My dreams are often like a drifting boat on a charcoal sea. A lifeline is attached, teasing me. While treading water my arms reach out as far as they can go. Far, far out. Farther still. Spitting water, I struggle while grasping at nothing. Is it the dream or the lifeline that calls out to me? Then, with one more wave washing over, I’m under. When I surface, my dream together with the boat has disappeared…..
Baseball Season! The time of year when Little League games will soon begin! I remember my husband buckling seatbelts around waists of toothless grins before closing the door to our minivan. It was “Sign-Up Day,” at our county Athletic Association.
I’d like to say that playing sports isn’t any different for children living with chronic conditions. When my own kids were diagnosed, that was my hope. Could it be true? No, I was being defiant. Wanting my sons to run bases without worry. Hoping the knowledge in my head wouldn’t break my heart.
In a small building on the busiest street in town, folding tables were set in a room of peeling paint. At first glance, it looked as though a country wedding was about to begin. Instead, there was a cardboard box of printed paper surrounded by an unspoken order. Tiny boxes needed be checked under fluorescent lights of bright white. Names and addresses and ages too, were to be added in lines of blue.
Days later, an official looking letter arrived. Like the first day of school, it listed an assigned teacher (coach) together with a classroom (team). My boys delighted in this. Especially the name of their teams! Raptors, Thunder, or Boys of Wonder? It didn’t matter. A Home Run had already been hit within their imaginations….
That first season started only weeks after my oldest was diagnosed with diabetes. Mothers and others covered their mouths, back then. They whispered behind my back, “Was it possible to play with his condition,” someone asked? Yes, my son could play baseball! I would figure out a way. He was no different from any other little boy…..Besides, he was good with the ball and a quick runner. He could steal bases faster than any other six-year-old on his team. His coaches nicknamed him, “Jet.” Once he started running, he didn’t stop. Two years before, Forrest Gump!
I’m not going to lie. It wasn’t always easy. Adrenalin made my boy’s blood sugar drop like the pitcher’s ball at home plate. Sometimes, I’d dash off to the dug-out to prick his finger, checking a single drop of blood to see if his number was “low.” If so, he’d drink a can of juice or eat some food brought from home. Sometimes both. Then off he’d go, out into the field of green to play and run and have some fun.
My youngest son who was diagnosed with asthma, had obstacles too, with sports. Exercise was a huge asthma trigger for him. He used a preventive inhaler before each game. Even at a young age, he was still a big little guy who slammed the ball far into the field. After running around all three bases, he often had to sit out for an inning or more. Holding his chest, he’d gasp for breath. Deeply, he’d inhale white powdered medicine from his rescue inhaler. It was hard for him to sit on the bench while his friends played a game that he loved. Harder still not to breathe….
God taught me many lessons during the years my kids played baseball. After all, I lived at the ball park from the first game in spring until the end of summer. In turn, both of my children learned lessons too. Living with a chronic condition didn’t stop them from pursuing what they wanted in life. No matter what, they could always try something new. Together, they played sports of all kinds. Somehow, they found a way. First and foremost, they were kids who happened to live with……….whatever.
If your child lives with a chronic condition, do whatever it takes to make their dreams come true. Ask for help, pray to God and wish upon a star. If you believe in their dreams, they will too.
Jayson Gosselin–Age 6 First Year of Little League
Justin-Age 7, First Year Jayson-Age 9
Early last evening the sky began to open. Dry snow began to sprinkle down from heaven above. It fell loose and landed randomly. White powder reminded me of the sugar I used to watch my grandmother shake from a round sifter she kept in a metal kitchen drawer. It was made of silver wire with a wooden handle painted in red.
My grandmother shook the ‘snow’ over stencils in the shape of a half-moon or triple sets of stars placed on top of a chocolate cake or brownies made from scratch. Nearby, in her white porcelain sink floated used mixing bowls in colors of yellow, green and pink.
Yesterday, I’ll admit to feeling a little blue when the snow began to spill. After all, it is nearly the end of March. It seems as though God has put a temporary lid on our usual box of seasons here. The spring that sprung only days ago is once again hidden underground. For now….
Enchanting patterns fell to resting places atop the very tips of landscaped bushes surrounding my home. Like miniature stars. Still, I took them to be a sign of spring. They were clusters that looked like, Queen Anne’s Lace. The same flowers seen in fields of whispering wheat or near the sides of bicycle roads. When I was a child they grew wild behind my grandmother’s green garage. If snow hadn’t showered yesterday, I wouldn’t be thinking of my grandmother’s kitchen stencils or chocolate cake today.
Warm memories bursting forth through cold tufts of snow. Spring has sprung after all.
God’s way to let me know…..
Sometimes I forget how lucky I am. Maybe I just take it for granted. Yes, my grown children live with chronic conditions. No, I do not know what tomorrow may bring. As a mother, I will forever remember the days of yesterday, when technology and medicine was far behind what it is today. Life was a blink away from a door that scared me so. Instead, I slammed it shut so I would never know.
From the day my children were diagnosed, I remember saying to them, “Be thankful for what you have, it could always be much worse.” My boys were only three and six, back then. Before I knew it, they grew from toddlers into teens, morphing into young men. A dozen words that could have been a fortune cookie message ended up leaving a billboard imprint on their lives.
I was reminded of that time in my life last weekend while visiting the zoo. It was a warm and sunny day here in St. Louis. After such a long and frigid winter, it felt almost balmy. Like beach weather without the sand near ocean land. The gift shop should have been selling plastic pails with shovels to match the sunny day.
