The pressures of raising children can be overwhelming. I worry daily about if the things I do and say are going to have an effect on my kids. Will they remember every time that I messed up? Am I helping them to grow up to be strong, faith-filled adults?
As I look back on my childhood, I can think of several times my parents didn’t seem to understand me and times that I felt like they were ‘ruining my life’. But what really stands out to me is how the very core of who they wanted me to be has come true. So, how did they do it? How did I turn out just like they had hoped? (Well, at least close to what they hoped.) As I started thinking about the impact my parents had on me, I realized there was one common denominator: Action.
But the one who most inspired me to be the person I am today is my mom
My father was in my life for almost 15 years before he passed away. I learned many wonderful things from him in that amount of time and I am so incredibly grateful for those lessons. But the one who most inspired me to be the person I am today is my mom. As I share my mother’s story, I hope you perceive how her reactions to situations in life, are what truly impacted who I have become as an adult. It wasn’t just what she said to me but what she showed me and applied to her own life that mattered most.
My mom grew up in a small town, went to secretary school (yes, that was a thing), and moved to another small town. It was there that she met my dad and they were married shortly after. A few years later they welcomed their first child (that’s me) and life seemed to be as it should – good. However, the next few years would prove to be some of the most difficult of their lives.
It was a major shift in their lives, especially my mother’s, that would change her forever.
Impact #1: Choosing Faith During Tragedy
22 months after I was born, my parents welcomed their second child, a son. It wasn’t long after he was born that my mother knew something was wrong. He wasn’t eating well and he had severe jaundice. After several hospitalizations and numerous tests they discovered my brother didn’t have bile ducts or tracts to the liver and he was missing his gall bladder. Upon hearing the news that my brother’s life would likely not be that of a normal child my parents did something they hadn’t yet done. They prayed together. It was a major shift in their lives, especially my mother’s, that would change her forever.
As the days went on my brother got worse. My parents were told he would need a liver transplant or a risky surgery to attach his intestine to his liver to drain the bile from his liver directly into the gut. They chose option two. Thankfully, the surgery was successful and he was sent to the NICU to recover. Within a few days, however, the doctors noticed he was losing control of his eyes and he appeared to be blind most of the time. A CT scan was immediately ordered. The results would be devastating.
The tumor my brother had was the first of its kind and there was no cure, forcing my parents to make one of the hardest decisions any parent could face.
My brother, 2 ½ months old, had a malignant brain tumor. It claimed 30% of his brain and was intertwined with all the major vessels. The surgeon came and spoke with my parents and informed them that even if they could get some of the tumor it would only grow back. The surgery was risky and could leave him paralyzed or with further brain damage, if he were to survive it at all. The tumor my brother had was the first of its kind and there was no cure, forcing my parents to make one of the hardest decisions any parent could face.
For the rest of his short life my parents decided to bring him home. They wanted to love him and care for him while they still could. His condition worsened. His head was enlarging and filling with fluid. He needed a feeding tube and a shunt to drain the excess fluid off his brain. They also discovered he had been suffering from grand mal seizures for months. He needed 24 hour care but my parents didn’t mind. They took shifts caring for my brother’s needs. By the time he was six months old he only weighed 13 pounds.
“I prayed to God more than ever before in my life. Just when I thought I couldn’t bear the sadness and struggle another minute, I would pray for more strength and God would send it.” -My mom, age 24.
One spring night in April my mother knew it would be my brothers last. She and my father were determined to stay up all night so that he would be held when it was time for him to go. She sang ‘Jesus Loves Me’ and read him Scripture from the Bible. Her faith was unwavering. At 1:00 a.m. he took his last breath and was gone. He was 7 months old.
I was young and I don’t remember much of that time. I don’t remember how my mom handled the grief. I’m not sure how she and my dad made it through but I can picture her, sitting in the rocking chair by the big window, humming a song to her child like she did with me so many times before and would continue to do many times again. I can see the tears running down her cheeks. Sorrow filling her heart.
I can’t imagine the pain my parents felt during that time. I did, however, learn that this is when my mother’s faith journey began. This is when she found God in the most honest and raw way. Now, I don’t know about you, but I could think of a couple other ways she could have dealt with her grief. She could have gone in any direction but she chose Jesus. In those tough, trying, and terrible moments, she chose Christ. This is impact number one. When she was at the bottom, not even knowing what a real relationship with Jesus would be like, she still chose Him. She chose faith during tragedy.
As time went on, we found a new normal. She and my father had three more children, all of whom were healthy. My parents had a wonderful marriage. I can’t remember any hostility as a child. I can’t even remember them getting into a fight. At least not when I was around. They were happy. They were content.
Hello, my name is Danielle Wayman. I am married to my college sweetheart and have three beautiful children. I currently stay home with my youngest child who is definitely ‘all boy’. I recently began blogging in order to encourage other moms with active boys like mine but soon realized that God was calling me to encourage and inspire moms of all ages and talk about issues we all struggle with. So here I am, writing and hoping to reach the one Mom who may be having a rough time. Praying for God to use my words to bring a little sunshine to her day.
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