Thursday, April 9, 2015

Reba Pearl Lane

My hero, and best friend is with her Heavenly Father now.
You don't have to hurt anymore, Grandma
I cried myself to sleep last night for the first time in years.  There is something physically painful about heart break.  I haven't hurt like this in a long time.  In fact, I don't know if I ever have.  As I sit here writing this, my grandma is fighting for her life.  She has been fighting for years, and has amazed all of us with how long she has held on and the strength she has shown.

Reba Pearl Lane was born on January 15, 1936 to Delbert Oliver Adair and Tulane Idella (Sharp) Adair.  She passed away peacefully, in her home, April 9, 2015.  She grew up in Colorado and western Kansas, and was joined by a younger brother, Lloyd, and a younger sister, Lois.
In 1953 she married Ivan Mark Selleck.  They had two daughters, Constance Marie, and Carol Ann.  The couple later divorced.  In the 1960s she was working as a waitress in Hill City, KS, where she met Larry Lee Lane, and they later married.  The couple had two children, Christie Lea Lane, and Larry Lee Lane, Jr.  They raised their children in Meriden, KS, where they spent most of their married life until they moved to Topeka, KS in 1983.
She worked for Alco Stores, and Century United in Topeka.  She was an avid bowler, a great friend, and a loving mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, and an epic farmer on Farmville.
Survivors include her husband, Larry, of the home, a brother, Lloyd Adair of Grand Island NE, sister Lois Barnes of Lincoln, NE, daughters Connie and husband George Welborn, of Abilene, KS, Carol Selleck, of Peoria, AZ, and Christie Lane, of Fountain Hills, AZ, and son Larry and wife Janella Lane of Carbondale, KS.  Grandchildren, Misty Collins, Cora Cossel, Trevor Lane, and Lanae Lane, and 9 great grandchildren, nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles, and many friends. She was preceeded in death by her parents.

I just wrote my grandma's obituary.  And that doesn't even begin to sum up her life.  1936-2015.  But what is most important is that dash in there.  That "-" represents so much more than just the years in between.  It represents memories, and love, and the legacy of the family she left behind.  She struggled, and she made mistakes, and she was human.  She faltered, and righted herself, and she showed all of us how to survive.  She showed us how to really live life.  She showed us how to love.  She left me with memories that can never be replaced.  She showed me the importance of loving with my whole heart, and living life to the fullest, for we never know when God will call us home.  I never hurt without knowing that she was hurting for me, and I never had a triumph without knowing that she was behind me cheering me on the whole way.

When I publish this blog, it will mean that she has passed.  I won't publish it before.  I won't let her see me talk about her like she is already gone.  Because I want her to keep fighting.  I don't want her to think we have all given up on her.  Until she is gone, I will make as many memories with her as I can.  I will chose to remember the classy, beautiful working woman, in her suits, and her perfectly coiffed, colored hair, and her Mary Kay makeup.  I will remember the woman that sat with me in front of her mirror and helped me do my makeup, and play with my hair.  I will remember the woman that never told me that any of her high heels or dress clothes were off limits when I wanted to play dress up.  I will remember the woman that covered for me with my parents when I spilled nail polish on her brand new kitchen carpet.  I will remember the woman that cried like a baby when she had to spank me only one time in my life because I took a running jump onto her bathroom scale.  I will remember the woman that always kept raw hot dogs in the fridge for me, and cinnamon pop tarts for when I visited.  I will remember the safety I always felt in her arms, and the comfort I always found in her voice.  I will do my best to keep up her traditions, of thanksgiving, and never forgetting a birthday, or to send that $1 for every holiday.   I will do my best to carry on her legacy of love, but I don't know if I'm woman enough, those are very big high heels to fill.

I spoke with her last night, and had my grandpa hold the phone up to her ear.  I told her how very much I love her. And I promised her that I would take care of my mom and grandpa, and that it was ok to let go if she was tired.  That I would be ok, I made her that promise, so I can't break it.  I think she needed to hear those words, and I hope they brought her peace, but they were the hardest words I've ever spoken.

