Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Uncertain Days: Clark

I'm all up in my feelings again today. What the heck?

With all of the graduation festivities and then Mother's Day...and then graduation coming up this weekend...I think my mind and heart is on over-load. I've been looking at old pictures...which, let me just lay some advice on all of y'all who are younger. It would be a good idea if you took a little "manila envelope" or created an on-line file called "graduation pictures for little Susie," and then periodically add pictures to the folder. That way, not only are they all in one place where you can get to them for the senior slide-show or don't have to pull out all the albums and go through every-single-picture that you have taken since the beginning of time.

Because: emotional wreck.

And also: not enough tissues in the world.

You forget the hard stuff of childhood...the bad attitudes and the slamming doors and the broken promises.

And then there's the stuff your kid does!

But if you have to go through ALL THE PICTURES, you'll just remember the GOOD stuff.

Like, baby feet and squishy hugs and how their breath smelled when they slept next to you at night. You remember when they learned to crawl in the they got gravel in their knees, but they didn't even care. You remember when they learned to ride their bikes, and how they rode around the yard in the toy Jeep the grandparents bought them. You remember: holding their hand and saying prayers and pushing them on the swing. You remember driving away on their first day of school and looking up at their classroom window to see their little face pressed against the glass...and they were crying. You remember baseball and soccer and football...and how excited they were to get a sno-cone when the game was over. You remember leading them in prayer when they asked Jesus into their hearts. You remember making posters and them running for student council and awards for academics. You remember swimsuits and goggles and traveling to swim meets. You remember broken hearts and mean girls. You remember the day you moved them to college, when you thought your heart was going to break into a million pieces as you pulled out of the campus.

I remember all of that. And more.

And, since Clark is the youngest and he's the one graduating, do you know what else I remember about the past 19 years of Clark's life? Uncertain days.

Before I even got pregnant with Clark, there were uncertain days. I felt in my heart we were supposed to have another child...but how that child would come to us, I didn't really know. I really wanted us to seriously consider foreign adoption. After much prayer and discussion, we felt that Joshua needed our attention...and it would be difficult for me to be gone several weeks to a foreign country to complete an adoption, and it would be impossible for JIM go to, because of his work.

After I got pregnant with Clark, we had a bunch of uncertain days. The "joke," and it's not one bit funny, is that, from the time Clark got IN my tummy...he was trying to get out. It was not an easy pregnancy by any stretch of the imagination, and when I showed up at the doctor's office at 26 weeks pregnant...and in pre-term labor, it was clear we...Clark and I...were facing some uncertain days.

I was admitted to the hospital immediately. They tried to stop my labor, and I tried to remain calm. Logan, who was 4 at the time, tried to dismantle the hospital room until Jim got there and he took Logan to meet up with his mom and our other kids. The doctors monitored me carefully...Clark was still so tiny. He needed every day I could give him.

When he was born at 27 weeks, 4 days, there were 7 1/2 weeks of uncertain days spent in the NICU.

When, at the age of 2, and I found a lump in his tummy...and when that very night we were at Arkansas' Children's Hospital...those were some uncertain days.

When a malignant tumor the size of a man's fist was discovered, and surgically removed...along with part of his liver...there were uncertain days as we wondered what this would mean for Clark and his life.

And when 4 rounds of chemo invaded his little body...the uncertain days caused us to wonder, "would it work?"

And then every month after that, for 5 long years...every blood test, every doctor's appointment, every x-ray, every ultrasound...brought uncertain days, as we waited each time for the test results to come back.

All these years, and it's been 17 years since his treatment ended...every headache, every stomach ache, every achy or "not right" feeling that we just couldn't put our finger heart would be gripped as I tried to take every thought captive; thoughts that told me, "it might be back."  Uncertain days.

Even now, he goes to ACH once a year to be checked and monitored. I don't breathe easy until they tell me he's okay.

But looking at Clark on Senior he stood up on the stage at our church, and was introduced...I didn't feel uncertain about him at all. I felt certain and at peace with his college decision. I felt certain about how he's lived his life up to this point. I am certain he will make mistakes. I am certain he will change his major.

I don't know what God has planned for his life...where he'll go, what he'll do, how long he will live...but this I am certain of: God holds Clark in His hands...and the One who knit him together in my womb, Who was with him when he was born so very early, Who was with him in the NICU, and with him through his cancer diagnosis and treatment...and with him every minute of every day of his 19 year old life...loves him and is concerned for him way more than even I can.

"For this boy I prayed, and the LORD has given me the request that I asked of Him. So I have dedicated him to the LORD; as long as he lives, he is dedicated to the LORD..." 1 Samuel 1:27-28

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