Thursday, October 12, 2017

Bubba Jack



I haven't used a term of endearment for the boys in ages.  It seems lately however,  I've been a bit more nostalgic.  Colton was such a big baby from birth- we used to call him "Bubba."  And with his middle name being Jack, somehow the two were put together and Colton was either Bubba, or Bubby, or Bubba Jack. 



To look at him now, you'd be pretty darn surprised at how round and full his cheeks used to be, and how rolls layered upon rolls of fat surrounded him as a baby.  These days he is stick straight up and down- tall and lanky.  His goal is to put on more pounds and keep stretching the inches.  But its a struggle to keep those pounds on.

So he was pretty bummed last week when he realized he has lost a few pounds again.  Why?  He works so hard at eating in a healthy way, but tries to consume large amounts of food on a daily basis.  He was pretty frustrated to see the loss.  But still, I was unprepared for our conversation to come.

He came into my room after weighing himself and sighed heavily.  "Mom, do you remember when we were little and you used to cook for us?"

My heart stopped.  So much meaning, in such a few short words strung together.  How do you even respond?  My mind can't accurately even tell me the last time I've cooked a full meal for our family- but it hasn't been years.  Yet, this is how he feels?  I was so sad to hear him speak his truth.

I decided to tread lightly and talk about what he missed, and see if him and I could devise a plan to satisfy his desire in some way.  I could still cook a full meal,  couldn't I?  

The dinner he misses the most?  Tuna noodle casserole.  I've tweaked the basic recipe over the years to put a layer of browned panko bread crumbs over the top and layers of sharp cheddar cheese.  So we made a simple list, and the only thing we needed was a way to get to the grocery store.  But Rick and Nolan were gone for fall hockey in the cities, and it wasn't an urgent need to call someone to take us. 

But my Bubba Jack was so earnest in wanting to help.  Couldn't he ride his bike to the grocery store?  He thought so carefully about all the details and knew he could get it done.  In fact, what if he and I went together in the car and he drove, and did the shopping so I could rest in the car?  Could he pay for it on his own?  Could he get his own debit card?  He lit up with all the ways he could make it happen with a bare amount of help from me.  

I sit in these moments lately and cannot always keep my composure.  He could feel so cheated of what he doesn't have, in so many ways.  Of wanting something so basic, yet a true challenge of sorts when your mom is fully in the grips of living with cancer every day.  But what he shows me?  Is that he will find a way to thrive, with or without me.  I simply want to know, both my boys will be ok, no matter what lies ahead.  

And Colton rises and meets the challenge.  Not ashamed- or embarrassed at how he'll have to be the parent in some ways.  My heart feels so full.

It got too late that day, to make it all happen on the spot.  But I was on a mission, with a new found desire to simply provide for my family.

Sunday afternoon, with all the ingredients that Rick had gone to the store and gathered for me, I assembled everything into the glass bakeware I had dug out of the cupboards.  Colton had gone golfing with a friend.  The sheer look of joy on his face when he smelled the dinner in the oven as he walked through the door was so fun to witness.  I had been on the way to my room to collapse already.  I lost myself in the preparation of everything, but as I stood after putting the dish in the oven, I knew I was done.  Exhausted.  How can something so small, have such a big impact?  I don't know that I'll ever have an adequate answer to that question, but its become an every day part of our lives.  

I have to pick and choose, where I spend my time and energy.  The basic things can become monumental tasks and consume you for a day.  Friday was a trip to Target.  Saturday I was able to attend one of Nolan's hockey games here in town.  The cold is going to be a huge challenge for me and how it affects my level of pain- so I'm trying to mentally think through how I will maneuver to watch Nolan play this season- but I am determined.  

I've received a booster shot every Tuesday which truly helps me muster a bit more activity and I'm so grateful for that.  This coming Monday, I'll have a PET scan, then see the doctor on Tuesday for results, and then hopefully proceed on to infusion of one kind or another- I truly don't know what lies ahead.  

Again- so much will depend on that one little test next Monday.  So I'd like to prepare the same way I always do.  Can I take a list of your prayers requests with me?  I'll pray, repeatedly,  for whatever may be on your heart!  Please leave requests below in the comments! 


Thank you for showing up here, and reading, and letting me know I'm not doing this alone.  The little things you all do continue to have such a big impact on me- they're not so very little at all anymore.   









