Monday, December 1, 2008

role reversal

As a result of Brian's illness, it is no secret or surprise that I find myself in a role reversal situation. For instance, I am the primary driver now. In fact, I am the only driver now. I was used to sitting back during our cross-Illinois and Missouri trips and being in charge of the IPOD, the DVD player and the children's requests. Now, I find myself constantly saying, "Mommy can't do that right now because I am driving a car." I am getting used to the role reversal, but some days I just get a little angry at it.

Last week, I hung all the Christmas lights outside. I made the boys help me as it was a beautiful day and I truly needed the help. Still, a task that only two years ago Brian performed.

Also, I find myself trying to fill, for lack of a better term, VOIDS in the children's lives - those areas where I know they crave the male companionship and camaraderie that Brian would normally fill but simply can't. They long to go to the sporting goods store with Dad to look at camping and hunting gear instead of the grocery store with me looking at jasmine rice. They long to wrestle and horse-play with Dad instead of sitting and reading and coloring with me. I know this. It is so contrary to my intuitions, but I make myself do these things in order to give them the normalcy they deserve and the type of attention they crave.

We received our first significant snowfall yesterday and last night. Over 4 inches of incredibly HEAVY, WET snow fell on Central Illinois. In the middle of cleaning the kitchen post breakfast, I looked out at the boys playing and decided to don my snow gear and let the messy kitchen wait for me. (It did, unfortunately.) We built a snowman. I took them sledding. And when they decided they wanted to have a snowball fight, I decided I was finished. Some things I just won't do. Instead, I attempted to shovel the driveway. When I realized that 1/4 of the width of the driveway filled my shovel with snow too heavy to lift or budge, I decided I was truly finished and I came inside.

This morning, as the boys were getting on the bus, I watched them dredge through about 5 inches of heavy wet snow and slush, so I decided to get out the shovel again. I blazed a path from our house to the bus stop for their comfort and pedestrian ease. I also thought about Brian. Today he goes for his MRI. His Mom or Dad will be coming to pick him up. I didn't want him to have to worry about maneuvering through the snow, so I found myself heaving cumbersome shovel-fulls of snow off the driveway. I sprinkled some salt on the icy spots and I am hoping it does the trick for easing Brian's trek to the car. I have learned from watching him that it is easy to take many things for granted. One of those things is the ability to move gracefully. He can't stop himself or balance himself when conditions or his body fail him.

I have also come to know that as much as the role reversals sometimes get to me, they certainly distress Brian even more.



  1. YOU ARE AMAZING!!!!! Truly...when I think of how awesomely you are taking all this stuff...and just reacting in the BEST POSSIBLE simply amaze me. Seriously, I try to put myself in your situation..and I don't think I would handle myself with such grace...and just pull my "snow-boot straps" up and just DO IT. What lessons you are teaching your boys about EVERYTHING...things they won't fully realize until they are adults...but lessons about attitude, commitment, love, faith, hope...and putting others needs ahead of your own. Now...YOU need to be taken care about a GNO spa night????? Meals and cleaning??? Laughs and coffee???


  2. Angie, you are truly a remarkable woman. And you must be a bit exhausted keeping up with those boys! God is Good. I hope things get better and easier for you soon!

  3. You know? I think you are one of the bravest people. I can only imagine stepping up to do things you never would've done before. Role reversals suck, and I'm glad you are able to acknowledge it - and that you are stopping to smell the roses despite the obstacles. I'm still praying for you guys.

  4. You know what? You are an amazing mom...and temporary dad.

  5. May God send you loads of strength, serenity and stretches of relaxation.

    It's hard to be in the parent-child role reversal too when helping an ill parent. At the end of the day, no matter what roles we play, we can only do as best as we can.

  6. Hmm, I don't know what to say that hasn't already been said about you. Except, that, you are an amazing partner for Brian.

    I just gotta know: If THIS isn't going to break you, what will?


    Hee Hee just kiddin'

  7. You are a fantastic wife and mom! Your boys are lucky to have a mom like you! And I am sure Brian realizes how darm lucky he is too :)

    PS It seems the kitchen mess will always wait!

  8. Okay, here is my tip on snow shoveling. You make one complete pass across the driveway the width of your shovel. Then, you edge along the unshovelled part and just push across like a mini snow plow... You only have to do the lifting part once per pass. Be sure to go side to side so you can deposit your "plowed" snow right in front of wherever you stop.

    If you catch it before you get 3 inches, you won't have to shovel that first pass... you just "plow" it across.

  9. I know I have said it before, but ... Brain is lucky to have such a loving wife and caring mother to his children. You are doing a great job, Angie. Enjoy your time together - I give you a lot of credit for putting things aside and spending time with your boys and picking up slack where needed. You are a strong woman and your are a huge inspiration!

    Take care and have a good week - Kellan

  10. You are an amazing woman. Don't forget to take care of yourself, when everyone is sleeping. Take a bath. Paint your nails. Do what it takes to make sure you have the prettiest nails when you shovel the snow. ;) Promise?

  11. I hope you're letting people help you, what you're going through could easily overwhelm someone. Kudos to you for chucking the cleaning to play with the kids--that's great priority-setting.

  12. Hugs. That's it just hugs. Oh, and why doesn't the messy kitchen EVER just go away? I'm thinking and praying for you and yours...

  13. Ha! I swear laundry waits around the same way! When my step-Dad was sick he got to a point where he would come up with a mental list of things he all of a sudden had to fix or take care of. He stayed up all night a couple times; fixing tings and once to fix an old high chair in case we one day needed it. I remember one night he sprayed bug poison around the whole house and it was Halloween! Ha! My mom was like "What about the kids?" He just couldn't face not being "the man" around there anymore.

  14. This post made me think of all the things that my husband does that I take for granted.

    Thank you for reminding me to thank him and be a little less annoyed when he doesn't do things exactly the way I think he should.

    I continue to admire your strength and determination. I wish I was nearby so I could help you with some of the load! Since I'm not, I will continue to pray...

  15. Seriously, you are a great mom/dad and everything in between! I haven't been around in a while but you are always in my prayers.

  16. Hang in there Angie! You are an amazing mom and wife.

    Make sure you are taking some time for you too. I know that you are now doing two jobs in many cases, but make sure that you have the energy to do both.

    Thinking and praying for you.

  17. I wish I had some tips for shoveling snow but I've never had to deal with that.

    You're an amazing woman, Angie.

  18. Faster than a City snow plow!
    Stronger than a tennis ball stuck in a toilet pipe.
    Able to leap tall laundry piles in a single bound.
    Look! In the sky!
    It's SUPERMOM!

    Superman ain't got nothin' on you, girlfriend! xoxoxo

  19. I admire your ability to write this all down, get it out, and find the energy to still build a snowman.

    Much love to you.