March 26, 2011

Blank Brain

It's not necessarily that the brain is blank, but maybe that it's too full?

I've got a bit of a saga.  It revolves around, and involves my daughter who was diagnosed with peri-partum cardiomyopathy last year, for those long-time readers.  Barbara, with her husband and family, have been on a long sojourn through their own personal wasteland for the last year. They were living in a mountain town in Arizona where he was finishing up his undergraduate education.  He came late to the idea that he should be anything other than a partner in his father's house stucco business, but when he did awake to other possibilities, the first choice was to be a doctor.  The first round of applications yielded no spots in med school.  He got a part-time position with a dentist in town, and they stayed there for another year, living month-to-month, on faith and prayers and this-and-that.

But the landlord wanted them out, so they left there in May, pulling their oldest daughter out of school two weeks before she was to be Cinderella in the school play, and moved in with his parents two hours away in a small Route-66-type town, with a diner, a KMart and a Home Depot (but not much else).  Dental school was the new goal, and he placed well on his tests.  Within a few weeks, they found a small home to rent, and they landed a couple of options for dental school.  He accepted the one in Phoenix.

Trying to get out of their year-long lease of their rental, they offered complete flexibility as to the end date.  Unfortunately, it came too soon, so the end of February we drove up to help them pack up and move out.  But to where?  They'd placed an offer on a house, because to rent was $1100 dollars/month and to buy was $550. With the limited financial assistance they'd have in dental school, buying made more sense.  His parents helped, we helped.  The offer was accepted, the bank sat on processing the loan.  So, they put all their household goods in storage, and moved in with my son, his wife and their four children. More nudging (in the only terms a bank can understand: more money) and soon they--we--had nearly everything in place.

She came here for a week, and why you get this long tale is that every junction in this lengthy tale of displacement involves multiple phone calls, minutes and hours on the phone, trying to help.  For that is the lot of a parent of grown children: you can't effect any changes in your child's life, but can only be a support, a sounding board, be that someone on the other end of the line who will listen when their loan papers are stuck, when they feel like they're intruding, when they pack all the kids in the car and go rent a hotel room with money they hardly have, just to try to squeak out and find the tiniest piece of place, of peace.

But today?  Today the papers are signed, the loan has funded, the rental truck is at the storehouse loading up their earthly goods to move to their little house and they are on their own, blessedly, again.  This part of the saga--like the wandering around in the desert like the children of Israel, like the pioneers coming West, like Job, like so many trials in our lives that seem to go on forever and ever while we're in them, but seem like an uncalled-for time for growth and an unpleasant interlude ever afterwards--is over.

So my mind is too full to write.  Too full of thanks and relief and happiness and papers to grade, and do the things left undone while I listened and anguished and rejoiced with one of my little families.

May all your sagas come to a fruitful end as well.


  1. "For that is the lot of a parent of grown children: you can't effect any changes in your child's life, but can only be a support, a sounding board, be that someone on the other end of the line who will listen" This line really spoke to me. I thought of my mom and how she gives up so much for me, including that control. I can guarantee that the admiration you have for your daughter is mutual! My mom told me this morning that she is the founding member of my fan club. I laughed, but I your slice reminded me I want to make sure she knows although my older sister may have been the founding member, I am her biggest fan!

  2. Beautifully said. It's hard to function, isn't it, when your mother-heart is beating somewhere in Phoenix? I'm so glad that all that listening, anguishing, and rejoicing has a happy ending. All is well, all is well.

  3. What a time you have been through these months. And what a wonderful support you have been as a mom. I am a mother of two families; I know something of what you mean, & it is challenging at times to know the words that are right, supportive, but only offered for the taking. I'm happy for your happy end. Best wishes!

  4. I cannot imagine what it must have been like to see your child going through so much--challenge after challenge, and no way to make it stop. I'm glad that things seem to be much more settled.

  5. I have said it more times than I can count - I would parent a room full of toddlers over adult children. It is the hardest job in my life so I'm thinking of you.

  6. Ah yes, that is the lot of parents as our children grow up - to be available but not in charge. Hope some time of peace is coming your way.

  7. What a journey! I am so excited for your family. They must be so relieved and thankful that things are falling into place.