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Upon Their Hands They Will Carry you
Page 11

She Quietly Sabotaged Wily Ways

"What do you think about weekly visits to follow through with an exercise program at the Ceerebral Palsy Center?" I asked Rod who had ordered a pizza. We were quietly enjoying this treat while Rhonda slept. The far out ranch house and equally isolated Lexington didnít allow for this pleasure and we availed ourselves of a new opportunity to order out.

"Whatever you want to do." Rodney wouldn't be involved to a great extent because he was working. The load of keeping appointments was to be my duty and he had no reservations for anything I wanted to do to help our child. Todayís mothers are not allowed the freedom of choice I had for not pursuing their own careers. The thought of going to work on a job out of the home never even crossed my mind. Certainly my sisters from Chilocco Indian School were actively continuing education to give them gainful employment and I knew of that. There was no desire on my part to once again go in that direction.

Years of Home Economics in school gave me the ability to have all that I wanted materially. Planning every part of my management at home was made easy from those studies in fact from the 7th grade onward and even from elementary school with 4-H. . That was more than six years of endeavor up onto highschool graduation and two years in college along with a smattering of business training.

Mother had the same schooling and she was even more adept than I was at following a tight schedule of management. She insisted I learn from her, too. She could plan a menu and store up food for a year.

My career was my home and my family and all that mattered to me. My Christian faith had instilled the lessons of frugality with emphasis on avoiding materialism and ultimately that is an anchor to allow a person to focus on real issues of importance.

"I'm not sure of anything at this point but I'll see about giving this therapy a try," I reasoned with my husband. "It will be worth it to feel I'm doing something, at least. If I'm with Rhonda and do the therapy myself there will be none of that painful stretching of her muscles. Massage will relax her legs before any exercise is attempted."

So began the trips back and forth to the center. I kept Rhonda with me at all times and never left her to the care of the therapists. My excuse was that I wanted to learn to do her therapy myself. During visits it was only natural that acquaintances were made with other mothers who were there with their children.

It was Saturday morning. That was the day I spent grocery shopping because Rod could be home with Rhonda. I came down one of the isles of the store and met a woman I knew from the therapy sessions. She called my name and obviously wanted to talk with me, so I stopped to visit with her.

"Karen! Haven't seen you at the center? How are you? How's your boy?" I questioned her.

"Oh I'm fine," she told me, but I could tell she wasn't. There was a wistful sadness about her even though she was smiling. "You know I got a divorce?"

"No, for heaven's sakes! No! I did not know." I was surprised as well as distressed. "How is your son taking it?"

"Well, that is the hard part, you know. I had to leave him at the center full time. There was nothing more I could do since I now have to work. Couldn't take care of him by myself. My husband no longer was able to stand the stress involved with everything. We were fighting all the time and he just decided he didn't want to be married to us."

That evening I told Rodney about the coincidental meeting, or maybe not, who knows the extent of manipulation that may have come about with the woman and it was then I reflected on what had happened to their little family. Rod seemed to have no thoughts on the divorce of someone he didn't even know.

From that time on I determined to practice my faith while studying the disciplines necessary to make our marriage work, regardless of what happened. That was over fifty years ago. All has not been smooth sailing. What a lie that would be. Rod's steadiness in dealing with my grief was what held us together. He never wavered, not even when I was in the depths of despair and depression over some one or other failed therapy. Prayer was all I had to fortify me.

If I begged to go to a lakeside where the cool earth rested my body, or engaged in my artwork until it was obsessive, and again, wanted to take Rhonda and myself away to my parents home and escape for a couple weeks, that was okay, too. Whatever I wished to do in order to cope with the realities of what was becoming more and more apparent and certain didn't matter to him. For anything I wished to do he was agreeable, and allowed me total freedom.

I had no idea how he stood steadfastly against his family and their wishes to see we were not saddled with the duties involved in caring for a disabled child. Neither did I realize I had won his mother over. She quietly sabotaged wily ways with her goodness. How I miss that lady today. Who wouldn't appreciate gentleness, kindness and support like she gave me.

Not once did I do anything to cause Rodney to believe I was not completely loyal to him and our family, imperfect as it was. Disloyalty on my part was something I simply could not allow to happen.

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