I think the poem that was read at my great grandma Adair's funeral is the most fitting verse to sum up how Grandma wanted her loved ones to receive the news of her passing, so I'm going to share it all with you, and hope that I can look back and find some sort of comfort while I grieve the loss of my very best friend.

"Miss Me But Let Me Go"

When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no rites in a gloom-filled room
Why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little-but not too long
And not with your head bowed low
Remember the love that we once shared
Miss me-but let me go

For this is a journey that we all must take
And each must go alone.
It's all part of the Master's plan
A step on the road to home

When you are lonely and sick of heart
Go to the friends we know
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds
Miss me but let me go.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Why I'm glad I fought with my parents

I was my parents' challenge child.  I always tested my limits, whether it was with my curfew, my sharp tongue, or defiant mannerisms, my parents always knew when I was or wasn't happy with something.  To say that my relationship with my parents has been a bit of a volatile one over the years would be a bit of an understatement.  Some would say it is because I am too much like my dad, a statement that both he and I deny fully. 

When I was a senior in high school, I actually ended up moving out when I turned 18.  I'm sure my parents and I remember this situation two completely different ways, so I will save everyone the gory details, but after a few months on my own, I did return home for summer.  Also, several years later, when I was going through some major changes in life, there was another rather large falling out.  This one was a doozy.  While I didn't have much to do with my parents during this time frame, there was still some what of a relationship because they were still involved with the kids.  I never kept them from my kids.  I may not have said a single word to them when they came over to see them, or if I took the kids over there, but I never stood in the way of a relationship with them. 

But it has been through these ups and downs that I have truly learned an appreciation for my parents.  See, I know that I can do things on my own.  I have proven that to myself.  Things were hard without them when there was distance, but I made it through each day.  I provided food for my kids, I met theirs and my basic needs, and I had friends for emotional support. And while I got through it, at the end of the day, I still really missed my parents.  I feel like maybe those years of conflict were put in place to prepare me for some times in my life that were yet to come.  Conflict sometimes helps us get things off of our chest that we might not in another situation.  It allows us to let out our true feelings.  Conflict shows us that it's ok to disagree, and even flat out fight, but at the end of the day we can still come together, and realize that even if we don't always see eye to eye, we still always love each other.  And it is through all of this conflict that:

I realized that I don't NEED my parents.

But I also realized I really WANT them.

My mom was recently in a pretty horrific car accident.  She has months, if not years of rehab and surgeries ahead of her.  And when she is recovering, and physically rehabbing, she will need someone to push her.  This might be where I come into play.  See, I'm not scared to make her mad.  I have always pushed her.  I have never been one to tell her what she wants to hear.  I have always been the one to tell it like it is.  She may have to get mad, plain furious, to get through some of these times.  Some times, anger can be a great motivator, a very strong driving force.  We may have to scream at each other, push each other, remind each other that this isn't going to be a walk in the park.  But then, I can follow it up with the comfort and grace that she has always shown me.  I can be harsh and blunt, but 9 times out of 10 it comes from a good place within my heart.  Sometimes my delivery can be a bit abrasive, and I may not even realize how I sound until after it has left my mouth, but I'm always honest.  I won't lie, or sugar coat things to the people I love.  So I will be honest with her.  And I will push her to push her limits.  I will challenge her physically when she is ready to start building her strength back up.  And I will do it all out of love.

So maybe in a sense I am like my dad.  He was always the one to tell me how it is.  To push me when I didn't want to be pushed.  And we all know he isn't in the business of sugar coating things.  But I also believe that he was coming from a place of very deep love.  Since mom's accident I have seen a side of my dad that I haven't seen in years.  He was scared.  And some times he lashes out when he's scared.  And at first, he seemed almost mad when he got to the hospital.  But it didn't take me long to realize it was because he was worried about my mom.  He has been fighting for her, and protective of her.  He has been soft and caring, more affectionate, and yet cracking jokes to ease the tension when we are all on edge.  He has been the dad I remember from my childhood.  I guess if I am a little like him, I'm perfectly ok with that.

