The Days of Parenting

I’ve just put the boys to bed and I’m sitting here watching Gilmore Girls and drinking a margarita. Today was a good day. The tantrums were few, the laughs were many. A day filled with swim lessons and slime. Visits with good friends and perfect pool weather. Shopping for bike helmets and trampoline jumping. I take it back…today was a great day.

The past year has been filled with many not so good days. I have spent most of my time just going through the motions. Surviving. Wake up, smile, breakfast, lunch, dinner. Is it bed time? Please tell me its bed time. I did my best to do the “right” things for my boys. Playground, playdates, let’s go see the new movie. I really did try. But did I enjoy it? If I’m honest, very little. I remember so many times I would watch my husband play with my boys and see the sheer joy of it. I’m ashamed to say the feeling I felt most was jealousy. Gratitude that he is the father he is. That he was picking up my slack. Pure, unadulterated love for the man I married and the children I carried. But in the deepest, darkest parts of my heart I was green with envy. Why couldn’t I enjoy things the same way? Why did the simple frustrations of dealing with little humans wear on me that it didn’t seem to wear on my friends? Why wasn’t I enjoying these moments that I almost didn’t get to have? I was always acutely aware of how I “should” be feeling and how actually was. I think I did a decent job of disguising it. I hope I did.

After months of literally getting sick about every other week my doctor referred me to the ENT he trusted most. She told me she didn’t want to perform a tonsillectomy on me unless it was truly necessary. That the recovery was much harder for adults. It would be very rough. I told her that it couldn’t be much worse than living the way I already was. She consented. The pathology report came back showing chronic tonsillitis and a bacteria called actinomyces. My pulmonologist was concerned. This bacteria is part of our normal oral flora but for someone with a compromised immune system it can spread and wreak havoc. I saw the same infectious disease doctor that treated me in the hospital. Two months of antibiotics prescribed. A chest CT was scheduled. Results came back showing a small nodule in my right lung. Tiny, really. 4-5mm. Nothing to be concerned about. Except that it was new. Except that I’ve had a chronic cough for a long, long time. Now it would be three months antibiotics and a repeat chest CT. We’ll go from there. My hopes of having another child have been delayed.

I shed a few tears. I prayed a lot. I asked Him when all of this would be over. I told my doctor I must be allowed a drink here and there. I can’t have no baby and no alcohol if he would like me to retain my sanity. He agreed. It is a frustrating setback. But the amazing thing is that I’m feeling better. Like I am slowly waking up. That I’m making my way through the fog. Sometimes when I wake up I actually feel refreshed. My cough is not as frequent. There are moments when I feel like my old self. My family and friends are starting to notice.

And finally I’m allowing myself some grace. It was not until I started to feel better that I realized just how awful I have felt. I mean, I had a pretty good idea but I never allowed myself to wallow. I was simply existing. My body and mind were always working. Always trying to heal. No, I was not the best mom that I could have been. But I tried. I think they knew I was trying. I hope that they will not remember me at my worst. And thankfully, I have the rest of my life to make it up to them. I have many more years to enjoy them. They make it pretty easy to do.

6 thoughts on “The Days of Parenting

  1. Hello Audrey. I saw the article about you and your beautiful family on the beginning of the golf tournament on today (July 3, 2016). I was interested in watching the real life experiences of the players! My husband and I have watch Duffner for a long while. He went to Auburn University as well as my husband, although my husband graduated 49 years ago! Anyway, I was very interested in your illness being from use of “feminine products”. That is something I have thought for a long, long time. I was never able to wear them and often wondered if they had caused me to have certain ailments similar to what you had. This is proof enough for me to be one to say that women should not use them regardless! I have 3 grand daughters that will all be the age to use these products and I will try and insist that they not use them. I hope that I can get their Mom’s to real this article you have written. Thank you for your honesty in plain and simple words. Today everyone seems to use the technical names and words that seem to go over people’s heads! I pray that you will continue to get better and gain your strength back. Continue to trust in the Lord and he will see you through. Good luck to you husband and I will begin to follow him like I do Duffner!

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  2. you are an amazing mom and wife and friend! You give more of yourself than most who have never dealt with the physical sickness you have. Without doubt you give 200% all the time..

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  3. Audrey, I am a sepsis survivor as well. I lost a lung as s result. I am sooo thankful that I finally found written words on exactly how I feel. You put it clearly in writing. I cherish the moments I feel normal. I am 60. Was let go from my job while in the hospital. Was not eligible for FMLA. Now I am a 60 year old looking for work. Trust me age discrimination does exist and I cannot blame companies but as I suffer as you the financial aspect only amplifies the darkness. Thank you so much for articulating how I and mostly sure how other survivors feel. Best regards, Rich

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    • Rich, I am so sorry you are in the position of looking for another job as you are recovering. Have you looked into our #LEISHline? I don’t know how long ago you got sick but if it was in the last year please apply! Anyhow, thank you for sharing your story. I’ll add you to my prayers

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