Monday, June 4, 2018

Flip-flops, surgeries, and summertime.

Summer was always my favorite season growing up. I love chlorine and watermelon. I love Vacation Bible Schools -- and went to almost ALL the ones in my home town! I love going to the library for summer reading club. And riding my bike a million miles a day. I love summer camp and flip-flops and home-made ice cream. I just adore summer.

But the triplets were three the first time a summer surgery was required. Beautiful friends rushed in and cared for Mason and Claire while I stayed in the hospital with Benjamin. I missed sending them off to their first Vacation Bible School but was thrilled when they had a blast.

I had prepared for the summer of the cast. I bought a little pool for Mason and Claire to hang out in in our backyard and a little fishing pole for Benjamin to "fish" for them from the dry sidelines. We heard Arthur -- the kids absolute favorite character on TV -- was coming to the local library and Wade made sure we could take the recovering Benjamin, with Mason and Claire to meet him! (Only Benjamin wanted near the admittedly HUGE Arthur.)

It never warmed up enough to use the little pool -- or the fishing pole -- but we learned a valuable lesson that summer. We learned that hunkering down and hanging out in our home, together, while one of us recovered from surgery was not the worst thing. We learned we enjoyed time together and we learned that a good popsicle cured a lot of woes.

It was a valuable lesson. Hugely valuable. Over the next 15 years, we would have more surgery summers than not.

I am not going to pretend we went into each surgery summer with a good attitude -- longing for time with just us gathered in our home (over a myriad of states, I should mention.). Usually, we -- and by we, I mainly mean me -- pouted, and dreaded, and fretted. Usually, we grieved the loss of free-spirit summers, of fun and traveling and hanging with friends. 

And yet, somehow, some of my favorite family memories are of those seasons of togetherness, of working through the tough, hard, painful. 

Because sometimes, we you have to be super intentional to have fun in the hard stuff -- check out this example of our  fun recovery. And being intentional means you don't miss any of the moments, any of the milestones (Mason's first big smile after his surgery at 13 still makes my heart soar!), or take any of the good for granted.

Over those surgery summers, we learned about togetherness. We learned the value of a good cookie/muffin/cake recipe (Claire, Cate and I tend to bake when we are emotional!). We learned what it means to serve each other as a family.

And learned how amazing Benjamin and Mason are and the strength of each of them as they faced unbelievable challenges and yet overcame. Every. Single. Time.

Summer remains my favorite. I still love watermelon and chlorine and some cute flip-flops. And now, summer means savoring the times with those I love the most, creating memories that we will savor for a lifetime, even if they are colored by surgeries, casts, and intensive physical therapy. Strength of character seems to smell like chlorine, mixed with a few tears.

Carol - The Blessings Counter


jaymie said...

This was good for me to read. The surgery we talked to wade about is coming up this fall. And I am totally dreading it. But it’s nice to know that you look back on these hard times with fondness.