I really was dreading this day.
A year ago at this time, I was all caught up in the fact that I wasn’t married yet. That I didn’t have any kids yet. That I didn’t own a home, and I still had like a bazillion dollars in student loans, and sometimes the timing of my bills would work out so that my cable would get shut off for a few days each month.
And I was feeling like I hadn’t done nearly enough in the three decades of my life to deserve the milestone that is 30.
Then I got sick.
And everything changed.
Six months ago, I woke up feeling like I had a broken rib.
As one of my friends described it, it was if a tornado came down and destroyed everything, and I was left to pick up the pieces.
Suddenly, all the things I thought I needed didn’t matter at all anymore, and I was just trying to survive.
Suddenly, I was having days where the pain was so horrible that living through a single hour was an incredible accomplishment.
And making it through the night without killing myself was a huge win.
The new pain also came with very demanding limits.
No longer could I push my self to the brink of exhaustion to get everything done. No longer could I stay up all night to finish planning for the youth group, and then work at the church for 13 hours on a Sunday, and then wake up Monday morning, drive 1.5 hours to work, do my other job all day, drive 1.5 hours home, read a week’s worth of Bible study homework in a couple hours, and then spend 2.5 hours in Disciple class, then go home and wake up and drive 1.5 hours to work again.
Nope. Not anymore.
Now, just getting through a one-hour youth group service on Sunday mornings meant that I had to go lay on a couch for 30 minutes to re-group.
And if for some crazy reason, I did try to push myself past my body’s new limits, I would end up in bed for two or three days unable to function because of insane amounts of pain.
So everything changed.
And suddenly, so did my perspective.
As recently as last Friday, I seriously thought I was going to die. But I didn’t.
I’m here. Alive. Celebrating 30 years on this planet.
I may not have a husband, or kids or a white picket fence thingy. I may have just quit one of my jobs and moved in with mom. And, I may have only done five of the 14 things on this list of things I wanted to do before I turned 30.
But I can breathe. And, thanks to the miracle that is hydrocodone, sometimes it doesn’t even hurt that much when I do it.
So yay for 30. I’m just happy to be here.
I finally got to meet you!
Well, I guess, technically, I got to meet you when you were still a wee little thing in your mama’s belly a few months ago. But now. Now you are right in front of my eyes! And I am in love!
I love to hold you. And I love to rock you. And I love to rub your little belly. And I love to just sing your name over and over and over. “Hey little Malachi, don’t you cry. Hey little Malachi, you’re sweet as pie. Hey little Malachi, don’t be shy.”
It’s such a beautiful name.
And look, I know that everyone says this about their best friend’s baby, but you are the most handsome little boy in the world. Seriously. Your mom did a great job baking you.
Your little ittie, bittie hands are obviously going to make your daddy proud someday, when you throw footballs as the first string quarterback for the Super Bowl-winning Chicago Bears.
And you’re already showing signs of your athleticism. At just three weeks old, you are scooting up and down your mommy’s bed on your back. I bet if there was a race between you and all the other three-week-old babys in the neighborhood on who could scoot the fastest, you would totally win.
(As an aside, you should know that both your parents are the MOST competitive people in the world. Don’t be surprised if your mom turns random, daily things into a race early on. As in, “Let’s see how fast you can get dressed! And Go!” or “Let’s see who can pick up the most toys! And Go!!” And, while I haven’t known your dad as long as your mom, I can tell you that he can do more squats than anybody else, ever).
You are still so little and so adorable that you are in that wonderful stage when every single thing you do is gloriously noted.
“Look! He opened his eyes!”
“Look! He’s grabbing your hair! That’s so cute!”
“Look! He’s just laying there. Being awesome! Aww!!”
Ya, you’re pretty cool.
And your mom is pretty cool too. No. Seriously, she is.
She and I go way, way back. Like 15 years back. Or maybe 16. I sort of lost count.
Anyway, I can tell you from experience that she is going to do everything in her power on this planet to make sure you have the very best life possible.
