It affects us all on a deeper level. On the surface you see the missed school days, the antibiotics traced along our countertops and kids that are emotional and worn down. As parents, our jobs are scary enough as is. Daily challenges that arise with raising youngsters are inevitable – toss in a few more surprise bumps in the road and some days feel impossible to beat. I know without a shadow of a doubt that things could be a heck of a lot worse for our boys – but some days, ugh, I just want to throw a temper tantrum myself.
I’ll never forget those weeks when our oldest son was 5 years old. Finding him in the bathroom with blood just pouring down his legs. The pain he would feel, and the fear in his eyes when he was so little and so confused as to why this was all happening. The nights with our middle child, rushing him to the ER because he could not catch his breath or put together words he was struggling so hard to breathe. Test after tests, blood work and scans that followed that lead to understanding what each of our boys were facing.
We have come so far over the past few years with understanding how to cope with the boys health issues. Each year we learn more, each month we have some set backs, and each day we try our best to give our boys all we can to make their days goes smoother.
The school year is the toughest. Because what may be a simple cold to one child who is sent to school turns into Owen catching it, and him missing school for an entire week or more. Breathing treatments around the clock, steroids pushed if things get worse (they usually do) and sleepless nights of wheezing and coughing. Brody’s immune system is not the strongest with his Ulcerative Colitis. And when he comes down with something, well, anything, it always takes more time to bounce back.
I started this school year SO hopeful, and here we are barely a month in and they are on their 3rd missed day. I try so hard not to feel discouraged, and worry about what others may think of their missed time. But I do feel bad that their routine is always being shuffled and their medicine routines are always being increased or changed.
We don’t talk much about the tough days. Mainly because it just straight up bums us out too. Dan and I work hard to balance it all, and enjoy every ounce of their healthy days. Some days though we argue over the simplest of things, the stress levels are high and we do all that we can to hide how flustered we feel in front of the boys.
Last night I went upstairs to check on Owen, and found his at the side of his bed, panicked because he couldn’t breath or catch his breath enough to tell me how he was. I rushed him downstairs for a breathing treatment and his steroids (which are always the last straw). It’s a scene we’ve lived through far to many times, and one that never gets easier.
We tucked Brody into bed, encouraging him about how fun it will be to hop back into school today. Even though he’s hardly on the mend from his wicked cold – we try to think positively and hold our optimism high for recovering quickly. He always has a bummed look on his face at night, when he lays down his mind races. I blame a lot of it lately on his outrageous increase of medicine in his daily schedule. He just has too much to think about for a 7-year-old – it breaks my heart.
We are doing our best as parents to these boys. To feed their confidence and fill their tanks with love. To let them know that these health issues are a part of them, but will never define them. Helping them to understand that we will are there every step of the way, and when others do not understand they know under their own roof there are people who always will.
Oh, we love them so. At a glance these are just two little men. Look deeper and you’ll see they are some of the toughest bravest little men you’ll ever know.