He left me.

“Let’s go for a run.”

Oh, those words sounded horrible. Why would I want to go for a run? It’s a Saturday morning, I’ve got my coffee in hand, and my cozy pajama pants still on.

“Come on. When else will we have a chance to go together?”

He was right. Papo was here to stay home with the kids. We wouldn’t have another opportunity like this again for a while.

“But I don’t run as fast as you,” I said. Lately Ian’s been running ten and a half minute miles. I don’t even think I can get my tennis shoes tied that fast.

“That’s okay. I’ll run with you so we can stay together.”

I had no other excuses. What else can you say to the double amputee asking you to go for a run with him? How is it possible that he is the one motivated and you (with both legs and all your fingers aren’t?)

“Okay,” I said.

And off we went. Ian, looking cool in his curvy fake legs, and me, wobbling along trying to keep up. We jogged really slowly, yet Ian never complained about my pace. My lungs struggled for air, but I acted like I could go on forever (until I couldn’t, of course.)

After a mile and a half I realized I wasn’t going to make it to three like I’d originally thought. I stopped.

“Why don’t you go ahead on your own and jog faster? I bet you can do two laps by the time I’m done walking one. We can meet up and finish together.”

So he left me. I watched him as he jogged away, farther and farther each minute. I, relieved that I didn’t have to keep up anymore, slowed my pace and my breathing and started to enjoy just being outside. It was windy and cool, but somehow I also felt the sun’s warmth. I looked around at all the beauty around me… the leaves in different shades, the clear sky, and the crisp, beautiful weather. I was grateful. Just two days after Thanksgiving I’m still pondering all that I have to be grateful for.

Today, during my “run” with Ian, I realized how grateful I am for him. For his never-ending great attitude. For his willingness to encourage me. And for his determination to thrive.

When I finished walking my lap I sat on the curb and waited for Ian. A few minutes later I could see him jogging to me. He looked strong and confident. I pulled out my phone to take his picture.

“Come on! Let’s go!” he said to me. “You can do this!”

Yes, the double amputee was encouraging ME. He wanted me to get up and join him. I was tired, but I did as he asked. We ran the last quarter of a mile together.

“See? That was fun!” he said when we got to our mailbox. “Thanks for going with me.”

Thank YOU for pushing ME, Ian. Thank you for your spirit. Thank you that you never quit. THAT, dear friends, is something I’m thankful for every day. ūüôā

if you’re grossed out by poop, stop reading now.

I’m sorry you have to clean up after me, Mommy.

 

Since having kids, my tolerance for poop has increased quite a bit. I used to be grossed out very easily, but when Emma was born that changed. I learned I could leave my dinner on the table, go change her poopy diaper, and come back minutes later to finish my meal. No big deal.

The poop incidents have only worsened over the years. Yesterday’s was the most memorable yet.

We were at one of the kids’ schools (I won’t say which school or which boy to protect him¬†from embarrassment) for their Thanksgiving feast… I’ll just lovingly refer to him as “the boy.”

The boy decided he had to go to the bathroom. I’d already taken the kids to the bathroom a while before that, so I asked Ian if he would mind taking him. “The boy,” however, insisted that he wanted ME to take him. So I did.

We found a boys bathroom and I let him go in. I made sure there was no one else in there and stood by the door, holding it slightly open.

“You okay in there?” I asked.

“Uh oh. No, Mommy. I pooped on the floor.”

“What?” I needed clarification.

“I thought I had a toot but poop came out.”

Dear Lord. What should I do? This is a boys’ bathroom. I guess I’ll have to go in there and help him.
 

He was in a stall with the door locked. I peeked through the crack and saw him sitting on the toilet. His legs hanging, and gross green poop on the floor under him.

Dear God. This cannot be happening. 
 

“Let me in. You’re going to have to unlock the door, buddy.”

“Why don’t you just go under, Mommy?”

“Umm. No, I’m not going under the door. You have to unlock it for me. BE REALLY REALLY CAREFUL. DO NOT STEP IN THE POOP.”

I heard his little boots land on the floor and he unlocked the stall door.

