Breathe Freely


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Raindrops are clinging to the outside window screens of my turret office space. Looking like itty-bitty bubbles, whatever is left drips to nowhere land. Falling between white window panes behind my writing desk, I wonder what happens when they plop to the ground. Do they make silent sounds that only God can hear?

A loud thunderstorm crashed over and above my house last night. The dog shook to wake me up. He hid under the safety of bed covers, fearing what might come next. Getting up to glance between wooden blinds, ancient mottled trees swayed through nature’s bit of forest land. Their long limbs bent far to the left, then further to the right. Swooning so, they nearly touched the budding ground.

That’s when I heard it. An eerie whistling sound swishing through branches on the hill. Raindrops fell fast and hard, like cold tears from heaven. I felt shaken then, much like my dog hiding under blankets. The noise reminded me of the first time I heard ‘whistling’ from my toddler’s accordion chest. Much harder for my little one to breathe out than it was for him to breathe in. A term called wheezing.

Within minutes, a rushing box of red metal on four rubber tires raced my tender treasure to the hospital where he was put in an oxygen tent. Dressed in a small cotton gown printed in teddy bears of green, he was afraid and nearly blue. Finally, he began to breathe freely. The simple act of taking a breath. Not only breathing in but breathing out. In…and…out. “A.S.T.H.M.A,” the doctor with authority, pronounced.

After a few hours in the emergency room, my baby could go home. There, I cradled him in my arms. Not wanting to let go, I delicately brushed wisps of damp curls to the side of his forehead with the tips of grateful fingers. Thanks to God, he slept peacefully then.

Breathing freely…OUT as well as IN.

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My Story of “The Little Prince”


There once was a princely babe born in the early afternoon hours of July.  The day was Arizona hot with coyotes racing into shady caves.  There, they lapped cool sandy water hidden near boulders under bats of black hanging sleepily.

The baby prince was beautifully big, with skin of olive and aquamarine eyes.  Unusual eyes, the color of the sea with waves of speckled sand.  When the infant wailed, he tossed his newborn head.  Curly locks, damp and downy to the touch framed his face.  They were silky soft, reminiscent of newborn ducklings paddling behind feathered mothers in ponds of blue.

As the calendar marched on, the prince grew to become wiser than his months and years, combined.  Far beyond any of his peers, he made everyone laugh with smiles and giggles that lit up rooms without bulbs in lamps.

Shortly after moving to the Midwest, winter came followed by an early spring.  Nature was curious that year.  A toddler of only three, the prince napped in flannels, cuddling his favorite blankie tucked beneath his chin.

Within days and weeks the little prince grew up very, very fast.  “Chronic Conditions” swept up his family’s innocence.  While wee friends played on swings or bounced balls in blacktopped streets, the little prince handed bottles of insulin to his mama, helped to measure food on a tiny scale, or watch his bigger-little brother prick his finger, squeezing a sliver of blood on a tiny shred of paper.

Before long, the prince who had grown to a nearly big four, learned how to climb a step stool in order to reach the dark green phone on the wall.  There, he was taught to push three very important numbers, 9-1-1.  Early one morning, three men in white took his sleeping brother away on a small bed that grew taller on wheels.  The bed with his brother on top went into the back of a truck with spinning red LOUD on the roof.  The prince felt little again.

That same winter, the prince woke from his bed.  “Mama, I cannot breathe,” he coughed and choked and said.  Off to the hospital where the word a.s.t.h.m.a. was spelled out.  Together with diabetes, they shared the same house.

Yes, the little prince was very, very smart.  Quickly, he learned how to use separate inhalers for different reasons.  He wasn’t afraid of the clear green mask that covered most of his face.  After putting it away, his chest didn’t hurt nor was it tight.  Now, he could breathe air out as well as breathe air in!

As the prince grew up to be a man, his life was good, his life was bad.  He felt happy, he felt sad.  He went to school to get his degree.  He bought a house and started to see.  A job, a career, what else was there for him to be?   He did not know, he did not care.  He only knew there had to be something more for him, you see.  One thing was always true, his family loved him through and through.  Still, something was missing on the path he chose. Perhaps he had taken the wrong fork in the road?

I suppose you have probably guessed the little prince above is, “My Youngest Son, My Biggest Boy,” http://wp.me/p41md8-X9   As parents, we are always here for him.  We talk or listen, shut our mouths or offer suggestions.  It’s hard to take a step back, watch him fall or feel his pain.  Much easier to view his success, see him shoot for the stars while jumping for all the rest.

This past year, things seem to have come full circle for my youngest son.  He’s picked himself up to tackle the world.  There’s been a change in him.  I’ve seen a new smile on his face with a light that shines from in to out.  And, those eyes of his?  The waves of aquamarine seas are rolling again where the speckles play with the sun.

Last evening while having dinner with a friend my cell phone rang.  Not a call, but a text for me.  Oh, let me see!  Putting the spoon of silver down to wipe my mouth with cotton white, I lifted my phone to press a glowing screen.  Bright letters on a mat of black.

Two simple words to last the whole of a lifetime.  “I’m engaged!”

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Congratulations to my youngest son together with his beautiful Bride-to-Be. 

Let me be the first to say, “Welcome to our family!”

The End

 

 

Breathe Freely


Raindrops are clinging to the outside window screens of my turret office space. Looking like itty-bitty bubbles, whatever is left drips to nowhere land, falling between white window panes behind my writing desk. I wonder, what happens when they plop to the ground. Do they make silent sounds that only God can hear?

A loud thunderstorm crashed over and above my house last night. The dog shook to wake me up. He hid under the safety of bed covers, fearing what might come next. Getting up to glance between wooden blinds, ancient mottled trees swayed through nature’s bit of forest land. Their long limbs bent far to the left, then further still to the right. Swooning so, they nearly touched the budding ground.

That’s when I heard it. An eerie whistling sound swishing through branches on the hill. Raindrops fell fast and hard, like cold tears from heaven. I felt shaken then, much like my dog hiding under blankets. The noise reminded me of the first time I heard ‘whistling’ from my toddler’s accordion chest. It was much harder for my little one to breathe out than it was for him to breathe in. A term called, wheezing.

Within minutes, a rushing box of red metal on four rubber tires raced my tender treasure to the hospital where he was put in an oxygen tent, dressed in a small cotton gown printed in teddy bears of green. Afraid and nearly blue, he was only two. Finally, he began to breathe! Easier now, in…and…out. “A.S.T.H.M.A,” the doctor with authority, pronounced.

After a few hours in the emergency room, my baby could go home. There, I cradled him in my arms. Not wanting to let go, I delicately brushed wisps of damp curls to the side of his forehead with the tips of grateful fingers. Thanks to God, he slept peacefully then.

Breathing freely…OUT as well as IN.

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Baseball Season


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

Jay Justin Baseball1

 

 

Justin-Age 7, First Year                               Jayson-Age 9

Jay Justin Baseball2 Jay Justin Baseball3

 

Jay Justin Baseball4  Jayson–Age 16, Freshman High School

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where There’s Smoke, There’s Fire


Most of yesterday, well into the evening, our fireplace was kept lit by pressing a red remote control button near my hand.  My fuzzy slippered feet were propped up on the sofa where my computer sat upon my lap.  There, I wrote words by the light of flickering flames.  Times have changed though often it’s for the better.

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