The Day I Was Able to Protect My Son


It was a beautiful, sunny day in North Florida. The skies were clear, the temperature was a cool 45 degrees and we were on our way to the state park to learn about the Spanish versus the French and how they settled at Ft. Caroline. Our park ranger, Herb, was an amazing storyteller engaging all the kids on the field trip about the history of our amazing state.

I felt pure joy taking in the sunshine, filling my mind with knowledge and spending time with my son in nature away from syringes, drains, bags and doctors. It felt like a fairytale, but then my phone rang. I recognized the number instantly.

I am a worrier; it’s not my best trait but at times, it can serve me well. I try not to ever miss an incoming doctor’s phone call. If for some rare reason I do miss a doctor’s call, I am texting the doctor back immediately or calling the office obsessively. Yes. I am “That Mom.” However, something came across me this day when my phone rang. I stared at my phone looking at the incoming call from the doctor’s office and I debated as to whether I wanted to answer it. Why? What had happened to me? It was as if my fingers had frozen and could not slide the bar across my phone screen to answer the call to say hello.

Hindsight is a gift and makes things clear in time. What happened to me was I needed a break, a day to take in God’s beautiful world and healing graces. I needed a day to dry out the rainy days to bask in one glorious sunny day. I needed a day to see my son be a child and play free of fear and worry of what the next hour might bring. It was a perfect day until the phone rang.

What did I do, some might wonder? I did what each of you parents on this same exhausting journey would do: I answered the phone. Why? Because we rise above and we know we must take care of our children. We search for that inner strength when our perfect day has been interrupted. Perfect days don’t exist like we hoped and dreamed they would.

“Hello.”

“Hi Lauren, It’s Dr. R… I needed to let you know that the medication we are using is not working for…”

The rest of the conversation needs no explanation, as any mom or dad on a similar journey can fill in their own version of an ending to the phone call.

And so I hung up. I walked for a second, sad that we continue a vicious cycle. I did not tell my son about the phone call because in the grand scheme of our journey, this was not a big deal, I guess, or was it? I don’t know anymore. I’m desensitized and so unless it’s really bad, so I am mostly non-receptive these days to redundant news. Layers build and I melt. They rebuild again. I melt again. It’s a cycle. Choosing a photo filter to view my life through each day becomes my motto. Clear? Blurry? Process? Transfer? Fade? Or None?

People often tell my husband and I that we are strong. They tell our sons they are strong—both sons—the one carrying the direct load and the one carrying the indirect load. We are not stronger than anyone else in this world. We soldier through life as anyone does ready for battle to take care of their family and loved ones. We do rejoice as often as we hurt. We become numb to bad news, but never numb to the care and love from those who surround us.

Six weeks have passed since I initially wrote the beginning of this blog. I remember that phone call well, because at the sunset of that North Florida day, it did end up being a big deal.

In the end though, the day was perfect in my son’s memory. We dealt with the news accordingly. What my son remembers is a perfect day with his friends exploring Florida history, Herb’s kindness, running around, having a picnic, climbing trees and being a child. There are times when I can’t protect my son from his suffering, but this one day, I could.

Because his day was filled with childhood perfection, my day is now remembered as perfection, too. Perhaps it’s time not to live for finding a perfect day, but for finding the perfect in each day.

This post originally appeared on HOPE.

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