around with crap in your teeth all day.  You might struggle everyday to keep your patience. Or hey, you might not. You might have it together on all the outside things which is also cool (I salute you, you unicorn). But I’m telling you now, if you don’t have a group of weirdos, both friend and family, you’re missing out. Because when all the bad happens and life is just hard, you need those people to fall back on. They’ll embrace you, faults and all. In that circle of love thing, I truly am #goals. Love to all ❤