I remember sitting with B, then under a year old, in doctor’s office after doctor’s office and collapsing in fear as each tried to help us, first time parents, at understanding what stood ahead of us with epilepsy. I remember holding his shaking, frightened body against his will time and time again- pleading with God for it to be a mistake, for the entire season to disappear, confessing I wasn’t ready, I wasn’t strong enough, I couldn’t watch my baby take this on. I carried guilt, sorrow, and fear for FAR TOO LONG, but now at nearly 3 1/2 years old, I oddly thank Him for this journey. I thank Him for the lessons, the growth, and the intention. Epilepsy once seemed so heavy, so helpless, but my Brent helped me see THAT was my choice, as it was NEVER his… It opened us all to a season of education, to new friends, to intimate prayer, to steadfast faith and surrender, to a passion that will stay long after what I believe his diagnosis will… We’ve seen SUCH improvement and I faithfully believe B’s walk with this disorder is nearing end, but knowing him, his passion to love and help others walking it never will- I know our’s won’t.
It is 2pm here and y’all I still am in my PJs, with smeared eye make-up, and laughable hair (curly heads unite). My husband did breakfast, soccer, ran six miles, made lunch, and has showered. Yet we are both are smiling for me, because I have laughed with my sister, caught up on some reading, rested my sore muscles (squats hate me, they do), and allowed myself to be served. Marriage for us has been about melting, becoming a team, rejoicing for one another, and serving one another- allowing one to take a load off. Marriage is seasons and flexibility. Arguments and make-ups. Grace, marriage is an endless soft-serve machine of flowing grace. We came into it selfish but praise Him for continually breaking us to find our selfless. Okay, now I will shower, because I love them more than my stink.
This little family has some changes on the horizon, so last night proved time to say “farewell” to our beloved Camry. This Camry, apparently, is the first car that Brent decided to attached his little heart to, so he sat, limp against it, sobbing and holding it like the dear friend it had proven itself to be- adamantly refusing to break loyalty and love any other car. He had spent far too many days standing in her front seat, imagination on hyper drive, whisking around magical lands and pressing every button within reach. To this three year old, she was “his” first car. So alas, after a series of heart talks on “letting go” given from my lap, positioned on a Dealer’s auto shop’s floor next to his “girl”, we were able to thank her for being so faithful and for providing us a means to adventure through and across this life for years now. While she has now served her purpose for us and served it well, the memories within it and because of it… will never be forgotten. We drove away in a new vessel of adventure and snuggled into bed with our sweet little praying that she (our Camry) continued to be loved well and love well herself. Amen! Oh.This.Heart…
“Miss Cox, could you stay back for a second, please?”
That first time a teacher asks you to remain behind, I feel like your stomach sinks instantly, well perhaps that’s just mine, but I promptly went into a “what has he done” mode (if you have a three year old, you likely know this mode… just saying), more than equipped to meet his misbehavior with an arsenal of the most sincere of apologies and red-cheeked embarrassment. While I ran with my direct assumptions that he had misbehaved and began initiating my apology (warning: while irresistibly adorable he is not perfect and does misbehave- crushing hearts, I am sure), I was halted, amid my humble attempt at redeeming his day, and was instead met with two pairs of concerned, but loving eyes:
“Miss Cox, I think we are starting to see the spells affect him here at school. Could we talk with you about this for a few seconds?”
I wanted to curl up into a ball and cry (I know they both saw the tears start rising), but instead I choked them down as best I could and dug deep into my big girl pants for a swift dose of bravery. After all, how can I expect my precious boy to face this bravely, if every time it’s brought up to his own mother she loses all touch of the truth written on both of their hearts and warps into a ” pseudo protective” nest of denial and fears. I would give ANYTHING to take this from my child and not hear those words, for I allowed those very words to make it vividly real for me, for us, for him (hello a pinch of unveiled denial). We’ve always seen them, the spells, but to the unaware they often pass by without notice. This world we live in is one big distraction working in Brent’s favor, usually allowing the presence of his spells to go without much notice. Thanks to this fact, he is more times than not met as just an adorable face, normal in all sense of the world’s definition (which we know it loves to define and this particular mama has some arguments with even defining normal, but that’s for another blog, another time). Brent, excuse me, Michael Brent (yes, he has asked for the name change) is beyond normal, he is his own adorable normal, too adorable for scales or defining and JUST as he should and was intended to be. He is a brave, joyful, gregarious boy battling epilepsy with more grace than most adults, more than even his own mother most days. Yet even in knowing that truth about my baby, all it took was the topic of epilepsy being brought to me by an outside source and instantly fear sprung forward, ruthlessly gunning for this mama, specifically seeking out my heart.
FEAR… I HATE YOU! Fear attempts to ring so loudly in this world. It plots to cripple and destroy. Killing one’s hope and dimming one’s light. It robs joy from anyone that allows it. Fear has been one of my biggest battles as a mom, true confession. How easily my ears drift towards those lies and how quickly they leech onto my heart, immediately squeezing it deathly tight and stealing the literal breath from my lungs. Folks, this type of fear is not of the Lord, as He desires our fear not to be in this world, but in Him. Fear was never meant to have such an affect on one built upon faith and held so FIRM. Fear, and it’s lies, is a constant battle ground of my flesh versus my spirit. The end result, even though it seeks to destroy me, this fear swiftly delivers this mama to the end of me, collapsed in His lap, reliant on His sovereign ways. My Lord is good and this season, while hard and filled with heartaches, has left me with no choice but Faith. Which should always have been and be my first and only choice. Yes, can you see them, lessons every where. Epilepsy hasn’t just grown and strengthened Brent, which it has, but it’s stretched and grown us all, it continues to do that as we walk this season. It’s forced two parents to grow up and to grow our faith in such beautifully, intimate ways- delivering a “village” of supporters that blows our mind and continues to open our eyes to His purpose filled path laid firmly and intently before this family. We see the intention in Brent’s journey in nearly every engaging encounter he has (strangers included), through all of our tearful frustrations, and within each smiling eye twinkle he gifts this world.
Fear, even though it gave it’s best attempt the other day, was hushed instantaneously. I chose to stand with my Father and deny it entry and I laid before it what I know is true: He goes before me and He walks this with me. So while I began our talk with a mix of fleshy emotions from embarrassed, to angry, to fearful, I ended it assured and carried and He held on tightly, as He always has on this walk.
In the end, while his spells do in fact make life a bit harder for Brent, it’s hasn’t slowed him one bit. The full disclosure of our meeting was that they have in fact noticed Brent having difficulties, which has called for them to cater a bit differently with instructions, having patience, etc, BUT that in the face of those struggles, he continues to excel in all areas at a level that blows their minds. His teacher did intend to alert me to their current observations, but she was more so intending to applaud our efforts at home and praise Brent’s resilient spirit and work ethic- his endless joy amid what are sure to be scattered, uncontrolled frustrations. Both ladies with tears in their eyes looked at this mama bear, finally welling tears myself, and told me that my child, my three year old, has captivated their hearts and toughened them up against their own complaints and nags in this life. He unintentionally has reminded them of how one’s chosen outlook really is a deal changer in one’s happiness with life, circumstances aside. For Brent, life is about bear hugs, surprise kisses, spontaneous dance parties, and springing fourth belly laughs and joy- not about letting epilepsy slow him or define him. He truly is a warrior- spontaneous, busting with energy, strong willed and beautifully abnormal. I’d pass up normal for his abnormal ANY. DAY. OF. THE. WEEK!!!!