Before I could tell him not to, he climbed back on the toilet. Upon further inspection I saw there there was poop all over. On the toilet seat, in his underwear, running down his legs, and of course, the floor. I just wanted to cry.

“I’m sorry you have to clean up after me, Mommy.”

Oh, dear boy. I’m sorry this happened to you.
 

“It”s okay. We’ll get you cleaned up. This isn’t a big deal.” I hoped it sounded convincing.

As we were washing our hands (fifty times) he asked, “Is it hard being a mommy?”

“Well, sometimes. Sometimes I have to be up all night when one of you is sick and throwing up all night. Or when one of you poops all over yourselves and the floor..”

“Oh, like I just did!”

“Yep. Like you just did. It can be hard, but I love being a mommy. I love being¬†YOUR mommy.”

“I love you, Mama.”

“Love you, too, buddy.”

I’ll spare you more gross details. I’ll just say that twenty minutes later we finally came out of the bathroom. The boy’s underwear went in the trashcan. There was no way I was taking those suckers home. My spirit was both crushed from cleaning up human feces¬†and proud because my boy¬†seemed to take¬†notice of something I did for him¬†and appreciated it.

As we were leaving the school, my dear friend Jill reminded me that I’d forgotten some of the kids’ ¬†artwork. I lovingly told her I didn’t really care to go back for it.¬†I just wanted to get home after the whole poop incident.

I replied, “I’m not winning any Mom of the Year Awards this year, friend. I’ll get it some other time.”

Oh, the joys of motherhood. I wrote this so I don’t forget it. The days are long, but the years are short. I’m ready for the poop incidents to be over. ūüôā

 

 

would you read it?

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I should be writing words toward my memoir right now. Instead, I need to admit something to myself. Ever since this whole thing started with Ian getting sick, I have not stopped to analyze how it affects ME. I didn’t think it was okay to think about me. After all, I’m not the one this happened to. Ian should be the one who can grieve. Not me. This didn’t happen to me.

So,¬†I feel is guilt. I feel guilty because he went through it instead of me. Guilty because he is the one without fingers and feet. He is the one who can’t get out of bed without his fake legs every morning. He is the one who has to figure out how to do things in a new way. Not me.

But, let me tell you a little secret. IAN IS JUST FINE. He is great, actually. He does not struggle. He is now so used to this new life of his it’s almost like breathing. IAN DOESN’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT ANYMORE.

Then there’s me. I’m too scared to focus on myself and my feelings because it might mean I’m being selfish. I have not grieved the loss of my husband’s fingers and feet because it didn’t happen to me. Why should I be sad about it? HE should be sad about it. THIS ISN’T ABOUT ME. Well, last night I realized that maybe it is. This is about me, too. Maybe THAT’S what I’m supposed to write about.

When I first started writing the book I focused on the events of what happened. I wanted to share details of what happened on what day, who was there, what medications were given, etc. I stated¬†facts. Last night’s realization, however,¬†means I have to START ALL OVER.

This book should be about how this experience has CHANGED ME. I need to write about the many lessons God has taught me. People need to know what an awful selfish person I was before all this. Other moms might relate to how controlling and critical I used to be. And lastly, should I write about the fear that consumed my life? The fear and anxiety of what would happen to my husband or kids without me? Would anyone relate to my panic attacks and episodes of depression?

Please tell me this. WOULD YOU READ IT? WOULD YOU READ IT IF IT WERE ABOUT ME AND NOT IAN?

 

I failed.

Yes, I failed the 31 days of writing challenge. I did not write everyday like I intended to. Life just happened and I’d forget… Or I’d just be too tired at the end of the day. There’s always next year I suppose.

I’m not as disappointed as I thought I’d be. Although I didn’t write everyday, I still wrote more than I’ve written in a long time. And I really enjoyed it. I wrote 21 days, which is technically a 68%.

I haven’t learned my lesson though. I’m still trying to meet these crazy goals. Now I’ve embarked on another challenge, NaNoWriMo. And I’m MORE excited about this one. I expect to have my memoir finished by the end of this month. So far I’ve written 2745 of my goal of 50,000 words. Yikes!

Please ask me about it. ASK ME HOW MANY WORDS I’VE WRITTEN. I’d appreciate your accountability.

Love you all!