Participants in “Write 31 Days” pledge to write for 30 minutes on a single topic every day in October. My topic? Happiness.
After a talk between Cee, David, and myself, today we decided to get Cee’s wheelchair out of its cobwebby corner in the garage.
Cee’s pain has been slowly crescendo-ing. First the limp was a little more visible. Then she started to walk on her tiptoes to avoid using her hip in a certain way. Then she started tiring faster. She has bursts of activity, but often feels poorly afterwards. Last night and today, she’s been struggling to sit or stand for more than a few seconds.
So as a heartbroken David brought in the wheelchair from the garage, I chattered on about how great Cee’s new digs were. (My cousin’s lovely mother-in-law made Cee some custom cushions and accessories for her wheelchair at the end of her last big flare. Things have calmed down with the latest medication, so she hasn’t needed the adorable cushions or the wheelchair in a fair amount of time.)
Moe was enthralled. Wheels. A seat. Levers. It’s a three-year-old’s dream, that wheelchair.
As I tried to convince Cee that this was going to be great, Moe entered his broken record mode.
“I want a wheelchair of my own!” he repeated with increasing intensity.
“No, Buddy. You don’t. You have legs that work fine so you can jump and run.”
“My legs hurt, too. I want my own wheelchair!” Times 800.
I don’t know what was worse, trying to convince Moe the wheelchair was bad, or trying to convince Cee it was good.
We eventually put the wheelchair back in the garage and put on a movie for the kids.
David and I are raw with sadness and grim resignation. We neither yelled at Moe nor slugged him, which merits an Emmy nomination, I think, for the acting it required.
The last time we faced a serious flare, we determined that the main medication Cee was taking had stopped working. We were told there weren’t many options left medication-wise and basically given one option. Fortunately, it worked. It’s been a wonderful year-and-a-half. And now–
And now, I bake. We’re going to celebrate Cee’s birthday with my side of the family tomorrow. I’m enjoying the comfort of a recipe. Do x, y, and z– end up with a cake. Follow the rules, and things turn out all right.
But it’s not all right. Cee’s getting rollerskates. There’s a cake in the oven, the kids are watching a movie, and Cee can’t walk. Tomorrow– she will unwrap rollerskates at her birthday party. They are the only thing she asked for this year. She’ll get other things for her 8th birthday that she’ll use and love, but the one thing she wanted more than anything else– at this point is just a cruel joke.
She could start improving tomorrow. David just gave her her methotrexate shot today and increased the dose. We’ve been militant about using peppermint essential oil during the injection, and that seems to help Cee’s nausea. For all my ribbing about essential oils, they do have their place. But there’s not enough frankincense essential oil in the world to take away all Cee’s pain. Maybe the methotrexate will start helping by tomorrow.
What does this have to do with happiness? So many things.
-Sometimes we become completely consumed by the one thing we think will make us happy. Just like Moe and his pining for a wheelchair of his own, we pass over opportunities for happiness because we’re focused on what we don’t have.
-Doing something is always better than doing nothing. Service is vehicle for double-happiness, both for the giver and receiver. The pink cushions are only one example of the little ways people have helped bear the burden of our cross. Every single gesture has been much appreciated. A kind act is never too big, small, early, or late.
-I can’t control what happens, but I can control how I react. I wish I could have stuffed a sock in Moe’s mouth. But I didn’t. This is worth 1,000,000 Mom Points. Cha ching.
Thank you for following us on our journey, and for your prayers.
The Happiness Series
Day 1: The Evolution of an Idea
Day 2: In a Cave
Day 3: The Pursuit
Day 4: Peanuts Gang Style
Day 5: A Beautiful Death
Day 6/7: Like a Moody Teenager
Day 8: Survival of the Fittest Gardening
Day 9: My Sunday Best
Day 10: Traditions
Day 11: Still in the Cave
Day 12: More Than Surviving
Day 13: On Rollerskates and Wheelchairs