Walkers are the new black. Wheelchairs are the new blue. I did not register for this.

IMG_8644Today, is a good day. Lest any of my friends and family freak out. Today is good. However, I’ve been writestipated for a few weeks and need to get this out in order to move on. (Writestipated- when one cannot pass an idea. It’s constipation for writers.)

I remember spending long hours shopping for strollers and walkers. So much to consider: does it match the nursery theme? What’s the safety rating? How long will it last? What’s the current pediatrician and mom thought on this item?

Eventually, I settled on just the right item. Sometimes adding it to a registry, sometimes to my Target or Amazon cart. (3 kids, each technically in a different decade. Things change.) I pushed strollers for miles, through sand, malls, tears and tantrums. I supervised mobile walkers and bouncy spinning exer-saucers when moms stopped remembering to keep babies in walkers on the first floor with any doors near steps closed.

Somedays I did so with a smile. Others, it was me in tears. Being a mom is hard.

Recently, I had a much less pleasant experience. A walker was thrust upon us. One without cute animals, that doesn’t match a nursery and that I did no research on prior to its arrival. One I didn’t even register for.

A walker for my husband.

Honestly? On bringing it home from the hospital, I promptly stuck it in the dining room and topped it with an Amazon box for camouflage. I hate it. Even worse? I hate the blue and maize wheelchair I currently need to push him in for every doctors appointment. Not because it clashes with my shoes, not because it does a number on my back, but because it means he’s really that sick. Some days, too sick to walk without assistance. It’s the opposite of a walker for my little ones. Those resulted in sturdy little legs and better balance. Those resulted in early strong walking kiddos. (In theory, in fact? Who knows. They change the rules of mothering every ten minutes.) Thos results in a reality check and some further weakening. Use it or lose it is a real thing. 

I am the worst wheelchair driver ever. If my husband ever breaks a leg, it will be because I tried to push the dumb chair into an elevator and smashed his foot into the door. (Poor guy.) I have: backed into people, bumped people, rammed him into things and almost lost control of the stupid chair going downhill in the parking lot.

It isn’t even passive aggression. I just suck that much.

This is temporary. I know. But, having that walker mock me with his frailty from under that Amazon box is a stab to the heart. And every time I push that wheel chair through the cancer center with the locks on (not that I ever forget, it’s an extra workout. Just sayin. I’m hardcore.) I know that someday this could be the new normal.

I’m not a fan.

I’d like to go back to walkers and other indoor wheeled modes of transportation,  being for chubby cheeked little ones. Not husbands.

I can’t. This is today’s reality. I don’t have to like it. I DO have to deal with it. So, I push the wheelchair on “those” days. When the time comes, I’ll move the Amazon box off the walker. (At least it’s a spiffy red model with a fancy seat! It would be awesome for Black Friday shopping, if I didn’t boycott the stupidity that Black Friday has become. )

I learned (eventually) to drive a manual transmission car after tiger striping a VW beetle on a few concrete gas station barriers.So,  I’m pretty sure my wheelchair skills will improve. Maybe, I’ll even start to see the walker as a mechanism of freedom.

There is no registry for cancer. You don’t get to pick and choose your accoutrements. You can’t choose the,” my husband has great hair so chemo can’t have that” version, or the: “I don’t do bodily fluids clean up” version. You can’t even choose the “Whatever our insurance will pay for” version, You get what you’re dealt.  All doled out medically with a side of physical therapy or, a nod of sympathy. Maybe. Maybe not.

What we do get to choose is how we respond. I choose to find humor in the morbid, I choose to wish there was a cancer registry. I choose to pout, have tantrums when I’m cleaning urine from anyone who knows where urine goes, regardless of their physical condition. (Old, Fat Sami the beagle is not being very cooperative, lately. Of course. When it rains, it pours, pee, at our house, for the most part. It’s a theme. A bad one.) 

Then, I choose to put on my big girl panties and deal. I push the chair. I clean the pee. I help with things that were not mentioned in marriage vows. I try to normalize crazy. Which is hard, since crazy, is generally my normal.

Don’t we all have challenges in life like this? Physical challenges? Financial struggles that feel like you’re pushing a wheelchair loaded with bills uphill through your great grandmas (or, hipster friends) shag carpet? Emotional challenges we want to toss an Amazon box over and pretend don’t exist? Relational issues so complicated even rubic couldn’t solve that messed up cube? (Google rubic’s cube, young ones.)

What if, after the tantrums and tears ( hello, that’s therapy, it’s only insanity if you stay there.) we put our big girl panties on and dealt? (Not with cupcakes and coffee.. Well, maybe once in a while.) What if we took the messy list of things we didn’t register for in our lives and handed them over to God?  Maybe with a little holy help to unlock our death grips, and just did the next thing? The very next thing? Today? Made one phone call. Went to one appointment pushing the wheelchair hoping that maybe next time you won’t need it, but thankful that you have one when you do? 

What if?  Maybe it would get easier, maybe not. Either way we’d be one step closer to getting through it. Whatever ” it” is.

Today, I’m praying for you, and for me. That we can do the next thing. That we can embrace life as it is and change what we can. I’m praying we can grieve our losses and move on to new normals. Join me?

Dear lord. you know how much I hate cancer. I hate the pain and weakness it brings. I hate even the reminders of the pain and weakness. I did not register for walkers or wheelchairs, but I really am thankful for them sometimes, help me to be more so. Help us all with our frustrations and fears or struggles and challenges, help us to put on our big girl (or guy) drawers and do just your very next thing. I love you lord, and I thank you for being even here- when there’s a walker hidden in my dining room and it’s not from the walking dead. Oh and thank you that zombies aren’t real, that would really suck. Amen.