Kurt and Jack are bookends. The oldest and youngest of four, with Mark and Luke in the middle. Kurt is a rocket scientist and Jack is studying to be one. Kurt and Jack have cystic fibrosis. CF is a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time.
Kurt is 28, married to the amazing (soon to be Doctor) Kimberly, working at SpaceX and enjoying life. His health is good and he works hard to keep it that way.
Mark is 26 and living in Los Angeles. He and his phenomenal girlfriend Brenda are super busy with work and school. They’re both planning to sit for the CPA exam soon.
Luke is 24 and living in Hermitage with his fabulous fiancée Autumn. They’re both working hard and about to become the parents of our first grandchild – Genevieve.
Jack is 21 and a junior at OU studying Aerospace Engineering. Boomer! Sooner! His wonderful girlfriend Caroline is graduating this year – they’re really going to miss each other! Health-wise Jack has always had a rougher road than his big brother. He’s looking forward to the summer break to focus on improving his lung function and gaining weight. He also plans to work so he can get some wheels.
Jack’s Amazing Wish was the most generous, detailed, favorite-laden, well-orchestrated, astonishing, excellent adventure that he (or any of us) has ever experienced. It was a soaring heart, leaky eyes sort of week, like a perfectionist-mom-who-cares-maybe-a-little-too-much designed outing only WAY more creative and organized! Two and a half years later, as I recall any part of the wish, I still find myself shaking my head in awe. I don’t think that feeling will ever go away! The best was seeing the wonder and delight on Jack’s face as his wish unfolded and hearing him share his perspective on his experiences.
Being a wife and a mom was always part of my life plan. If I had custom ordered my husband and sons I couldn’t have asked for better, even with the challenges of CF. Jack just turned 21, so I am officially done mothering children. Parenting adults is hard in ways I couldn’t begin to imagine, but also rewarding as they venture out to make lives and families of their own!
I battle regret, mostly about my lack of perfection in mothering…always too much and never enough. The mom measuring stick is endless and the comparisons are brutal. Looking at my four capable sons, these men who were my babies, I realize that all the moments – great, awful, and ordinary – shaped them. My worry over my failings isn’t judging my inadequacy as their mother, but questioning their competency as men.
For myself – and all moms – I offer grace to mother good enough, mercy in failing miserably, and permission for radical self-care administered liberally! Mom of a Wish Kid isn’t a tribe I would readily seek out, but I so appreciated the dose of life distinct from real life. I’m grateful for the gift of joy, possibility, and determination contained in Jack’s wish – a gift he still carries.
I’m excited to take on my next chapter and additional name…Grammie!