42 comments:

  1. Please pray for my co-workers families as one his wife is going through chemo for a blood cancer and will need a bone morrow transplant and then another co-workers son just started the chemo journey for testicular cancer. I'll be praying for you as well. Betsy

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    1. Betsy, I'm honored to pray for your co-workers and family. Would you be able to provide a first name for me- makes it a bit easier to make my list. Thank you for your prayers- they mean so much to me!

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  2. Vicky, could you please pray for Ethan's friend Peyton. He has stage 4 neuroblastoma that has spread into his bones and pelvis. You will continue to be in our prayers as well. We love you!

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    1. Oh Julie, its saddens me so to think of kids having to go through this. Absolutely I will pray for him! Thanks for your prayers for me- we love you!

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  3. Sitting in the moment with your Bubba Jack. Listening to him recount the "used to-s" with you. And only because those seem like such wonderful ideas of mom comforts and being able to think about the before days. Knowing completely that Mom can fix him. How deeply sweet that he has these moments, these memories, and the resilience you've built into him, Vicky. How forward thinking he is and full of ideas to help recreate what comforts and nourishes him on so many levels. And then you....you did it. Despite everything - so much EVERY.THING. - you did it and filled him.

    I'm so, so sorry for how you feel daily and moment by moment, dear heart. You push through like a warrior and never give up, driven on by deep and abiding love. And it bears such beautiful fruit in your life and that of your best beloveds, as well as sharing its fragrance with all of us. May God walk you through each part and carry you in your weakest and most fragile moments.

    Prayers would be for those in our state who are losing, and have lost, so much from these fires ravaging neighborhoods none of us could have imagined. It is north of where we are but people we know lost their home and whole neighborhood of 40 years. Another dear friend remains evacuated with tiny children. You, who understands suffering so deeply and completely will lovingly lift them in prayer, I know. Love you, Vicky. ❤️❤️

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    1. Robynn, your words comfort me so- thank you. You always know, at the deepest level, what its like to go through things of this nature, and you help give voice to so much of it. I think of you so often- I'm deeply engrossed in the novel and can see why your praise is so high! Oh my- I can't wait for you to read as well. The fires have left me with such an overwhelming sadness. I will pray specifically for your friends you've mentioned and for all of you so deeply affected. Love you, dear friend!

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    2. It's always such a gift to come back and see your words in reply, Vicky, and I know the energy it cost you. So truly, a GIFT. Glad the book is living up to its recommendation and hoping to read it soon myself. And THANK YOU for praying. XO

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  4. Thanks for this post, sharing your life, your challenges with us. What a loving son, to want to problem solve with you. I'm glad you were able to talk it over with him, and that the tuna casserole was made. Truly a metaphor for a mama's love. My prayers are with you, Vicky, for wisdom and daily grace and peace.

    Please pray for my dad - it was the 2 year anniversary of my mom's passing last week, and their wedding anniversary is coming up soon. It's a tough time for him. Thanks!

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    1. Susan, I can only imagine what your Dad must be feeling right now- I will gladly pray for him. Thank you for your encouragement always. Your faithful prayers have seen me through so much and I'm honored to have them.

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  5. Vicky, I love that you managed the casserole - he will always remember it. He is such a bright and caring young man. You've raised him well.

    Please pray for Dylan as he continues to heal from his burns - he is now in rehabilitation, hoping to return home to Connecticut to be near his family. Pray that no infection sets in, and that he finds the courage and determination to move forward.

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    1. Sometimes those kiddos grow in ways we don't readily see- but what a great surprise when they show you what has happened inside of them. Thank you for your kind words! I think of Dylan so often and will absolutely add him in for more specific prayers.

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  6. I so loved your story about making the much-wished-for Tuna Casserole. It really is the "little things" in life...isn't it?

    I continue to pray for you, if you want to pray...my husband and I were on our last day of a first-ever trip to wine country in Sonoma Valley when we literally had to run-for-our-lives from the wildfires. I crossed paths with a woman who only had on her pajamas and a blanket on her back, and her two dogs whose paws were bleeding from walking on burning cinders. Her car and house were already up-in-flames. We were able to drive out (with hundreds of other cars on the road) on the only road that was still open. She got left behind at the fire station. I keep thinking (and praying) for those few local residents that we briefly met at the fire station...what happened to them? Please pray for those still in the midst of the fires...and for a drenching, soaking, wide-spread rain. And, the firefighters who must be exhausted.

