I am so thankful for our Heavenly Father. My father was never there from growing up and is a committed atheist. I always wanted better for my children, I wanted my children to KNOW their Heavenly Father and to have an earthy father who was a committed Christian. I wanted them to have the life I didn’t have. In many ways, they did have the life that I didn’t have. I, being a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom, chose a deeply Catholic curriculum for a reason– I was not taught about Jesus growing up. I wanted my boys to grow up in a Christian home where we practiced our Catholic faith. I worked hard homeschooling them to ensure they knew Jesus and practiced our faith.
As I sat alone with my boys again Friday, I was overwhelmed with sadness that they have never really had their father with them at the hospital. Between the two of them, they have been under for procedures and surgeries over 100 times now. This doesn’t include the infusions, procedures and hospitalizations where they weren’t put under, of course. Their earthly father has only been there a handful of times. Yes, you read that right, a handful of times. Some of the boys’ doctors have never met him in the decades they have been treating the boys. Among friends and their husbands, it was a running joke that my ex didn’t really exist because so many of them had never met him. It’s sad and pathetic, but true.
As they have gotten older, it has become much easier to be alone with them at the hospital than it was in their younger days where they needed constant attention and monitoring. I now have a few seconds to think as I am not running from one room to the next to answer questions, help one or the other or to comfort them! They are now old enough to answer the health questions themselves. Right after pilot boy left, he told me the boys could drive themselves to the hospital and I snapped in a text reply, “If you had ever been to the hospital with them, you would know they cannot drive for 24 hrs after going under anesthesia!”
As I sat there yesterday, I thought about my father and I thought about their father — two men who are very much alike. I thought about my wasband’s absence in our lives over the years. While we were married, he contributed to paying the medical bills and paying for medical trip expenses. Now that he is gone, he doesn’t contribute financially to their medical expenses, save the $60 he gave each boy for one of the 4 trips. Thankfully, he hasn’t dropped them from his company insurance policy, I assume he feels that is the only “financial” contribution he needs to make.. The first “bone marrow biopsy day” after the left, he refused to help with gas, food or hotel. The texts and emails were horrendous. He didn’t want to pay for a hotel room I would be sleeping in–refused to use FREE points to help with the hotel room. The company he was working for allowed him to keep the points on his own account, so being a pilot and staying in hotels frequently, he accumulated many points!
He came up with a mathematical equation to arrive at a “fair” amount the second trip. He said I should pay for myself and one boy and he should pay for one boy. Because, as he explained, he shouldn’t pay to help the mother of his children get to the hospital with them, his only obligation was to help with half of the boys’ expenses. I paid over $150 for gas after getting my oil changed and car ready for the trip. I paid almost $400 for the hotel room after taxes (I’d have to look at the receipts for the exact amounts). I paid about $200 for food and $12 in tolls—not including incidentals. $750 is on the low side, but his $120 wasn’t close to his self-calculated 1/3 “fair” amount. $247.5 would be 1/3 and $375 would be half. I can now laugh looking back–it only makes his narcissism that much clearer. He refused to tell me that he would even help at all. The evening before we left, he electronically transferred $60 to each boy. By then, a friend had already paid for the hotel and I had the other expenses covered with what I had saved. To this day, he is angry that a friend of mine paid for the hotel room. He makes snarky comments about my getting “free stuff” and begging people. WOW. He’s never contributed to another trip. 4 Cincy trips and his financial contribution totals $120.
For almost 3 years, he has refused to help pay for any co-pays, prescriptions or any medical expenses–even when I’ve scanned in the receipts. He’s a pilot and makes a great salary. I was looking for full time work, working one W-2 part time job, several 1099s and hobbling around in another boot. Why? Because he left after I had just had surgery. Because he drained the bank accounts and removed me from car insurance, I was forced to walk when I wasn’t supposed to be walking…………ended up walking too much too soon and my Achilles’ tendon almost ruptured. It took an entire two years for my tendon to fully heal. I finally found a full-time job, which makes it easier to save the money for trips- it is still a struggle, but more doable! God is great!
