I blog a lot about Kendall. Within those posts, I reference the other girls. Ben gets the occasional shoutout as the lone male trying to stay in control of this crazy herd. But I’m often asked how THEY are doing, how do THEY all handle this.
And to be honest – that is part of what amazes me about all of them. They just keep on keepin on like we do. Failure is not an option in this household. sure we all have bad days. LOTS and LOTS of stuff gets dropped off the to-do list. My housekeeping skills leave much to be desired on a good day – and on weeks when kendall is acting up, fuhgedda-bout-it. Our basement is a literal land mine of toys, playdoh, clothes, and rotated bedding. And medical supplies. I rarely plan out and cook healthy meals. I wear a lot of sweatpants and running shoes and I do my hair/makeup maybe once a week if i have to be somewhere public with people I know. My picture may or may not be featured on a People of Walmart type website. I’m telling you all this because I need you to know – I am not super mom. I do not have it all together. (People who know me in real life are laughing out loud right now because they know just how very true this statement is!)
But what I DO keep together, somehow, by the Grace of God and a lot of help and support – is my family.
That is not all me.
It is because they are all amazing individuals, with kind understanding hearts who can forgive their wife/mommy for all her shortcomings trying to be everything to everyone. In the next few posts, i’m going to try to tell you more about them. Because they ARE me. They are the reason I am who I am.
First – my husband. My rock. My best friend. He travels. A lot. Almost every week from Tuesday through Friday. I think he does this partially because it’s his job, and partially because it’s the only way he can stay sane. See Ben and I – we’re polar opposites. He moved here to IL a month before Kealey and I did, and he picked out and bought this house without me having ever seen it. And you know why he liked it??? BECAUSE IT WAS STARK BUILDER WHITE. Sterile. Cold. CLEAN. At least to him. I moved here and thought – there is no way on God’s green earth that white tile floor is ever going to stay clean….(and to this day it is still my archnemesis.) Ben likes order, structure, predictability. Being on time for Ben means being ten minutes early. I prefer chaos, creativity, go-with-the-flow and let the wind take you where you’re going. Surprise me. Being on time for me is anytime before the important stuff is over. To illustrate how the two of us could have possibly ever fallen in love – I had a concussion the night ben met me. I was extremely low-key compared to my usual spazzoid self, and THAT is what he thought he was getting in this deal.
Go ahead and pick yourself up off the floor from laughing now. Because as you can see – he got totally duped.
But he’s stuck around anyways.
He is the best daddy ever, really. Once he finally learned that you cannot play circus acts and tag through the house in an effort to “wear a toddler out” right before bedtime, and how to put on tights on little wriggly baby girls, and how to put a hair binder in a ponytail – he’s an awesome dad. He has a unique relationship with each of his girls, and they all love getting to have special daddy dates, even if its just to the grocery store. He is the reason they stay strong through Kendall’s hospitalizations. He holds his own emotions in check, puts on his game face, and gets them from point A to point B as if its the most normal thing in the world to have your mom and sister in the hospital. He has learned how to drop an NG tube, how to troubleshoot a possessed IV pump, how to rig makeshift IV poles, and how to build a wheelchair ramp. He does all of this while holding down a stressful job with the same company for almost 20 years. He has sat in ER rooms taking phone calls from whiney grown men wanting to complain about trivial matters while waiting for the results of labwork on his very sick daughter.
I have seen him stress over the bills piled up that need to be paid, and an hour later at the gas pump go swipe our debit card in the machine to allow a single mom crying in her car to fill up her own car. I have seen his faith hit near-non-existent lows, and I have watched his faith be rebuilt. I have watched him grow from a cocky young kid, ready to take on the world, into an amazing man who wants nothing more than to see all four of his beautiful daughters grow up to live amazing lives. I’ve seen him learn how dance competitions work, and be a huge support to his beautiful dancers.
And i’ve watched him break down as a doctor explained that our baby needed to be intubated and paralyzed in an effort to save her life. I’ve seen him overcome his own fears and go stand in a doorway watching as teams of doctors worked on his poor baby girl, trying desperately to keep her heart beating and her lungs moving air, so he could tell me she was still ok. In times when my own hand shakes and I cannot sign the consent forms for surgery, cannot put my name down agreeing that they can cut into my baby again, he has taken the pen from me and signed his name.
We drive each other insane most of the time, but somehow, we come together and look in amazement on how we’ve survived another week, another year, another hit, and we are strengthened. We do not get to spend nearly enough time together – but it makes our time that much more precious.
I will never forget the night we brought Kendall home from the hospital after her first really big scare/hospital stay. We had had so much new information thrown at us – and we brought home a very sick baby, far different from the one who had been rushed there by ambulance a few weeks before. We had had to learn a LOT of medical stuff in a very short period of time, and they sent a nurse out to our house that first night home. She sat us down to go through all the training paperwork with us and she looked at us both – scared crapless sitting together on one side of the table while she sat on the other side – and she put the papers down and she said “i think you guys are gonna make it. most couples who have a child like your daughter will end up divorced in the first five years. 95% of couples break up in that first year.” Ben and I both turned to each other and said “not us. we will beat that statistic.” Sometimes I think it is only our stubborn and competitive natures that has kept us together – we gotta hit that five year mark!!!
I know it is not easy for him. But he has stuck with it, stuck with us, and is in it for the long haul. I am amazed, humbled and blessed by him every day.
As to the other girls – I’ve talked about their individual spirits before, a little bit. But I want to devote a post just to them.
Stick – love you longtime.