Pluck, pluck, BLECH!

“Mother ducks pick feathers from their chests to line their nests.”

I wake up almost every morning before I would like to.

I cook when I would rather be working on a school project.

I sing and read stories in the precious moments I want to spend talking to my husband.

I wash floors crusted with milk that I didn't spill.

I clean toilets that I don't sit on. (feel free to fill in the missing consonant for a giggle!)

I wipe noses instead of wrapping the piling-up presents.

I clip 50 toenails and 50 fingernails every single week.

I put away toys I don't ever play with.

I stood under a tree looking up, through my camera, at the frozen crab apples that no one picked (they were delicious still). Caught in the branches was a piece of goose down. The kind mother ducks pluck from their breasts to line their nests. Having plucked ducks and geese, I know that with every pluck there is a little dot of blood, a piece of flesh torn out, too. I had just listened to a speech that used this analogy to capture motherhood - yes, it is difficult; yes, it hurts; but where, exactly, do we expect the nest building materials to come from, if not from our own bodies? From the trash? The discards? Do we really want to live in a nest built out of leftovers and unwanted pieces? 
What struck me, looking up in this tree, as I counted the ways that I sacrifice every day, is that I did all that for pay, once upon a time. For children who weren't my own. For children I didn't truly love.
Ridiculous- embarrassing - humiliating is the fact that I would ever begrudge my children the same.
In the past few days, I have started praying about and thinking over all the news we received during Amelia's hospital stay at Mayo. In a nutshell, the fact that this might not be something she will outgrow. Yesterday, I finally met with my cardiologist and learned that I did, indeed, suffer some heart damage during the episode a few weeks ago that may have been a mild heart attack. Unfortunately, the damage lies right beneath the wire that connects my pacemaker to my heart, making it less effective and explaining why I have been so under the weather the past three weeks. In addition, my thyroid cancer suppression is too high again, raising my resting heart rate to 120 beats per minute (mine is normally less than 60, so this is double my normal). While most people think being hyperthyroid means losing weight and having lots of energy, the exact opposite is true for most thyroid cancer patients...being too high on your meds means horrible, bone-aching fatigue and a diversion of all your body's resources to the core, keeping your heart racing day in and day out.
I have to accept the fact that God asks me to keep giving under these circumstances. Rectify my expectations with the reality of my life. 
Even when (fill in the blank)...I will still give to them. And through them, You, Lord.

I am willing to receive what You send,
lack what You withhold,
relinquish what You take,
suffer what You inflict,
do what You command,
be what You require.
~ Prayer by unknown author ~