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    1. How scary for you! My heart just hurts for all those suffering the effects of the fire, and I will gladly pray for all of them. Thank you for sharing with me! I hope you are doing ok, now that you are safe. My heart is beating really fast thinking of just how intense this whole experience had to have been. Blessings to you!

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  7. I don't need anything, but I wish that God continues to grace you with moments with your boys.

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    1. Thank you so much, Michelle, I deeply appreciate just this very thing!

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  8. Please pray that I can put my ego aside and not be hurt by what seems like lack of appreciation in certain friends and entities.

    Oh, the comfort of comfort food! So glad you could do this for Bubba.
    Love and hugs to you!

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    1. Oh I'm sorry to see this- its hard to let go of ego sometimes when we know we are probably right- but know we should try to rise above it. Just keep being you, please. Love and hugs right back to you!

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  9. i have tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat as i type this. your determination comes with such a cost, one i wish i could pay over and over so that you could do the things you want to do with your family. i will pray for an excellent solution for hockey this fall, as i KNOW how important it is to you.

    i would be so thankful if you would pray for Michael and Sarah's marriage--that they would find community, return to following after their faith, and figure out how to communicate well with each other and perhaps us, if there's any ability to do so left over.

    love you, wonder woman!

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    1. You're so sweet, Jenn. Anything I appear to be is simply a reflection of Him working through me which humbles me so. Thank you for the sweetest of words! You know I will pray, over and over again for each and every thing you desire for your son and his wife. I feel the heaviness of it all and you are one amazing person to shoulder all of this in such a grace-filled way. Love you right back!

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  10. I wonder if those who don't live in the midwest know what Tuna noodle casserole is. It's a favorite of ours and made me smile when I read that that was what Colton wanted. I love it when kids request a certain meal or dessert...And I'm proud to be a tuna noodle casserole loving girl from the Midwest. Recently our son for his 26th birthday, requested I make soda pop cake. I hadn't made that in years, yet he remembered it...and remembered exactly how I made it, frosted it and decorated it. Oh how that warms my heart!!! Thanks for writing about what's really important in life and reminding me to embrace that even more than I already do. Biggest hugs to you sweet friend.

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    1. Thank you, Beth- its so great to see you show up here! I have always wondered the type of memories the kids would hold on to from their younger years and to have a 15 year old get nostalgic with me was definitely a gift. I love hearing about the soda pop cake- again something so simple that left a big impression. Thanks for sharing with me! Big hugs right back to you!

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  11. Hi Vicky - your post made me smile in that we call our goldie Chara "Bubba Man" - and made me ache to be able to give you a hug! Thinking of you as you go for your scans and sending up prayers not only for good results, but that you feel relief from pain and fatigue.
    Love and light to you, as always.

    Annie

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    1. I scrolled past a pic of you recently and was just thinking about you! So cool to have you show up here. I'm smiling away at Chara being called Bubba Man- I can just it in my head. I hope all is well with you! Thankful for your prayers and well wishes- you are so missed!

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    2. Oh this just makes me tear up. Read your post from today and how I so wish I was up north walking through this with you. Missing you more than you know, and sending you all my love.

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  12. The names are Sherry Harvey and Jessie Phipps. Thanks so much!

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  13. I love you Vicky Westra!....This real got to me...yet I was waiting on this post!!! You are so very very beautiful!!!

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    1. Hi dear one, I owe you a longer response, but you got me right back!

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  14. whew, well that all made me tear up.........your boys are special, like their parents. And you are so not alone. Love you Vick.

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    1. Hilary, I feel you right there with me and that means everything to me these days- thanks for the reminder and your sweet words. Love you~

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  15. Vicky~
    I have read every one of your blogs and haven't ever realized I could comment! Wow! You inspire me so much. Your ability to always see the good or teachable moments in life amaze me. I have read and gifted most of the books you recommend. I pray for you and your family every night. You are such a gift to me. Thank you for sharing your journey, your spirit and your heart. You are so loved.

    Deb Lee Ross

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    1. Deb! So wonderful to see you show up here- warms my heart instantly. My mother never ceased to sing your praises and tell us how much you meant to her- I totally can see why. Thank you for your grace-filled words, and for so faithfully coming along with me, it touches me so. You are loved so, as well!