So I will never regret these fights.  In the long run, as funny as it sounds, they gave me a deeper appreciation for my parents.  I'm sure that I acted in some ways that I wouldn't be proud of, and I'm sure if I could do it again there are some things I might change.  But I feel like in a sense, these trying times deepened my relationship with my mom and dad.  Like I said, I don't need them, but I have officially realized how much I really, really want them.
My mom and I with our rock

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Mom's road to recovery

Oh I don't even know where to start.  This last week has been a blur.  So much  information and medical terminology has been thrown my way that my mind is overloaded.

Mom's midevil torture device that was removed sunday
Mom is still in Wichita at Wesley Medical Center.  Thus far she has undergone two surgeries, the first on Tuesday morning, which ended up being not nearly as repairative as they were hoping, they were only able to put in external pins because of the swelling on her leg.  This apparatus looked like some sort of torture device.  However it stabilized some of the bones in her leg until they could do go in and repair some things.  The 2nd surgery ended up happening unexpectedly at 7:30 this last Sunday morning.  Dad and I were both getting ready to head up there, and weren't able to be there for the actual surgery as they took her in before either of us could make it to the hospital.  But at least that eliminated the pacing of the halls on our part.  This time, they were only able to repair the tibia, and the took off the external stabilizer that was attached on Tuesday.  At the end of this surgery, she ended up with a couple of plates, and 11 screws on her tibia alone.  They weren't able to repair her fibula as the tissue and bone are still way too bruised.  There are plenty more surgeries to come.

Some of the plates and screws in mom's right tibia
They are hoping to get her moved to Salina Regional Health Center possibly as soon as today so she can hang out a little closer to home until her next surgery.  From what I understand, they are taking it on a week by week basis.  They will see her back next week at Wesley and see if the swelling and bruising has lessened enough to be able to repair any of the other breaks and fractures.  By the time this is all said and done, it sounds like Mom will have enough metal in her right leg to set off TSA alarms at the airport.  They are also saying that when they get to repairing the ankle, she will have to have so many screws, pins etc, that she will have very limited mobility of her ankle, and will not have any side to side mobility.  But she is very insistent that she WILL walk again.

I spent the last two days with her in Wichita, and I think it did her good to see the kiddos.  Spending two days straight in the hospital was a lot for them, but they were very good, and they needed to see her as much as she needed to see them.  We got to go have dinner with my good friend Becky and her family Sunday night, and that was something I had been meaning to do for months now, so thanks for the excuse to get down there to see them, Momma!!

Mom's feet wrapped up post-surgery No. 2
Ok, so there's the physical updates I have so far.  On the emotional side of things, I must say that I am so proud of my mom.  She is such a go-getter, that I have been so worried about her being down for as long as she potentially may be.  But she has actually been the one keeping me going.  She keeps assuring me that she's ok, that her spirits are good, and that she's not in very much pain.  She's getting on facebook to pass the time, and taking phone calls, and "micro-momaging" me (a loving little term I coined for her) from her hospital bed as well as she always did from home.  We are trying to keep things in order like she always did, and although we probably aren't doing as good of a job as she always does, at least we had a good teacher.  I have been checking the mail and the cards are flooding in.  I think through all of this mom is going to realize just how many lives she has touched over the years, and how many people love and care about her.  She is lucky to be surrounded by friends and family that love her, and are willing to do whatever needs done to help at this point.  You know, when something like this happens, so many people say "let me know if there's anything I can do to help", and honestly, sometimes you know that it's just a courtesy.  It's the right thing to say.  But I honestly believe that the help we have been offered this past week has all been very genuine, and for that, I want to thank everyone who has reached out from the bottom of my heart.  At one point last Tuesday, I had over 70 unanswered text messages and over 30 facebook private messages on my phone.  The support has been overwhelming, and very heart warming.  But keep it coming.  This is going to be a very long process.  And while we may not need a ton of help right now, I get the feeling that when she does finally get to come home is when we may start calling in some of those favors.

But for now, all I am focusing on is counting my blessings.  My kids weren't in that car.  My mom is still on this earth, and eventually will be walking it again.  And she was also in a car that withstood that impact.  Some of those other cars that were scattering the shoulder of the road that night wouldn't have survived hitting that beam.  And while I hate to see my mom in pain, the alternative of her, or someone else losing their lives that night is unthinkable.  This will be a very long road, but she WILL be ok eventually.  And for that, I am so grateful.