At the gorilla exhibit, I saw a magnificent Silverback weighing nearly 600 pounds. He was one of the most beautiful creatures I had ever seen. Around the corner and under a tunnel of sorts, was a large Plexiglas window to view their outdoor living quarters. Children and adults alike could watch the ‘family’ who lived there climb wooden ladders, swing on ropes, dig in the dirt, or simply sit under the shade of the trees.
Directly behind the window sat a large gorilla with his head tucked under a blanket, peeking out as if to tease all who peered at him. Crowds gathered while children pushed forward to get a better look. In the very back was a young mother who pushed her son ahead, as well. I was off to the side, watching her. She was timid and shy, I could tell. Her son was a handsome young boy of about six or seven, I guessed. He wore jeans with a red cardinal baseball hoodie tied loosely around his waist. Atop his head was a snatch of sandy blonde hair. I saw them later and remember how it glowed in the light of the sun.
Like all mothers everywhere, she loved her son as much or more than any other one. She bent down to tell him so. She tried to push him several times to view the world on the other side of the plastic glass. The crowd would not let her through. Finally, an older man tried to help by making a path of sorts, enabling her to nudge her son to the front of the window. Seeing the big gorilla playing under his striped blanket delighted the child, making him smile with glee.
The young mother was happy then, standing next to her son’s wheelchair, where she brushed his sandy colored hair with the palm of her hand.
Yes, I’m lucky and my boys are too. Be thankful for what you have. There is a lesson here.
This truly is, International Day of Happiness, because I have just learned that my first submission was accepted and published in the, American Diversity Report. I am so excited! You have probably read my article here, but still, I am very proud to have something published in another venue. It has been a very long time.
It’s “International Happiness Day,” an appropriate time to share my granddaughter’s birthday celebration with you.
My husband and I picked Gracie up early that morning to give her mother, heavy with child, some extra time. Across the back wall were decorations in pink polka dots. On the table below were jars of matching confections to make children’s mouths water and grown-ups too. High on the kitchen counter, adorable chocolate covered “Cake-Pops” to match the heads of Mini-Mouse were stuck on a sticks of white.
It is a day that I have much to write about. So much that I will have to split my writing into separate posts. March is a huge birthday month in my family. Actually it begins near the end of February with the celebration of my son. Lots of Pisces living here………
My dear grand-daughter, Grace, celebrated her birthday with a perfect party last Saturday. It will take me many words to write of that day. It was filled with pleasure, pink polka dots and pure bliss. I can’t wait to share it with you. But, today is not the day. I will save it for another.
A special thanks to Shaun Gibson who Blogs at, Looking for reasoning to a complicated world, http://prayingforoneday.wordpress.com/2014/03/16/the-sunshine-award-3/. Shaun has awarded me the Sunshine Blogger Award, which I humbly accept.
The rules for accepting this lovely award are as follows:
1. Display the Award on your Blog.
2. Announce your win with a post and a link back to the Blogger who awarded you.
3. Present 10 deserving Bloggers with the Award-who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.
4. Link your awardees in your post and let them know that they are being awarded.
5. Write 10 interesting things about you.
Thank you, Shaun Gibson, for this award.
The Sunshine Blogger Award
Ten Hopefully Interesting Things About Me
1. The person who designated this award to me lives in Scotland, where my Great-Great-Grandfather was born.
2. My maiden name is, Kirk, which means Church is Scottish.
3. I have great intuition!
4. Being a Pisces, I am very drawn to water, although I get sea-sick whenever I ride in a boat unless it is going very fast.
5. I once rode a brilliant black stallion bareback, into the blue aquamarine waters off Mexico.
6. Although I’m afraid of heights, I rode in a hot-air balloon high up into the quiet dawn skies of Phoenix. It was beautiful.
7. I loved taking my boys to Walt Disney World, when they were young. It was our tradition for five years in a row. Great memories!
8. My favorite guilty pleasure is eating milk chocolate, especially unwrapping those displayed famously in the gold foil box. So hard for me to resist.
9. I once knitted myself a sweater in three different colors of yarn. I even wore it out in public. 🙂
10. My birthday is today!
The 10 Bloggers I Award the Sunshine Blogger Award to are as follows:
1. Wordsmith Desk, http://butchdean.wordpress.com/
2. Redbird’s Roost, http://birdchirp.wordpress.com/
3. One Way Healthier, http://onewayhealthier.com/
4. Happy Hippy, http://sarvjit.wordpress.com/2014/03/13/
5. Hope For Today, http://wordpress.com/read/blog/id/55950175/
6. Vincent Egoro, http://vincentegoro.wordpress.com/about/
7. Life Beyond My Window, http://lifebeyondmywindow.wordpress.com/
8. Project Light to Life, http://projectlighttolife.wordpress.com/about/
9. Big Dog Diving, http://bigdogdiving.wordpress.com/
10. Ocean of Compassion, http://gedepramascompassion.com/
Since, “Spring Ahead” arrived not long ago, the hush and ink in the wee hours of the morning is dead. Not a sight or sound can be heard anywhere. I must flick the switch of the lamp near my writing desk in order to see my keyboard waiting patiently for me. Letters and keys in black and white. What will they say today?
Because the theme of my blog is, Chronic Conditions, I must revisit it. Every now and again, my writing veers off its course. Perhaps I was walking my dog before a woodland friend crossed in front of him? Maybe, I change the topic in order to give my readers a break? Sometimes, it is more for me, I think.