My Rainbow Promise
(It all started with Family Fun)
Written on April 29, 2009 – 1,193 words
By Michelle Fozounmayeh
Yesterday morning my Facebook status read, “Faxing, phoning, dropping off kids, picking up kids”. By early afternoon I had almost everything checked off, only picking up my son Frederick was left. I sat in the pre-school parking lot contemplating my next to do list. It all felt like too much, like a storm of responsibilities were about to over take me. I was reminded of when Jesus and his disciples were in a boat together. He slept below deck as a storm was brewing. The waves came up and splashed against the boat. I imagined the waves with mouths of their own, I’m going to eat you up . . . . . I’m the evaluation you needed to fill out, I’m the traffic ticket you got for talking on your cell, I’m the consistent pain in your back! Playing out the story in my mind I could see the disciples in a panic, “Wake up Jesus!” OK, I thought as I sat in the parking lot. I know you calm the waters Lord but I’m still swimming in my to do list! Suddenly I could hear the faint memory of my son’s voice saying, “Member Pirates Caribbean?”
My mind wondered off. Three years ago we started regular family fun nights using a box filled with our own ideas. The best ideas came from the kids. Drawing a family picture together, playing Simon Says or having a game night. I could feel a smile creep across my face as I replayed a game of Charades. My husband pretended to be my daughter. She in turn pretended to be my son. And my son pretended to be lots of things unaware that it all looked the same. I could hear the laughter, caught up in the moment I giggled out loud. The sound of my own voice brought me back to sitting in my car. It takes discipline for family fun nights to occur. Sadly I have found myself trying to skip the idea box. With my to do list overtaking my energy, reading books and going to bed early seemed much easier for my brain to process. That faint sound of my son’s voice grew a bit louder, “Member Pirates Caribbean?”
Allowing this day dream to continue I thought about our number one family fun day, using our annual Disneyland passes. One idea from our box was to have each of us choose one ride. What genuine excitement it created, not to mention eliminating fits for the kids “not getting their way”. My daughter was so thrilled that she became the keeper of the events. My son’s choice, the Pirates of the Caribbean, seemed to make her more excited then he was, “Frederick, we are doing YOUR family fun choice!”
My day dream suddenly cut short by my phone ringing. It was my husband. He asked me how the faxing, phoning, dropping off and picking up were going. I giggled and reported that I was on the last one. As I hung up the phone I was reminded of how easy it was to have the to do list become more prevalent then the list of our family fun ideas. “Member Pirates Caribbean?”
I wonder what my Facebook status update would have been in August of 2007, days away from my son’s 3rd birthday? I had watched him in the hospital bed next to me. He had been enduring a fight to stay alive and I was in the middle of a storm. The waves had big ugly mouths and were shouting at me, “Did you go to enough specialists? Could you have pushed for more blood work? Did you really listen to your instincts? Did God choose the right mom for this job?” On my way to admit him to the hospital, my gut feeling said this was more then just a 15 day flu. Still I was numb at midnight on that first day in the hospital when I was told that his kidneys were not working.
For the next few days we were flooded with doctors, specialist, decisions, surgeries and a boy hanging onto life. A storm vastly different then the day to day challenges of a to do list. I wanted to comfort and protect my little boy. I could see him closing off the world to protect himself from the pain and violation he was experiencing, “Maybe if I close my eyes and hide under the covers the monsters will go away.” I never felt such a helpless feeling in all my life. I needed a rainbow promise. Like the one Noah and his family experienced after the largest storm in history. Come on Lord, WAKE UP!
Lost in the memory, I saw Frederick’s eyes open in that bed just like the day it had happened. I could tell that his wheels were turning. Resisting the urge to say he was doing so good . . . . which is what I had been singing to him for the last few days. Instead I just observed him thinking and pondering. What could be going through his head? He looked up at me. I smiled. And then he spoke to me in a weak voice, words that I will never forget. “Mom.”
“Member Pirates Caribbean?”
I heard it loud and clear. My heart in my throat, “Yes honey, I do remember Pirates of the Caribbean!”
To think, that God was using our family fun moments to comfort my boy in the midst of the hardest struggle he had ever had to endure. He used them to intervene in Frederick’s anguish, placing hope on his heart in a way that only he could understand. What a beautiful rainbow promise! As Frederick and I reminisced together God also whispered in my ear, you are doing everything right. Don’t fret about what you could have or should have done. You ARE the perfect mom for this boy. I’m on the deck. Take courage, I’m the great comforter! I’m the great healer!
A car pulled up beside me which jolted me back to the parking lot of my son’s pre-school. I looked at my watch, time to pick up that little guy. I heard again whispers of truth, do the best you can and let me do the rest. Your actions are sweet smelling sacrifices to me. I accept it all and use it for the good of what is to come. “Let go and let God” I told myself as I opened the car door. The daily storms of our life will pass. As I walked to the front gates of Frederick’s pre-school I felt as if Jesus himself had yet again climbed up deck and demanded those waves to stop yelling at me. BE STILL! There were more important things to think about. Thank you Lord for my rainbow promise! Help me take joy in doing the things with and for my family that creates the kind of memories that last. Later that day my Facebook status was not a list of things to do. It read “Islands for Dinner!” It was Frederick’s choice. Family fun night was back!