I also want to say thank you to all of the Dickinson County EMS, Fire and other First Responders that were there that night.  You did your job very well.  You kept everyone else safe, and all things considered, the scene was not nearly as chaotic as it could have been.  You did your best to keep my mom calm, and me calm, and seeing some familiar faces was comforting.  I have had several of them contact me and check on my mom, and it's nice to know that these people out there protecting us and rescuing us truly do care.  They are out there for the right reasons.  Keep up the good work, you're awesome!

I will update when I know more, but right now it's an awful lot of "hurry up and wait".  But I'm ok with waiting on mom at this point, I've been doing it my whole life :).

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Mom's Wild Ride

God sometimes has a very funny way of reminding us just how human we all are.

I got a phone call tonight that they say most parents dread, but in my case, it's the phone call every child dreads too.  My phone rang, it displayed "Momma Cell" so I answered in a goofy voice, expecting her to tell me that she made it home safely from visiting my grandparents in Topeka, and instead I am greeted with a man's voice asking if this is Cora.  My heart dropped to my stomach instantly, when he started telling me she had been in an accident on the highway.  All I could hear was chaos, and her screams in the background.  He told me she would be ok, and to meet them at Abilene hospital, which told me they were close to home.  I asked where it happened, and when he told me it was only 3 miles from Abilene, I told him I was on my way.  What I pulled up to is something I never expected.

Saying a prayer of Thanks that God wasn't quite ready to
call her home.
My mom's driving is an ongoing joke with our family.  When my mom and sister took a road trip together back in November the joke was "They'll get there safe as long as Misty drives".  One time, I remember nearly crawling out of the window because she began swerving like crazy, and when I screamed and asked her what she was doing she yelled back "Well.... the line on the side of the road was all... crooked".  So we lovingly tease her about her driving "skills" on a next to daily basis.  However, she had never had a major incident.  Not like this one.

When I pulled on to the interstate all I saw were red and blue lights.  There were fire trucks, ambulances, state troopers, wreckers.  I just pulled up in to the middle and ran to what I assumed to be her van, and followed the sound of her cries.  I dropped to my knees, told her I was there, and looked up and thanked God that I was listening to the sound of her voice.  They had just put the fire out on her van.

Everything that transpired after that was kind of a blur.  Hearing my mom cry out in pain like that is not something I'm accustomed to.  She has always been the caretaker for me, and having the tables turned was not something I was prepared for.  They got her loaded, in the process of which it became very clear that her leg was severely broken.  Then they took her to Abilene via the ambulance.  After they pulled off, I walked over to her van, and saw two of my kids' booster seats laying in the middle of the highway.  And I said another prayer of thanks that my babies were safe at home.

From what we can deduct happened, a semi in front of her lost it's load of steel beams.  Mom said she saw the cab of the semi out of the corner of her eye to her left, and then she hit a beam head on at 75 MPH, rolled, and landed in the median, where her van caught fire.  From what I could see, it was basically unavoidable.  My mom had several guardian angels looking out for her last night.  A man, pulled her out of that van when it caught fire.  And after they got her out, a woman sat with her until the EMT's got there, and prayed with her.  For anyone who knows my mom, you know how strong her faith is.  This was exactly what she needed in that exact moment.  I hugged the woman, and she even cried with me, and now, I'm kicking myself for not getting her name.  But to the man that pulled my mom out, and to that woman who prayed with her, whoever you are, THANK YOU.  You were her guardian angels last night, and words can not express my gratitude.

She was transported to Salina Regional Medical Center where the surgeons looked at the x-rays and told her that the break was beyond anything they felt they could fix.  So around 1 AM this morning, they transferred her on to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, KS where a team of surgeons is going to see if they can piece back together her shattered leg.  We don't know the extent of the damage, but right now they are saying that her right tibia is shattered, her right ankle is broken, her right foot is broken, and both her right and left heels are broken.  She went in for what they called "the first of multiple" surgeries this morning.  She will have a very long road ahead of her, but she is alive.  And I am so grateful for that.  My dad is going to have to brush up on his nursing skills!

