This morning I knew I was going to have a long day. So I put on my brave shirt. Yes, I have a designated brave shirt. It's red and says in white letters, "It's not easy being me, but someone has to do it." We have been trying to clear up my boys skin. They have eczema. Some days it's worse than others, but it NEVER goes away. We have been told by doctors that "they will probably outgrow it" or "just keep applying the lotion every day and it will be fine." Only the lotion that is prescribed is full of steroids and has turned my 7 year old's beautiful hands glossy and puffy. I refuse to believe that this is just something he will have to live with. My wonderful brother and her husband turned me onto the idea that it could be food triggered.
This week we took both my 7 and 4 year old to get an allergy screening. They took 2 vials of blood from each of them. Neither one cried and they were both very brave. Hopefully we will get the results this week, but in the mean time I am trying to avoid anything that could trigger an outbreak. Apparently that is basically EVERY type of food minus leeks and new potatoes. (yes I know there are others, but it just FEELS like I have to avoid everything). I haven't been purchasing groceries like normal because our normal foods are things that my boys could possibly be allergic to. So I go grocery shopping each day for our meals for the next. Yes, it's a pain in the butt, but if it makes the inflammation in their skin decrease then it is worth it.
My poor sweet husband has been giving his all at work right now. He is a mechanic on the night shift. Not only that, he has had some serious back pain and we don't have a good bed. He doesn't sleep well on a good day, let alone on a day when the kids are running rampant and wake him up several times because they are loud. He only stays at this job because we have to make money, and he feels like there isn't another job out their that will use his specific skills, not break his back, pay him at least the same amount he is getting now, AND take him off nights. His main concern right now is getting a paycheck so we can buy food and pay the bills. And he will do it till it kills him. So anything else has fallen by the wayside.
Lately my little brother has been mowing our lawn for us, just out of the goodness of his heart, to keep my husband from hurting his back even more, and to keep me from having to do it while pregnant. I have been so grateful for his help. But he has a life too, and just got a job. He hardly has any time to himself anymore, let alone to come a half hour out of his way to mow my lawn. The last time he came, he was sick. You could see physical drain on his face. He was totally willing to mow, but I couldn't let him. He had already mowed my sister's lawn and brought the mower back to me. I told him not to worry about it. Then every time we thought my husband could do it, something came up. It had now been an entire month since we had mowed. There were spots in the yard that came up past my knees.
When I'm pregnant, I don't handle heat. If the sun is out, I don't want to be outside for more than 10 minutes. Anything more than that and I risk feeling like passing out. Today, it was cloudy. Cloudy and cool. It's been in the lower 70's. And I knew, if I had a chance to get the lawn mowed, it was today. We put Daddy to bed in the morning, then all of us ate breakfast. I puttered around our disaster of a house for a while, and made sure to hydrate myself. Then I put the 1 and 2 year olds down for a nap. Big breath, now I have to clean the yard before I can mow it. Bending over, when you have a basketball sized lump in the way, is not easy. I got the front yard done, with the help of the kids, then pulled out the mower. Easy right, just like walking.....while you push a stroller through the amazon.
Big breath, yep, it needs to be done. Just do it and it will be over with. Mower starts up easy enough, then I begin. The whole time I'm thinking to myself, 'You really shouldn't be doing this. But seriously, who else is going to do it. That's why you put on your brave shirt, remember?' I start mowing the lawn, one strip at a time. After about 5 passes, I stop and take a breather for a bit. 'No big deal. Just take your time. It isn't hot, it's just work, work that has to be done.' Then I wonder how many of my neighbors are watching me with my pregnant belly thinking, "She must be crazy" or "Finally, someone is mowing that horrible lawn" or "Poor girl, too bad she has to mow that lawn by herself" Then I start wondering, if anyone is watching me thinking that they should come help. Yep, that's what should happen, someone should see this crazy pregnant woman mowing her lawn and say, "you shouldn't be doing that" then take over.
'Yeah right! No one is going to do that. Just face the facts, it needs to be done, and you are the only one who can do it right now.' I keep pressing on. All the while yelling at my kids to stay away from the grass blowing out the side of the mower. Luckily they found a frog so most of them stayed occupied. I keep going, line by line up my lawn. 'It wouldn't have been so bad had I decided to do this 2 weeks ago....when the grass would actually fit under the mower....wait, where are the kids?' I'm starting to see some progress with the lawn, at least if I pooped out people would know that I started it. I look in the back yard and my boys are there with a neighbor kid making a habitat for their little frog. 'At least they aren't trying to play in the grass coming out of the mower.'
Then I look up. The neighborhood boy's Grandpa is walking up the street. I figure he is just here to check on his grandson, I motion to him that his grandson is in the back, then he says something that I can't hear. I turn off the mower, "Would you like me to finish that for you? How about you just let me do the rest, you look like you were struggling with it a bit." Apparently I was stressed out. I almost immediately flooded with tears. I held them back long enough to turn over the mower, and thank him. I walked in the house and just as I shut the door, I leaned against the wall and sobbed. This guy didn't have to do that. As I sank to the floor crying I realized that I have been way more stressed than I was letting myself believe. I didn't know HOW stressed until I was offered help.
He didn't have to do it. I didn't ask for help. I could have finished it on my own and been just fine. I didn't even know his name when he began to mow the lawn, but he did it out of love for a neighbor. He had no idea what I have been dealing with this week, all he knew was that this pregnant woman was mowing her lawn for some reason, and probably shouldn't do it herself. It is so heartening to know that there are people out their who care for others. For no other reason than it is the right thing to do. After he was done with the lawn I thanked him again and all the kids came out at the same time asking for something from me. He looks at me and says, "you really do have your hands full." I don't think he knew I had 6 kids until today. He knew I had at least three, but when he saw all six he glimpsed a bit into my daily life. You could tell he was tired from mowing. Our lawn is not the easiest to do, but his eyes looked as if to say, it's better that I'm tired than this mom who is overwhelmed. I am so grateful, for this kind and generous man. He took time out of his day just to keep me from overworking myself. He was an answer to a silent prayer.
Just remember, when you are out and about, people do things for a number of reasons. Even if they look like they are handling things on the outside, they may be close to tears on the inside. Never be afraid to step up and help. Don't let them tell you no either, they will say no out of pride, but they still need help, and you may just be their answer to prayer.