Last week I walked with my godfather. He and my godmother, my aunt and uncle, have always been some of my biggest cheerleaders. When I was a kid, they went through elaborate journeys to find me the perfect gifts I requested, whether that was a play tent, a croquet set, or a live toad.
My aunt also happens to have a physical disability, which causes partial paralysis on one side of her body and seizures, though she thankfully hasn’t had one in years.
The ironic thing is that we now take the same medication: for her it prevents seizures and for me it stabilizes my mood. Life is funny like that.
Her condition was caused by an anomaly in her heart, combined with the simple act of getting braces put on her teeth when she was a teenager. These days, the impact of dental work on your bloodstream is well understood, and if she had gotten braces today she would have simply been put on a course of antibiotics to avoid any complications.
But since that wasn’t common practice at the time, she ended up with a blood clot that lodged in her brain and led to a lifelong illness that has sent her to hell and back. She has a lot she could be angry about, but she always puts on a brave face and manages to greet me with fresh homemade cookies and a smile.
She and my uncle pray for me a lot.
They’ve both been able to empathize with me so much throughout my own journey, on so many different topics.
Medication changes, overcoming stigma, feeling like a burden to your spouse, feeling unbelievably grateful for your spouse, thinking you’ve found a solution only to have it stop working, and the emotional rollercoaster of wondering why something is happening to you.
Since I first got sick during the height of COVID, they weren’t allowed to visit me. Feeling helpless, they sent me a new letter practically every day for two weeks, just to let me know they were thinking about me.
I had to laugh a bit when I saw the familiar handwriting in the mailbox each day, but the message was clear- I was loved unconditionally.
They have been able to see Bailey so much less than I would have thought by this point in her life, but the times she has seen them have been wonderful. At an outdoor tea party on our deck, my aunt had Bailey in stitches while she sang Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. And when we finally got to go to their house, she found each tchotchke and stuffed animal on every shelf and carried them around, rearranging all the Snoopy and frog decorations that my godparents are famous for.
So I guess the main lesson my godparents have taught me is this: life doesn’t always look the way you want it to. You’re not always going to get the thing you want, or have the experience you envisioned. But you have to let a positive attitude drive the ship instead of placing your hardships at the wheel. There’s always someone who has it worse, particularly if they don’t have the love of family that we’ve been so blessed by.
And most importantly, they’ve been a shining example of how two people can be true partners in life. When I imagine my godfather grabbing my godmother’s hand and guiding her down the steps so she doesn’t trip and fall, I see true love and devotion in its purest form, and it brings me hope that, even if things get worse over the years, there are ways in which they just might get better too.
Thanks for Reading,
89 miles down, 11 miles to go