Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Rescuer

If asked to describe my dad in a single word, my answer might vary depending on the day.  If I was asked after getting in trouble in high school it would be "loquacious", as he daily gave me long lectures on my life choices (as any responsible parent does).  On a day that I'm exceptionally hypochondriacal, I might describe him as "knowledgeable" or "resourceful", as he always seems to know what is wrong with me or how to remedy it (usually with medicine he has in his pocket).  Other times, when I go on my typical rants about nothing, and my dad sits back with an eyebrow raised and arms crossed...on those days I would characterize him as "smug".  If you asked my friends, they would say he is nothing if not "mysterious" - among all my various social circles there are murmurings of his being in the CIA.

All these attributes aside, there is one word that truly encapsulates my dad and his role in my life: he has been my "rescuer".

When I was 14, I went on a mission to an Egyptian orphanage.  I had been gone for a total of about seven weeks, during which I communicated with family and friends solely by handwritten letters (and crappy postal systems).  It was finally time to go home. My team and I got to Charles de Gaulle airport only to find out that there had been a foiled terrorist attack in England.  This delayed our flight from France to New York by six or more hours. 

The French equivalent of the TSA went through each passenger's carry-ons individually before we could board. I paced nervously, my heart pounding from too many shots of espresso.  There is no way I will make my connecting flight home!
Worrying didn't add a single hour to my day, as it never does, and it did certainly didn't get me to the airport on time. I inevitably missed my connecting flight.  I was a tween stranded at JFK with a bunch of my friends who were about to make their own homecomings that I so longed for.  I found a payphone (866-CALL-ATT!) and called my mom to let her know the news.

"Hello?"  I immediately broke down at the familiar sound of my mother's voice.
"Our plane arrived late and now I've missed my flight and I need a new flight and I just want to be home," I blubbered through my uncontrollable sobs.

I will never forget my mom's calm reply.  "I know.  Dad is on a plane right now coming to get you. He'll be there to meet you in less than an hour."

Frantic tears turned into thankful tears.  I hung up the phone and literally jumped up and down with joy all over the airport.  Dad was coming to my rescue, in a big way.  He found his way to me and I ran to his safe embrace.  We left JFK for Newark and stopped at a diner where I scarfed down bacon and basked in this grand gesture of love. 

My dad has swooped in to "save" me several other instances throughout my life and I am so thankful.  I love you, Pops, and want to thank you for being such a godly example to your children: you have loved me unconditionally and, when I went astray, you always came to find me.  Happy father's day. Ani ohevet otkhah, aba.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Owning It

It's been a while since I've posted anything, a fact that isn't lost on me.  The past month I've been looking to my life for blog-worthy anecdotes and have come up short.  It was just yesterday I told my parents that really nothing has been going on except working and rearing my toddler (it doesn't sound right labeling him as such, but it's accurate!).  No more anonymous donors to speak of (duh! I'm not expecting any more either!), no earth-shattering moments, and no patient interactions that I think whoever reads this would find interesting.

But something happened.  I wore a bikini.

Wearing a bikini to the pool is actually a common practice for many 20-somethings like myself.  After my surgery, however, I resigned myself to a life in the one-piece. After all, I have a hard enough time looking at the bag of intestine and poop hanging from my abdomen; why expose the public to such an atrocity?

In the winter, when all the swimsuits hit the stores in preparation for spring, I bought what I thought was the closest thing I could get to normal swimwear: a very nice mono-kini.  It covered up the bulge from my bag decently and allowed me to feel okay enough about my "beach bod".  As long as people can't tell I have a bag, I'm good.

A few weeks ago my husband mentioned he didn't think it would be such a terrible thing to wear a two-piece.  Oh yeah, and flaunt my most major insecurity? Yeah, right! It's one thing to tell people, "I have an ostomy".  It's quite another to go to a very public place with my body on display, and with it, a bag of my waste that, if removed, will show a stub of my intestine that on first glance looks like a very red male reproductive part. No, thank you!

Since then, I have gone to the pool a handful of times.  Every trip I self consciously look down at my bathing suit, silently pleading and hoping that no one will detect an abnormality with my body. 

Last Sunday, I found myself a prime opportunity to read by the pool.  I couldn't find my one piece.  I looked to my old bikinis which were in a give-away pile; they were challenging me.  Maybe I could...  But, my one piece turned up.  How silly of me to even consider exposing my icky insecurity!

Ian's idea of my wearing a bikini came up again today at lunch with my parents.  "He actually wants me to," I said.  To my surprise, my parents agreed that it wouldn't be the worst or the grossest thing in the world.  When it came time to get ready for the pool, I once again donned my one-piece.  Then I got to thinking:

What is so bad about my bag?  Why do I let it make me feel so...freakish?  Is it so freakish?  Doesn't everyone have that one weird thing that bothers them about their body?

I grabbed a bikini from what had been the give-away pile.  I went to the pool in it.  And you know what?  It is the most confident I've felt in the eleven months and one day since my surgery.  I was finally owning it.

My sweetness and me at the pool!
For you formed my inward parts;
You knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Psalm 139:12-14a