‘I Remembered What Mattered Most’

A wife and mother recognizes what her real fears are about

My husband is in the operating room, having a minor knee operation at our local hospital in our Northern Virginia town.

He is not in a life-or-death situation, but is still under anesthesia, under the knife and vulnerable.

Outside the walls of this hospital, a storm is brewing and poised to descend on the nation’s capital and surrounding area. A major crippling blizzard is expected to descend upon our city in a matter of hours, dumping possibly historic amounts of snow. High winds may knock out power to many, very possibly to us.

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When my husband decided to go through with the surgery on this day rather than postponing it, I was angry.

Why add extra stress and worry to an already chaotic situation? Why take yourself out of commission when I will no doubt need help with the kids, the dog, shoveling snow?

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While my feelings were valid, and my reasons logical, he remained adamant. I wasn’t taking into account the amount of pain he had been in for several months leading up to this.

I was forgetting how frustrating it has been for him not to be able to run or exercise the way he wants to, or play basketball with the kids. I wasn’t thinking of the mental preparation he has no doubt been doing in the days leading up to the surgery. This is not his first rodeo with knee surgery. It’s the fourth, and for my athletic, active husband, this is a difficult reality to face.

[lz_infobox] In this essay series running each Wednesday, parents share what matters most to them.[/lz_infobox]

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When I was feeling angry, perhaps selfishly so, I finally stopped and remembered what is most important to me.

As a little girl, my only wish was to have a family that was healthy and whole. My father was very sick with multiple sclerosis by the time I was born, and I watched him suffer and fade throughout my childhood.

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By the time I was 12, my mother had begun a devastating battle against bipolar disorder, which ultimately tore our fragile family apart. I never felt complete as a child, and the only thing I wanted was to grow up and create a whole family with a healthy mom and dad.

I have worked hard to achieve this, and my husband and I are so proud of the family we have made together. Each year that passes, I take note that my kids have had that much more time in their childhood with two healthy parents at home than I had in mine.

It’s then that I realize the reasons for my anger. Though my upbringing certainly colors my present and future, I am not the child I was. My family now is not the family I had growing up. We have created something new, and I hope to add many more years to the healthy-family tally.

As I sit here, praying for my husband’s health and relief from constant pain, I am very grateful that our reason for being at the hospital is nothing more serious than knee surgery. I also now realize that this minor operation is not minor to my husband’s quality of life. For him to be the active dad he wants to be, the dad I need him to be, he needs me now. Today.

The storm will come no matter what, but we will take it as it comes and have faith that our family will arrive on the other side — healthy and whole.

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