As some of you might know, my parents have been missionaries in Romania for the last five years. They launched from the suburbs of St. Louis after my sisters and I had all flown the nest. They planned to “retire” in Romania. (Read:
work serve until they die). And then, six and half months ago I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. My parents were already scheduled to come visit the US this past summer and make their rounds to see everyone. They came when I had already lost most of my hair, but had energy to keep up with kids. My sister hosted them at her house for most of that visit, because I was in the thick of summer with four kids home and just. couldn’t. figure. out. anything. I didn’t want more people in my home. I don’t know what I wanted. They came over and helped as needed. My dad is an excellent schlepper. He drove Miles to and from sailing school. He took Jillian to her summer reading program. My mom is a wonderful folder of laundry (blech! I hate folding!). She makes the best tea parties for the little girls. She’s a cozy snuggle for the boys.
Towards the end of their US visit, I was pretty used to having them around and how they fit into our lives. That’s usually how it goes. At first, it’s like, “I love you, but you don’t fit into our crazy lives.” And then, by the time they leave, it’s like, “Why you gotta leave??!!!” With lots of tears. When we said good-bye this past summer, Wiz Kalifa’s super popular “See You Again” was playing on the radio. I’m a 38-year-old mother of four and I was bawling as I drove my minivan home. As it had been two years since their last visit, I wasn’t sure if I’d see them for a year or two or…ever.
My mother’s heart was torn in two. So was my dad’s. But they knew they had a commitment to the people of Romania. But, then one morning about a month ago, God woke up my dad at 3am. I don’t know what He said, but He told him that it was time to come to our aid. My mom woke up to my dad weeping. I’m guessing that since he knew he would obey the call to move to Minneapolis, he couldn’t sleep. He was listening to this song, which he had shared with me a few months earlier. Grab Kleenex.
I know that it seems like things are settling down here. The chemo is behind me. The surgery is behind me (mostly). All that’s left is some radiation, which is arguably the easiest of treatments. We’ve had so much support these last six and a half months. But, even still, Brent and I are so weary. Last week, during post-op recovery, we had two ER trips for our boy, and seven–SEVEN–doctor’s appointments. This week, we have six appointments (five are mine). My endocrine (hormone) treatment requires monthly injections, bi-annual infusions, daily medication (I’m the worst at remembering!!!), and of course, regular bloodwork. Radiation will be daily when it starts. There are always follow-up appointments. And that’s just me. What if each one of our children would like to participate in one extra-curricular activity?
All that to say, we insisted on welcoming my parents into our home to live with us. We are hugely relieved to know that reinforcements are on their way. In fact, they will be here tonight! We are all excited to be together again. With all the craziness, I think we may only have one or two gifts under the tree for them, but I’ve always believed that people are the best gift they give. That’s what we plan to be to each other in the days to come.