Monday, October 5, 2009

Life Through a Movie Lens

This past weekend life came to a grinding halt. Medical issues forced me to live without my bionic leg for three and a half days. I have not been without my leg for that long since my original surgery recovery time. It was brutal.

Not pain wise. Fortunately there was no physical pain, only mental pain. For seventeen years I have been the mom. The one who tries to make life comfortable and clean and healthy for our family. Jeff has always been a full time parent with me but there are just some things I feel better doing myself. It makes me feel like I’m doing my job. It isn’t fun to sit back and watch the household tick along without me.

When the dust bunnies began to form colonies on the edges of our floorboards and threatened to jump out at passers-by, I looked the other way. When school papers began to pile up and take over the small bookcase in our home office, I tried not to feel claustrophobic. When a bag tie from the sandwich bread sat tucked in the corner of the kitchen floor for three, going on four days, I tried to block it out.

I hopped along on one leg, doing what I could. The crock pot saw good use. Sam got his exercise as I ran him around the house, taking clutter to its rightful home. I found a way to balance on the one good leg just long enough to fluff the comforter so the bed looked made.

The only thing I didn’t master was teaching the dog that when she saw crutches coming through, she should get out of the way, not hover over me, trying to take care of her master. There is no worse obstacle when you are on crutches than a large, randomly moving animal.

By the weekend I was just at the brink of stir crazy and Jeff came up with a plan. Our oldest son had a track meet just a bit north of Saratoga and it was a great day to drive around upstate New York. I hobbled out to the car and clicked into the front seat for a soul cleansing ride.

The trees are not fully turning but there is enough color to hint at the beauty that’s on its way. The sun was brilliant, the breezes refreshing. It was a perfect prescription for a case of cabin fever.

After the track meet we stopped at a quiet school soccer field for a picnic lunch. Jeff and the boys kicked a ball around and I soaked up the sun. It felt good to be normal, healthy and content, even without a second leg to support me.

On the way home we dropped by the downtown area and lucked into arriving just as a car chase scene was being filmed for the movie shoot that’s in town. I stayed in the car as Jeff and the boys raced down the block to get a closer view.

When they got back to the van, the whole conversation on the ride home was about Hollywood, and movie production and the empire that entertains us at movie theaters. It all seems so big and exciting and exotic.

It makes me wonder if moments like these are sparking things deep in my younger boys’ souls and if their life paths may take them in a film direction some day. I am very aware that every experience we give them builds onto the person they will become. It shows them options and choices for their future and helps them understand what makes them tick.

Soon we were back home and I was back on the couch. Sam had to bring me a glass of ice water, since carrying liquid in an open glass is not recommended when one is balanced on crutches. Back to everyday life. We left the fun and glamour of Hollywood downtown.

But I have to think that even the everyday stuff, like mom being on one leg for a bit of time, also forms who my kids are becoming. I used to feel bad that I asked more of my children when I had leg issues. Then a wise friend pointed out that children growing up in homes where compassion is taught become compassionate adults. And children who are taught to minister to others become the kind of people we need in this crazy world. I choose to believe she was right.

Soon I’ll be back to full time on two legs and will rush through my days, again trying to make a comfortable nest for my chickies. But this latest spell on the couch brought back some really healthy reminders. That life is not Hollywood or scripted scenes. It is taking every day as a gift and appreciating the heck out of any part of it you can.

On one leg or two, on an abandoned picnic field or a movie set.

Life is the lens you look through.

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