Crazy fact- the Achilles’ tendon doesn’t have much blood flow and takes 18 months to over 2 years to heal! I asked God, “Why would you create this awesomely strong tendon, the strongest in the body and not give it much blood flow so it could heal if injured?” I never received a reply. The first summer after he left, I could barely walk a mile without icing the tendon and having severe pain. Hiking would have been a great comfort for me–though I would ave hated to run into them on the trails–he and his paramour were busy hiking, kayaking and beaching it that summer. Last year, I was able to get back to my usual distance, but not my normal pace. This year, however, I am back on track and rarely have to ice that pesky tendon. God has healed it and life is good. I have goals.
Back to my thoughts on Friday as I sat waiting. I thought I was marrying a Christian 26 years ago, but I was apparently mistaken. When I first met him, he didn’t own a Bible. I bought him a white Bible as a gift while we were dating and I never saw him reading it. I never saw it lying around the house, either. I wrongly assumed that he must keep it in his backpack and read it on trips because I always carry one of my Bibles with me on trips. I found out in the days before he left that he had no idea where that Bible was–he didn’t own or read a Bible. I was floored! I prayed with my boys during the day as a part of our daily school routine. I also taught them religion. This really didn’t hit me until months after he left and it explained how he could tell my oldest not to preach to him when scriptures against adultery were brought to his attention. He sat in church with us every Sunday, but maybe he really didn’t know because he didn’t pay attention and had never read those scriptures himself?
I was blessed to be able to homeschool and be a stay-at-home mom for 23 years. Even knowing what I know now about my marriage, I would choose to do it all over again! Motherhood is the greatest job that God will ever give me and the greatest blessing in my life. Other than Church teaching on marriage, it is the biggest reason I have not been interested in dating until now. First, until the civil divorce is final and one is not longer considered married in the Church, one is not free to marry– it is adultery. Second, the decree of nullity does NOT take away my job of being a mother! God still expects me to be the mother HE has called me to be–regardless of my marital status in the Church. To be clear, I have not really been dating–I’ve just become open to the idea and am finding that my college boys still need me to be a mom. So, I haven’t been actively pursuing it, but do trust that God will send the right person at the right time. My thoughts actually went here Friday– I thought about how my greatest calling is to be a mother to my boys and they still need me from time to time to be at the hospital with them. This, too, shall pass. They will graduate and will have girlfriends or wives to accompany them to the hospital. But, for now, they do not and I am still their mother–it is what mothers do.
It was still a juggling act Friday with two young adults going under anesthesia back to back. I went back to the OR with each of them, gathered their stuff, brought it all into recovery for them, etc.(I am convinced that my middle son carries around weights in his backpack!) I saw other kids with both parents, just as I always do…and it made me sad that my boys have never known that–save a few times I yelled and ranted enough to force their father to be there at the hospital with us. They seemed okay with his absence–it is all they have ever known in the hospital world. Sometimes when I argued with my then husband about coming with us, it would get really ugly. He had a million excuses as to why he couldn’t come along. A few times I would give up and scream, “Fine! Eff it! Don’t come to the hospital with us! We don’t need you there anyway!” This ONE statement is a statement he has used against me forever and a day. He fails to understand that it is something I said in the heat of the moment because of his refusal to come with us. This has become the cornerstone excuse to his never coming to the hospital, “Well, you told me that you don’t need me there,” he tells me–and to everyone he says, “She’s told me that they don’t need me there.” Any father or mother knows that this is utter BS.
By 4:45pm, I drove back from the hospital in the awful Cincinnati traffic while battling a migraine that started around 11:00am. The boys aren’t allowed to drive for 24hrs after being under anesthesia, so there I was with a pounding head, upset stomach thinking, “It would really be nice to have an extra adult to help drive right now,” as flashbacks of arguments over the years filled my mind. Too many to go into right now– I’ve made eight and ten hour trips along with the boys before they were old enough to drive. Exhausted, I would rant to him about not being there with us to help make the drive. You know, just s any tired mother might do after spending days in the hospital with their young sons.
In the end, my boys know God is their Father and that God will never forsake them. God has always been there for me–through my childhood he protected me, even when I didn’t fully know who He was and throughout my life! God has been with us every step of the way and on every medical journey we’ve ever taken. God gave me the strength to hug my boys when they were scared and to tell them, “God’s got this, it will all be okay, I know you are scared…..” We’ve prayed together and stayed together, a mom and her sons. I am thankful that I’ve always been able to be there for them. God is good. All the time.