Looking at her van in the daylight, she is a very lucky woman.  She had someone looking out for her.  A very important woman to me gave me a visor clip for my first car when I first started driving.  It was and angel and it said "Dear Lord, please protect me and all who I pass by, and remind me never to drive faster than my guardian angel can fly".  I am glad my mom's guardian angels were keeping up with her van last night.  They definitely worked some overtime.  Thank you everyone for all of the calls, texts, messages, and kind words.  Keep the prayers coming.  It sounds like she will need a lot of them.

It's just a car mom,  and it did it's job, it kept you safe.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Rare Disease Day 2015

Merriam-Webster defines rare as a :  marked by unusual quality, merit, or appeal :  distinctive

b :  superlative or extreme of its kind. defines it as "usually excellent; admirable; fine." states that it takes millions of years for crystals to form in nature and only a fraction of those will ever be found, mined, and cut into gemstones. 

The rarest gems tend to be valued the highest.  We can search nature, and may never find one of these rare, precious stones.  In fact, wealth used to be measured by the amount of these precious gems that one possessed.  

The first time I held my precious baby in my arms.
She was 5 days old. 1/20/03 
When I began the journey of motherhood, you could compare it to a fisherman.  Here I was, dragging my net, and when I finally opened an oyster, it held inside that rare, precious pearl. 

My rare gem came in the form of my Ashlynne.  Twelve years ago when she was born with a rare disease called Ichthyosis en Confetti, I didn't realize the wealth she would bring to my life.  I thought of all of the things that she might not be able to do, rather than all of the things that she could do, and all of the greatness and awe she would bring into my life.

Fewer than 20 people are documented to have this particular type of Ichthyosis.  Ichthyosis is rare enough, and Ichthyosis en Confetti has been considered one to be extremely rare.  Many people tend to be leery of things that are rare.  "Fear of the unknown" is a common phrase most people are familiar with.  But through life experiences that I have learned from being Ashlynne's mommy, I have come to embrace rare. 

Today is Rare Disease Day.  And today, I am celebrating rare.  Rare is beautiful.  Rare is anything but typical.  Ashlynne is rare, but that's not what makes her extraordinary.  She is special because she is Ashlynne!

Alone we are rare.  Together we are strong!

Celebrate rare with us! Celebrate You!!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tiptoeing around words...

"Oh she's gorgeous!" and "Oh... how precious".  As a mom, you know the difference in these two phrases when they are used in reference to your baby.  Especially when you have a child with a visual difference, or special needs.  And of course, I was and sometimes still am, super sensitive to the differences in wording.  Looking back, I almost feel sorry for the people that were caught off guard, and didn't know what to say.  They were trying to be polite.  But it was there.  The akwardness they felt, and them choosing their words carefully when seeing my baby for the first time.  But "It's ok", I wanted to say.  "It's ok that you don't know what to say, I go home every day and tell her how beautiful she is."  Yes, she is precious, and she's beautiful too!

Ashlynne with our friend Bailey, who is an
absolute beauty, inside and out
Of course my friends and family knew before they met her that her skin was going to be a little redder than most, and that she would have dry flakes of skin, and gobs of lotion on.  People were nice enough to let each other know, so they weren't caught off guard, and they were prepared.  But what was I supposed to do, put a sign on the front of her stroller to advertise to strangers before they approached?  To warn them of my child's visual difference?

It used to hurt so bad, cut deeper than they knew, to hear people tip toe around their words when asking about Ashlynne's skin disorder.  "JUST SAY IT!!", I wanted to scream.  Just ask why she's so red, ask why she has such dry skin, ask why she has little skin flakes on her clothes, ask about the lotion!!  It's not like I haven't noticed myself.  Sometimes I just wanted to yell at people and ask them to stop treating it like the giant elephant in the room.

I've heard it said before that the quick look aways hurt more than the stares, and the comments.  I had never thought about this, but once I did, I realized how true it was.  How hurtful it can be that people would rather look away and pretend she doesn't exist rather than just ask tactfully what she is afflicted with. I want to show her off to the world, because I am proud of her.