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  16. Hi Vicky! I’ve been thinking about you often. I’m keeping you in my prayers. You’re an amazing person to pray for others the way you do. Can you please pray for my daughter Erika who is only 13 but struggles with an eating disorder. Thank you. Much Love to you and your family, Maria in Chicago

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    1. Hi Maria, how good to hear from you. I am happy to pray for your daughter, but I'm so sorry to hear about her struggle. Hugs to you- thank you for your prayers!

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  17. Dear Vicky, I continue to pray for your family. The grace in your words,as always, inspire and humble. My heart is breaking for the Fox family who just lost their 21 year old son to an overdose (this is the 3rd young person our family has known that has tragically passed). I know they covet every prayer said for them.
    Oh Father, I ask for peace and grace and love to surround and inhabit the Westra family. You provide courage and perseverance and we trust that they will continue to have an abundance. In the name of Jesus, draw near to each one of them.

    Love to you dear Vicky,
    Deb

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    1. Hi Deb, thank you for your most kind words, they humble me in return. I'm honored to pray for the Fox family. Your prayers for us touch me so! Love to you sweet Deb!

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  18. So glad to see a post from you! So happy that you had the strength to make your tuna casserole. It's really the little things that matter most to our children while we always seem to focus on the bigger things. I pray for you and your family daily. It's so nice of you to offer to pray for us as well. Please keep in your prayers my 3 girls - Meg, Molly and Amy -- their lives are just not going as well as they had hoped and worked hard for. The times are rough for young adults these days. Thank you Vicky!

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    1. Hi Genny, it's so great to see you here! I'm happy to add your 3 girls to my list. It does seem it is harder to get out on your own and truly thrive these days. You're so welcome, Genny, I'm glad to return the prayers you say for me!

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  19. You are your husband have raised two wonderful boys and as they become men, they will love as they have been loved. One day I imagine, if they have children, their family will also sit down to a tuna noodle casserole. I wish you well and peace through your struggles.

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    1. Beautifully said, Denise, thank you for the painting the picture in this way. Blessings to you!

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  20. My dear sweet friend,
    I just got back, went to my computer, saw you had done a new post and my heart jumped
    for joy at getting to hear from you. I have read your precious words several times, tears streaming down my face. Not a few tears, lots of tears. Tears of JOY that you are here. Tears of such pride in you for your raw courage. Tears of gratitude that you are my friend. Tears of amazement at how, under such hard circumstances and cost to you, that you made that Tuna Noodle casserole.

    Ah, Bubba Jack. I have such fond memories of seeing that picture of him as a little boy, sitting on those steps. And now a young man, tall and wanting to gain weight. I can imagine that your heart sank when he said he remembered when he was little and you cooked for him. I LOVE that you took a breath and listened to his truth. I LOVE even more that you got the supplies and made that meal for him. He will never forget that, my friend. His Mama, who he loves so much, expending at a cost to herself, that energy to make that tuna noodle casserole. What gift to Colton. Not only the dinner, but knowing the sacrifice it was for you to make it. A lasting memory for sure.

    And I am praying for you. big time, as you have this test on Monday. Could I ask that you keep my precious grand daughter in your prayers as she struggles with healing from so much pain.
    Thank you for doing this, dear one.

    Just for the record, Vicky held Westra, I love you to the moon and back! I will not stop praying
    for your healing and I am so honored to call you my dear friend. May you know God's love and peace and that He holds you, and your dear ones, in the palm of His almighty hand.

    Linda


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    1. My dear soul sis,

      I've begun my morning praying for all those on 4 pages of my journal and am honored to include your granddaughter.

      I've always wondered what things my kid would look back on and be sad about and the things they would have good memories of. It was eye-opening to start getting some memories already. Plus, it was something I could do, and fix in a way, and that was helpful too!

      A kind neighbor who is an empty nester, mom of 3 boys, has offered to cook a casserole dish each week for us! The blessings that continue to come our way are still overwhelming and keep us humble and grateful.

      Your kind words are one of those blessings that always uplifts me, more than I can express. I find myself smiling away as I type to you.

      I pray all is well with you and your family! Think of you often!

      Love you to the moon and all the way back!

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I welcome what you have to say. Thanks for taking the time to grace me with your thoughts and words!

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