This is Rebecca Frech’s latest guest post here on CMR. It’s beautiful.
The rain poured off my roof this afternoon, and the pea-sized hail clattered on our patio. The tornado sirens wailed to life, quieted down, and then howled again. My Oklahoma children came screaming down the stairs and dashing in my general direction.
“Where is the tornado?” my 10 year old asked with barely consoled terror. He knows tornadoes, they all do. A lifetime in Oklahoma has taught them that fear.
I glanced up from folding laundry to see the weather maps showing the storms to be almost an hour away from us. “Calm down,” I told them. “There is no need to panic. This is just rain and tiny hail. When it’s time to panic, I’ll tell you.”
My eldest boys stared at my face for a few heartbeats and then visibly relaxed.
“You’re not worried?” the 12 year old queried.
“Not yet. I’ll tell you when I am.”
“Okay,” the 10 year old said, then turned to the younger ones and pronounced, “Mom’s not scared and I trust her, so I’m not scared either,” and they all ran off to play.
I envied them in that moment, the kind of gut clenching envy that makes you want to cry. The worry is the hardest part about having a child who is chronically ill. (Our 7 year old was recently diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder.) I no longer know what the warning signs look like, and I don’t know when to panic.
She lives in non-stop pain and with constant nausea, but her doctors say that is to be expected for her now. When she starts to walk, she performs a strange tragic dance of hopping and limping with a wild arm-flap for balance. It’s awful to watch, but is a part of our new normal. Aches and complaints, nausea and vomiting are all supposed to be a regular accepted thing; but they set off all the alarms in my mom-brain. When the siren doesn’t stop blaring, when do you start to panic and when do you know to stop? When normal looks awful, when do you run for help?
What I am missing is wisdom born out of experience. I don’t fear the rain and hail because 17 years in Oklahoma taught me to read the maps. All I need is to learn to read the signs my daughter is placing in front of me, but I don’t know how to even begin to decipher them. All of this uncertainty is leaving me with an irrational fear of the next breath, the next minute, and the next tragedy.
I need to relearn how to trust. I need to follow the examples of my children. My own little ones came to me because I’m the person in charge and they know how I adore them. Of course I do, I’m their mom. I keep thinking that I need that person, the one who knows what’s going on with my baby. I have one, so why do I keep forgetting to turn to Him? How many times must I learn to trust? How often must I be reminded to turn to my Father who loves me and to lay my fears into His all-powerful hands? I need to just trust Him to let me know when to panic, when to fear, and when to just be calm in the whirling of the storm.
Note: Please remember to visit Rebecca’s blog.