Freaky Friday

On Saturday night, our family was sitting around the TV eating pizza and preparing to relax with a movie night.  We couldn’t find any movie that we all wanted to watch, so we browsed through the TV and found that the movie “Freaky Friday” had just started.  The newer one with Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan.

Now I know that Lindsay Lohan is not any kind of a role model for my children (or for me, or for anyone).  But I have to admit that this is just a really fun movie that everyone in our family enjoys.  We’ve probably all seen it at least 4 times…yet somehow, we always enjoy watching it again.

But this time when I watched it, I had a completely different response than I’ve had in the past.  I kept watching Mark Harmon, who plays the fiancee to Jamie Lee Curtis.  When JLC (the mom) switches bodies with LiLo (the teenager), you watch this older woman on the day before her wedding whose behavior changes completely.  Of course, her behavior changes because her daughter is inhabiting her body.  But Mark Harmon doesn’t know this.  There are many scenes in the movie where you watch Mark Harmon just staring in utter confusion at his fiancee, whose behavior is so radically different than what it has previously been.  He shrugs it all off to pre-wedding jitters.  Time and time again, I found myself watching the Mark Harmon character instead of the two main leads.

The thing is, I completely and totally understand how he feels.  I know what it’s like to watch someone close to you “become” someone else.  I know what it’s like to watch the person you love the most in the world act in a way that is totally and completely out of character with who he is.

That’s what Ben’s seizures do.  They impact his brain and cause enough changes in his behavior to leave me stunned and wondering, “who is IN there?”

The brain is an amazing, incredible organ.  I am frequently amazed at how Ben’s seizures impact pretty much every part of who he is.  When his brain is misfiring, his posture changes, his tone of voice changes (much like Jamie Lee Curtis’s posture and voice changed when she played her teenage persona in the movie), and his behavior changes.  His sleep patterns change.

So this is another post that likens our life to a movie…much like my post on “The Princess Bride” drew correlations between our life and that well-loved movie.

What movies does your life remind you of?  I’d love to hear!

Laughter during Tears

Today I was riding in the car with Ben and we were talking about how he wants so desperately to work; particularly in the field of music.  I wanted to encourage Ben, but at the same time I do believe that one of the reasons he’s been seizure free for so long is because he doesn’t have the stress of working.   In an effort to help him understand the unbelievable challenge of the past two years, I strongly stated: “You don’t really understand how difficult it’s been with you working and having seizures.  The past two years have been hell!”  (profanity used to emphasize my point).  I didn’t know if my words would upset him or discourage him.  But Ben just looked at me for just a moment, and responded with an ironic smile, “Maybe Hell is worse.”

I share this story to illustrate what a wonderful, positive attitude Ben has had for the past few weeks.  The kids and I have been moving full-throttle ahead going back to school and to work, while Ben is, well…home.  He is not working, he’s not driving, and now that his brain is calm and he is fully recovered from the last round of seizures, he is starting to become genuinely bored.

“Self-pity is not a flattering accessory.”

I am so thankful for a husband who is trying hard to maintain a positive attitude and please God in this season.   I am thankful that Ben is leading our family in trusting in the Lord during this time.  I know that this is not an easy time for him, and that it’s hard for him not to feel self-pity.  If Ben were actively having seizures, he might be able to understand a bit more why he is not working.  We praise God that he’s not having seizures (yes!  yes!).  But it does make this time in our life somewhat perplexing for us.

Would you please pray with us that God would show Ben things that he could do in this season that would be fulfilling for him professionally, but would not lead to seizures?

I will close with some other wonderful, quirky things that Ben has said regarding his health condition.  Now that I think about it, Ben does have a way with one-liners:

  • One time when Ben was in the throes of a seizure cluster, our pastor was praying for him.  Ben had been having seizures for days, and he was tired and worn.  Our pastor gently put his hands on Ben’s shoulders and prayed to the Lord, earnestly asking God to stop all “brain activity.”  Ben quickly interrupted the pastor’s prayers and  cried out, “Not ALL!” (so our pastor prayed to stop abnormal brain activity)
  • Another time we were in a meeting with some musicians from our church, discussing plans for our Music Academy Summer Musical.  Everyone in the room knew Ben well and was familiar with his memory problems.  One person referred to how we had done things the previous year, and the director said “Oh well…hindsight is 20/20.”  Ben looked at her angrily and strongly stated, “Not for EVERYONE, Patti!”
  • A few weeks after he had his status seizures in 2004 and lost his memory, Ben and I were in the house with some friends.   There was a lull in the conversation during which Ben violently sneezed.  His sneeze was so loud and forceful that we all looked up, rather shocked.  Ben also looked surprised, and then proclaimed loudly, “My memory is back!”

Thank you, God.  For laughter in the midst of tears.  For joy drawn from Your presence never leaving or forsaking us.

Follow Up Post

After my post this morning, I felt it necessary to follow up with our creative, low carb dinner that we ate this evening:

Pork Rind Fried Tilapia

This sounds so gross, but we all actually enjoyed it.  I crushed up a bag of pork rinds and mixed in parmesan cheese, onion powder, garlic salt and cayenne pepper.  Then I dipped Tilapia in egg wash and covered the fish in the pork rind mixture.  I fried it in the pan, and it tasted pretty good.

So maybe I will find some joy in coming up with low-carb recipes for the family.

Pork rinds…who knew!  (My Jewish mother might be turning over in her grave right now…)

The Two Faces of Meg

Here's what it's like to live with Meg.  She has two sides to her personality.

Here's one:

Here's the other:

Actually, in this last photo, she had just come back from seeing The Little Mermaid.  The kids were all playing, and she asked Emily if she could dress her up like Ursula, the Sea Witch.  So Emily styled Meg's hair, and this is Meg's "Sea Witch" face.  I'm constantly amazed at what these kids come up with!

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