“The Heart of A Mother – Part 3”
by Gracie K. Harold
Trigger Word Warning: auto accident, traumatic brain injury, concussion, injections
As a result of the auto accident that I mentioned in my last blog post, I suffered horrible migraines. I had to be on preventative medicine, as well as strong meds to treat my migraines once they happened. We adapted as a family. I taught my daughter how to prepare canned chicken. I taught the boys how to make sandwiches. We developed a network of friends and neighbors to help us when I needed to seek emergency treatment.
I started a new job after re-learning many of my lost skills. We learned the maximum hours of work that I could handle without suffering from multiple migraines in a week. I started preventative shot therapy for the migraines.
I grieved all of the skills that I had lost. I grieved not being able to run again. I grieved my inability to jump off the sand dunes. I discovered that even with limitations, I am still a mother.
I learned that life’s experiences can either shape us or define us.
I could have easily chosen to have a pity party and stop devoting myself wholeheartedly to being a mother. I didn’t. When it comes down to it, I really don’t think I could have. I love being a mother. It’s in my blood. My kids are in my heart.
About two years ago, I joined a women’s group at our church. There I met an incredibly kind woman named Joy. Over time, I also befriended her hilarious husband and their sweet daughter. A family game night happened at church, and Joy’s son James joined them, along with some of his children. James had recently been blindsided by a divorce, and we talked about how hard it is when you want your marriage to stay intact, but your spouse doesn’t. Our friendship continued to grow, and our children became friends.
James invited the kids and me over for a play date, and we discovered that we actually grew up together! We’ve known each other since junior high! We were dating within weeks.
One Saturday morning, we took our five youngest children to a restaurant for lunch. James asked everyone’s attention; then he said, “I love your mom very much. I’m going to ask her to marry me but I want to ask your permission first. Is this okay with you?” Once realization dawned on them, they were overjoyed! I looked over at my future son and daughter. I explained to them that Jada Pinkett Smith mentioned in an interview that she referred to Will’s children as her “bonus children”, never as her “step-children”. I said, “You will never be my step-children. You are the bonus children that I get because of your dad’s love for me. And you can call me “Gracie” or your “bonus mom” if you want to.”
My newest daughter looked at me and said, “Can I just call you ‘mom’?” I was weeping when I said that she could. Her brother joined in, “Okay, mom!” My heart grew again even larger than I fathomed was possible on that day when I gained two sons and a daughter.
We all still have moments of adjustment; but overall, I marvel at how our hearts have been doubled. I can’t remember life before these precious children. I certainly never want to go back to an existence without them.
In the final installment of this series, my next blog post will detail our continuing journey as we make “Adjustments to Normal”.