She already is. She’s breast feeding, talking about cloth diapers, and from what I understand she didn’t even get an epidural! (That’s love right there).
I also want to tell you how beautiful she looks as new mom. I’m sure you already know that, but just in case, I wanted to say it again. She is seriously beautiful.
She claims to be exhausted, but her long, brunette hair hangs down her back when she holds you, and her skin is as clear as a summer sunrise.
In fact, the two of you make a pretty beautiful pair. You, with your soft, brown hair; her, with her gentle smile.
She held you today after a feeding, and you feel asleep on her shoulder, and she was content knowing you were content. And for the rest of her life, she will probably only be content knowing you are content.
But you seem to already know that. You fall into a deep sleep whenever you know she is near. And you never cry long once she picks you up.
You have total faith in her. And so do I.
Because like I said, she and I go way, way back. And if there’s anyone I know who could raise a baby boy, it’s her.
All I ask is that maybe you could start sleeping through the night a little earlier than you planned. I know that seems like a LONG six or seven hours, but your beautiful mom could use a full night’s rest.
Other than that though, just keep doing what your doing — being amazing.
I’m totally high right now. On pain pills. Jeeze, I’ve never even tried marijuana folks. Give me some credit, I am a youth leader at a church guys.
The thing about being high (on pain pills) is that after being on the drugs for like two or three months I started to think I was getting used to them, and by extension hiding their crazy side effects really well.
I mean ya, when I first started taking the things, I was felt really, really stoned. Like all the time. And I never tried to mask that fact.
I didn’t want anything crazy to happen and then to have someone come up to me like a week later all, “Wait, a second, you were HIGH when that happened? Dangit, I thought you really liked my chocolate and spinach cake recipe!”
Or worse, for someone to just assume I had transformed into the kind of person who has a dopey smile on their face most of the time, random outbursts of tears some of the time, and trouble thinking of the word she wants to use all the of the time.
So, I would go around telling everyone that yes, I was feeling a bit better these days, but it was only because I was taking insane amounts of pills.
Looking back on it now, I was probably so forthcoming because I was high.
Anyway, so ya, I’m pretty high right now. Well, not like, as high as I used to be, but 21 perscription pills a day is a lot for anyone’s system to handle, so even though I’m a little more used to the high levels of drugs, I’m still not really myself. Or at least that’s what people tell me.
And by people, I mean my friend Lynn who came to visit me today. After being amazing and cooking me food and cleaning my house, she told me I looked stoned.
If I wasn’t high when she said it, I would have totally been offended by the comment.
I called my mom to ask if I looked stoned on all the drugs, and she said something about dark circles under my eyes. However, I think that has more to do with the fact when the pain pills wear off it feels like a butcher knife is lodged between my sixth and seventh ribs, and sometimes that happens in the middle of the night and so my sleep pattern pretty much sucks.
I asked my boyfriend about it, but being smart and all, he denied the whole thing and then quickly changed the subject to how much he missed me today because we hadn’t seen each other in a whole 24 hours. Well played my friend. Well played.
Anyway, it appears I’m pretty much chained to these stupid pills for at least a little while longer because nobody really knows why I hurt like hell, or how to fix it, but the pills at least kind of mask it. And I have to say, I’m really, really hate it.
I ran out a couple weeks ago and there was some drama about getting the refill a little earlier than I was scheduled to, so I had to go through a cold-turkey withdrawal AND endure the pain of a stab wound all day while I waited for it to all get sorted out.
Let’s just say I didn’t think I was going to die — I wanted to die.
To be safe, I looked up what exactly pain pill addiction means, and the internet says it’s defined as taking more than the prescribed dose to get high. I never take more than two at a time of the opiate I’m on, and I never take them for anything other than to relieve pain.
So the good news is, I’m not an illegal addict or anything. The bad news is, my body doesn’t appear to know the difference, and if this pain goes away before I do die, and I have to go off all these crazy drugs, I’m pretty sure it’s going to suck. A lot.
Whatever dude. Anyone got some munchies to snack on?