The Hero of the Story

August. Exactly one year ago at this time I was laying flat on my stomach in a new bed on the second story of a new house in a new city in a new country. I was staring, bleary eyed, at my minuscule iPhone screen as I typed up what would become one of the original posts on this website, which was not yet officially in existence.

Now, 365 days and a lifetime later, I find myself regretting to inform you that the ease and productivity my familia pictured for our short return to the States has not quite lived up to our expectations. I would hardly call it ease at all: shortly following our epic Hume Lake trip, Mum was hit with a strange gall bladder issue and was forced to have it removed in surgery. This proved to be incredibly stressful and taxing as complications with the operation began to unfold. Mum was sent back to the hospital just days before our annual trip with 100 of Papa’s relatives and family-friends to Lake Mojave, the apex of every year despite our rivaling escapades abroad. Through sheer determination, Mum mustered the week in blazing Nevada heat even though our framily (friends turned family) here in Long Beach urged her not to. (At the same time, Mum’s dad- my Granpie- was in the hospital for knee surgery and drove to Texas from California on that knee right after he was discharged. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree apparently.)

Although the fire and all the egging on she does at the lake was sorely missed, the music was still boisterous, the boat was still fast, the nights were still thick and merry with impending drunkenness, and Mum got a lot of resting done. That week I learned two of my three poems placed in an HSLDA poetry contest, my first competition. Our blind eyes concerning homeschooling saw the light at the end of the tunnel thanks to Mum and her work.

But sure enough, sweet serenity slipped from us again the morning Mum relapsed with stroke-like symptoms- landing her back in the hospital for an additional, excruciating eight days. As her multiple conditions continue and more light is shed on the negligence of her doctors, Mum’s circumstances are increasingly dire and a case is developing. Living in the rocky unknown as Mum endures impossible pain, I try touching her arm to see if I can suck the suffering from her body into mine, like in the Bible when the beggar woman touches Peter’s coat to see if some of him would rub off on her. I actually believed it would work for a moment, so my beautiful Mum could be whole again.

Meanwhile, our framily on Litchfield street had long since pounced on the opportunity to make our lives easier for the total of a month Mum was away. Between endless visits to Mum, Lisa K., Lisa L., and Dana invited our troops to storm their homes, fed us, entertained us, and basically whittled away their days listening to Kanon and Kalin’s life-commentary on repeat. The Meyers brought us lunch, and the Parises baked us delicious muffins and took us to the beach. We are blessed beyond words to have the framily we do.

While we kids were off to our misadventures, Papa was the protagonist of our unlucky tale. Most nights, I would leave him typing and jotting and reading at the kitchen table, not to retire until 1 or 2 am after a full day of work. A lull in the settlement of cases is a hard hit for a family of eight, especially one looking to rent/sell their house, buy tickets to South America, move to Ecuador, pay hospital bills, and buy groceries. On top of that stress, Papa had all us kids to mediate while at home: computer time regulated, meals planned, cleaning the house. Life has its way of throwing curveballs, and as we daydream of our next journey to another home in a country I have never been, I can only look ahead to the calm on the horizon, and keep running to pass the time. But in the end, what is adventure without tribulation?

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