She was, and still is, my miracle baby.  When I look at Ashlynne, or any other child with Ichthyosis, or any other visual difference for that matter, there is nothing to me that is more beautiful.  Some of them are lucky to be alive.  They are fighters.  She came into this world fighting.  First, fighting for her life, and now fighting for a "normal" life.  And they have now taught their mommies and daddies, and siblings to be fighters as well.  And so much of their beauty lies in how much they are teaching those of us around them.  They are teaching us patience, acceptance, and understanding.  They are teaching us to look deep inside ourselves and reevaluate what we thought was important.  They are teaching to really, REALLY look at what it means to be beautiful.  They are true INSPIRATIONS!!

My goofy, funny, beautiful, precious daughter
My daughter has a shock of golden blonde curls, and strikingly blue eyes, and lips that are oh so kissable.  But these are just her physical features that make her beautiful.  She has compassion, a sharp sense of humor, she is a good sister, and a great friend (just ask her best friend).  She loves babies, and animals, and sports.  She likes to pull pranks, and tag me in silly Facebook posts, and fight with me about clothes.  She likes to do chores to earn money, and she has started to love cooking.  She is patient, and loving, and FUNNY!  And all of this, is beautiful to me, and to many others that have been blessed to know her, or any other special needs child.  Special needs kids tend to look at the world in a different light.  The slower pace of life helps the people closest to them "stop and smell the roses".  To me that is beautiful AND precious.  So I no longer choose to take offense to the careful wordage people have used.  You're right, she is precious, and so many other things.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I'm close enough to perfect for them

Sometimes, to call me a good mom would really be stretching it.  I slip, and have potty mouth moments in front of my kids, I laugh at inappropriate jokes in front of them, sometimes I'm even the one cracking them.  I break my own rules, I over sleep, I forget what day it is, I boycott cooking on Sunday nights, I forget to sign homework, I sometimes make them pack their own lunches, and sometimes I have my lazy days where I don't want to play outside.  On some of my days off, I'm lucky if I shower by the time I have to pick them up from school.

I won't even try to deny the fact that I have bribed my 3 year old with candy.  I have had countless moments where I had to eat the words "my kids will never do that", and I have been that mom with the screaming toddler walking through the mall.  I have also, in some of my weaker moments, given in to them because it was the "easier thing to do" and to keep them from a meltdown.  And, I have most definitely been embarrassed.  In one of my most embarrassing mom moments,  the baby pool was actually shut down and drained because my child used it as a toilet and shared his digested corn with all of the other swimmers.

But I try my hardest.  I do whatever I feel in my gut is the best decision at the time.  Sometimes it's not the right one.  That's the beauty of life, you live and learn.  And you know what?  So far, that's always good enough for them.  They have nothing else to compare me to, so in their eyes, I'm the best mom ever!  And I try my hardest to live up to the image they have of me in their eyes.  They're alive, and healthy, and well taken care of.   And I know that I'm at least doing an "ok" job, when at the end of the night, my nine year old boy wants to cuddle with me for the last few minutes before bed time.  Don't get me wrong, he would NEVER do this in front of his friends, and he will probably want to strangle me when and if he ever goes back and reads this, but I'm still his safe place.  And that makes my heart happy.

My dad loves music.  And I, ever his sidekick growing up, became a huge music fan myself.  There is a song by Alabama called "Close Enough To Perfect" that I have always loved.  Because if you really listen to they lyrics, it doesn't have to be just about a romantic love, it really could be about anyone you love. None of us are without fault.  And this song hits the nail on the head.  We are full of faults, but we are all worth loving.  Even us moms that mess up from time to time.

But even with all of my faults, my kids know I love them.  I tell them every chance I get. I know no matter what, I always have to keep trying to show them.  Because I will be the standard by which they parent.  Good or bad.  If nothing else, they will know what not to do because of my mistakes.  And I let them see me make mistakes.  I screw up, and they need to know that.  They need to know that it's ok to not be perfect.  It's ok to have squabbles with people you love, and resolve them, and at the end of the day, you still love each other.  I am not scared to let my children see me mess up, because even with all of my faults, I'm still close enough to perfect for them.