Final, a New Beginning

via Daily Prompt: Final

The word final can seem so absolute and concrete. An ending. Over. Finished. Done.

But I tend to think of it as new beginnings. An ending paving the way for new things to come.

After the car accident, I felt like our lives would never be the same. And it wasn’t. It was a final chapter in our lives. Our son Jackson, only 6-years-old, would never walk again. It was an ending in the most absolute of ways.

Yet, it was also a beginning in so many others. A chance for our family to learn the true value of our blessings. To be thankful for all that we did have and to cherish the time we had together. We think of our lives in two stages. BW (Before the Wreck) and AW (After the Wreck). It is a time marker set in our family’s history forever.

But, we have a choice: to mourn all that our family lost and dwell on the fact that Jackson will never walk again, or… we can choose to live life the same way Jackson does, full of joy and happiness, cherishing every day as a new beginning.

Sometimes, You Just Have to Bail

As we sat in the waiting room at Williamson County Medical Center, I looked back on the years that had lead us there. While playing football during Alex’s sophomore year, he tore his labrum. We also learned that he suffered from hip impingement. We always planned to have this surgery after he graduated high school so that he could continue to play sports. We just didn’t know at that point in time that he would end up having a wreck his senior year that would require multiple surgeries and alter the course of his life forever. There would never be any more sports for Alex.

And here we were, fixing to undertake another surgery that would take at least 6 months to heal. I couldn’t help but think that Alex had just now finally healed from all the other surgeries and hadn’t had any time to just be a normal teenage kid. I didn’t feel good about it, but he is 19-years-old. It is his body and his decision. I was ready to do whatever I needed to do to help him heal from this surgery.

All the way to the hospital Alex was extremely anxious. I knew that something was wrong, but like any other teenager, he would share it only when he was ready. This wasn’t his first time having surgery, but any other surgery he was absolutely ready. This time was different.

As we sat in the waiting room to go back to pre-op, patient after patient was taken back. Still, we waited. Alex grew more and more anxious. Finally, he looked at me and said, “What do you think about just leaving?” I had spent weeks trying to convince him to hold off on surgery and here he was suggesting leaving? I thought he was joking at first. When I realized he was serious, my heart jumped with hope. He explained that he didn’t feel going through with surgery was a good decision. God was telling him not to do it. That was all I needed to hear! We told the nursing staff that Alex had changed his mind and we bailed! We both left feeling like we had lost 100 pounds of weight off our shoulders.

I knew in my heart that this surgery wasn’t a good idea. Everything that had led up to this day had pointed towards not doing it. Scheduling it had been difficult to begin with. We had left message after message for the scheduler and it took weeks before she returned the message. The day before surgery, the surgeon’s office realized they didn’t have the referral from the correct doctor and we spent hours trying to fix it. We finally received the referral only 30 minutes before it was too late. Then, we had to wait while watching patient after patient being taking back for surgery, each time leaving us alone in the waiting area. These hurdles were God giving Alex more time to listen to Him.

I am so proud that I have a son who listens to his heart and what God is telling him. I don’t know what would have happened if Alex had the surgery. But, I know in my heart it was something that God didn’t want us to do, and I am so thankful that Alex listened. I am praying that Alex has the best summer he has ever had this year!

Love & blessings,

C.C. Andrews

Family Pictures

Family pictures with my bunch is always an ordeal. Trying to get everyone together at one place at the same time, without some other activity going on, is a nightmare. If outdoors, and ours always are, weather can force you to reschedule over and over again. You have to make sure everyone has clean clothing to wear, and that’s only after you have finally decided just what everyone is going to wear to begin with. And try taking a family picture with 5 boys! None of which likes to take pictures and grumbles about it the entire time. By the time you leave the house with what you hope are clean boys in clean clothes and brushed hair, you are about ready to pull all of yours out!

Since I don’t ask for much, this is one of those things I usually have to put my foot down on. Plus, threatening them within an inch of their lives usually does the trick. As my book is in the process of being published and the editor wants a current family picture, this was one of those times they all just had to suck it up. **Can’t believe I just typed “my book and published” in the same sentence** The only pictures we have with most of the family together after the accident was at Alex’s graduation last year. Not only was Justin in Japan during that time, but Jackson mean mugged the camera for every single picture. Every. Single. Picture. So, it was definitely time for a new family picture!

The editor needed the photo by the end of the week. Luckily, it was finally a beautiful day to take family pictures yesterday. By the time we all arrived at 6:30pm, my nerves were stretched to their breaking point. I just hoped that Kristy with Sweet Memento Photography would be able to capture at least one picture with everyone smiling. Isn’t it funny how sometimes when we are knee-deep in family gatherings or activities, we can only think about when its going to finally be over?!?! We forget sight of what is really most important. My family being together is what is most important, not taking the perfect family picture. So don’t feel jealous of those perfect family pictures you think everyone else has. Most likely, their family was just as frustrated behind the scenes of that perfect picture as I was yesterday.

As the sun was setting, she suggested the four boys that were in the accident face the sunset together. It was a surreal moment. Seeing them standing there instantaneously made me realize: they were all together! We were all together as a family! There were so many times that I wondered if that would ever be a true statement again. Once again, God reminded me when I was frustrated beyond my limitations, that I always have something to be thankful for: my family, not the perfect picture of my family!

Love & Blessings,

C.C. Andrews