21 years ago, you two traipsed into Columbia St. Mary’s and a few hours and c-section later, there I was.
Sugarland said, “dear mom and dad, please send money. I’m so broke and it ain’t funny” but you really showed her parents.
The last thing I ever imagined when we loaded up the car with half my belongings and a fridge that, to be quite frank, had no interest in fitting in the car… was that I’d ever come back home.
I spent 18 years of my life fighting to leave. Fighting to make my own rules and be my own person.
And that’s what I did. I pushed to have a job that would sustain me with my own apartment. I struggled living with complete strangers, because I was an adult and there was no reason to move back home for the summer.
And then, you helped me drive halfway across the country.
You equipped me with a car. The skills to excel in school and work and anything else I put my mind to. The resources to make my own doctors appointments and manage my own money.
And, we all knew that this was it. I had my whole life ahead of me, and it didn’t involve being anywhere near Charleston, SC.
So you flew home.
I think my sister went insane, because you wouldn’t text me to ask me how things were going, you’d call her instead. You wanted to give me my space, but a mom of 40 years, didn’t really know what to do.
But, as the months went by, it became painfully evident that I was struggling. Yes I had a job and a healthy income, but there I was living completely alone. I know you had to wonder if I was eating enough. I know you’d question if I truly managed to get to school and work like I planned. You probably lost a lot of sleep when you knew I’d probably taken my medication and chosen to drive where I needed to go despite that.
You did what you could from afar. You didn’t get mad at me when I called back a few hours after angrily hanging up on you. You dug up the money to allow me to continue my massage therapy.
After months of struggling to even get out of bed and go on with my job, you were there for me when I had to make that final call saying I couldn’t go into work. Ever again. And then you admitted that you two would drive up and come get me and just bring me home.
Then the upstairs hallway got closed in. You built a soundproof wall. You put on a door. You emptied the two bedrooms and cleared the closets.
And then you drove for 3 days, knowing day 4 would be spent loading a trailer, and you’d turn around and drive home for 3 more days, this time pulling a heavy trailer.
It shouldn’t be so hard to find the words, but it is. Because “thank you” could never be enough.
So thank you and so much more.
Because I don’t think I could ever understand how many tears probably fell, knowing how much pain your child was in, and knowing there wasn’t a lot you could do.
But, you’ve done so much. And the pain may be ever so present. But I see what you’ve done.
I see you struggling to know what to grab from the grocery store so that I’ll be able to eat what I want. I saw you struggle to grasp the whole “gluten free” disaster we almost had. And then I saw you researching ideas. I saw you cooking things that were new. And when you forget to even write down the random craving for flavor blasted goldfish on the grocery list, know that it’s okay.
I see you wanting to not encroach or make the pain worse. I see you questioning whether it’s a morning where I’m feeling up to any sort of conversation. I see you hesitating to ask me questions that may be bothersome or may require an effort on my part that I’m not up to.
I see you sitting at your desk. Crunching your numbers. Crunching trying to figure out where money will come from. Crunching trying to find all the information for this new incredibly complicated insurance application. Crunching because you crunched too much and your brain just gave up.
I could never pull together all that information. I mean, I lost it when I got a letter from Social Security saying I hadn’t qualified. But I stopped reading. You took the time to realize it was regarding SSI, and not disability.
I see how much you have taken upon yourself. To learn. To research. To find ways to understand. I see the papers slid under my door that may have something new about migraines.
Most importantly I know you can feel my pain. I know that you aren’t sleeping at night. I know that this is exhausting.
And I know that I haven’t been the best at showing my gratitude.
For every morning you bring breakfast upstairs, because it’s too bright for me to go downstairs.
For every time you have questions, and my pain takes over and I respond much meaner than intended.
For every time we butt heads about how my money is being spent. Or how I’m using my time. Or how I’m not communicating.
This weekend has been hard. Finding out that my birthday would be spent doing more health insurance shit, was less than exciting. Canceling brunch plans and not wanting to reschedule, because what’s the point… I probably won’t feel good. Then canceling on a pumpkin patch, because god forbid a storm wanted to roll through and screw with the barometric pressure. And then getting exciting to see Nicholas Sparks, only to feel as awful as normal and know that the lights and the long drive and the lines to meet him would be a huge strain. So I didn’t go.
Knowing that tomorrow I’ll get up, much too early. Because that’s when its best to get to base and not get stuck waiting a long time to get my ID. And then knowing Tuesday will be the same, and we’ll be going to the doctors to acknowledge that this medicine has done nothing.
But, you’ll be by my side. And that is what means the most to me.
So many people are so incredibly alone. And I don’t have to be.
I wish you didn’t have to share my pain. I wish you weren’t spending your retirement caring for me. I wish you didn’t have to calculate the impact of your actions.
And I wish one day, I’ll be in Sugarland’s position letting you know that I’ll send money, because I’ll be so rich that it isn’t funny.
But, until that day, I’ll be eternally grateful.
So don’t question if you can do more. Don’t feel as if you’ve failed in some way. You are more than enough, and everything you do is much more than I’d ever ask for.