I took Tucker to an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist last week. The poor kid has something going on in there that makes him have to breathe through his mouth at all times, perpetuates a constant runny nose, makes him snore, and doesn't allow him to chew with his mouth closed (since he can't close his mouth and breathe simultaneously).
We need to get to the bottom of this. Off to a specialist.
As we sat with the nurse before the doctor came in, she asked us all the typical questions that accompany such a visit.
Many of them involve family history.
Has anyone in your family experienced sleep apnea?
Has anyone had chronic tonsil infections?
Has anyone had tonsils/adenoids removed?
So many of these were true of Robb.
And I found myself saying, "His dad did... Well, his dad was... His dad had..."
His dad. And past tense.
All of this makes it sound alarmingly like I am single by choice, like 'his dad' wasn't my husband, like we were perhaps abandoned by a man who didn't care.
And I am committed to honoring my husband's name for the rest of my days. The words may be hard to say, but I will not welcome assumptions.
"I'm sorry - I need to tell you this before we go any further. My husband died two days before Christmas. Tucker is built just like his daddy, and many of these questions pertain to my husband. I'm answering as well as I can, but some of them... well, I just don't know all the answers. I wish he were here to answer with me."
She put down her pen.
"Oh... oh, my. He died? Just recently? As in, this past Christmas?"
"Yes. As in, five months ago."
Her face went white. Her eyes filled with tears.
She said, "I'm sorry... I just don't know what to say. I don't know what to do with this. You are so, so... so strong."
I don't really know what to say when people comment on my strength. I don't feel very strong; I simply feel present. I don't feel like I can handle this, but I don't feel like I have a choice.
My children need me. I have no choice but to be strong.
But here sat this nurse, making eye contact with a woman who was vertical, dressed, speaking on behalf of her children and deceased husband, making conversation, and not moled away in her home.
And I imagine that in that instant, she thought of her husband, her children, what on earth she would do if she were in my shoes... and then she thought I was a picture of strength.
Maybe I am. But only by the grace of God.
Really, I have a little boy with some breathing issues, and I need answers. I need help. And I have to do what I have to do.
The same thought process leads me to call a plumber, pump my gas, register for PreK and Kindergarten, put the laundry away, and put cereal on the table every morning.
Because I just have to do what I have to do.
And for the boys who need me, I'll do everything. And anything.