Saturday, Lindsey's actual birthday and a day that should have been filled with complete joy, was one of the more difficult days to get through since we started this journey. It was also Lexie's birthday and we have been praying for a long time for her brother Cole to not die, especially not on her birthday. Lexie is a super strong big sister and her wish for the last two years as he's been battling cancer has been for Cole not to die. No child should have to wish this for their sibling; they should be making silly wishes like "I wish I were Cinderella" or "I wish I were a fireman!" But no, we're in the midst of fighting for our kids' lives and we're wishing and praying, just as other families, that our children get the chance to make their own wishes, to dress up like Cinderella, to become a fireman, to live and not to die.
The easy or short answer to "How's everything going?" is usually something along the lines of "Ingram's done with treatment and his post-treatment scans were clear. The girls are doing great and having fun at school but looking forward to being on break." And then we talk more and everyone talks about how much money the girls have raised for St. Jude and how proud of them we must be and we agree and that lasts for a little while and then everyone moves on to another topic. But the thing is, that's the fake answer that we think everyone wants to hear because we don't think anyone wants to hear the ugly reality that is our life. We assume no ones wants get down in the dumps with us and have to think about the things we think about all day long. And even if they do, we don't want to bring everyone down into the dumps by telling them what we really think about all day.
The long answer is a little more difficult and not one that we talk much about with other people, but it's been coming out more and more in the form of tears and meltdowns the more we realize how awful cancer is. Some days, tears are flowing all day long even though things with Ingram are going well at the time. The long answer is also hidden from the rest of the world because I guess it's just easier to give the short answer. Maybe we've been wrong to hide the reality and ugliness of cancer all this time, but we're just now really understanding it and understanding how dreadful it really is.
So here goes the long answer, but feel free to not read it; I'm sure there's a lot of rambling too. The truth is that although we've been holding everything together, we've been struggling...a lot. These last eight months have been a living nightmare and we have no end in the sight. Even though Ingram has completed treatment, our cancer is not one that they ever use the term "remission" on because of the aggressive nature of it. And, we live with the constant fear of that. We know that Ingram will be okay and that God is in control and that God loves Ingram more than we do, but we also know the realities of cancer in the lives that it has already taken in our short eight months of battling for Ingram's life. We feel alone (even though we know we're not), we feel left out (even though we know we're not), and we feel forgotten (even though we know we're not). We feel like the world is moving along without us. But that's okay, because at the end of the day we want to be together... all of us... everyday. We don't want to know what it's like to be a family of four because we're a family of five. We don't want to feel like we "have" to make the most of every moment in case something changes on the next scan. But we already feel that way and choose very carefully what we're going to spend our time doing. We don't want to get so busy with "stuff" that we look back one day and say that we wished we did this differently because know there is the possibility we may not have that chance again.
We know that even though our girls are having a hard time they are going to be okay and that they have been equipped by God to be able to handle everything they are going through with Ingram. They have good days and bad days and we treasure the good, the bad, and the ugly that they go through because of their deep love for Ingram. They get frustrated with everything and tell us he's spoiled because of cancer; but, at the same time they thank God for allowing them to show God's love to others.
Ingram is a definite cure-all for when we're having our "moments" or a bad day. He'll sneak up and give a "love pat" that will knock us into next week! Or he'll wake up the house at 7:00 a.m. with his "vusedilla" (vuvuzela). He also seems to have the right thing to say to us at the right moment which is so amazing since he's only 4! Sometimes he just says out of the blue, "Hey ma, I lub my whole family." He's also been equipped by God to draw others near to Him through his battle with cancer. God created Ingram as a loving fireball that people just can't resist; we know this because we've seen how people react to him and how he can make anyone smile in any situation.
|Happy Birthday Sweet Lindsey!|
You Bring So Much To Our Family!
We Love You!
|I Wonder What You're Wishing For Right Now??|
|Madison And Her Mississippi State Bulldog!|
|Lindsey And Her Bulldog!|
Right At Home With The Paints!
|Oh Yeah! |
During The Fashion Show With The Cousins,
Ingram Totally Could Pass As A Girl!
|The Talent Portion Of The Fashion Show!|
Can You Guess What Dance They're Doing?
|A Hint Of Some Holiday Traditions To Come!|
|He's Holding Me Together More And More These Days!|
|Daddy's Project Begins With The Kids!|
|Ingram Is The Official PVC Pipe Purple Stuff Distributor!|
|Looks Like Lindsey Could Cause Some Trouble With The Rubber Cement!|
|Madison Lends Her Expertise In The Finishing Touches Of Stage 1 Of The Project!|
|The Latest Addition To The Dismuke Christmas Decorations...|
A Twinkling Star Hanging In The Tree Made By All Four Kids...Yes Including Craig!