For the third time in my six year olds life, I had to walk away and leave his well being in the hands of a stranger. While they may be highly trained and lisenced by the state, they still hold his little life in their hands.
The first time this happened was when he was born (and really makes it four times but who’s counting). Within minutes of his birth they whisked him away to the NICU while I was wheeled to recovery room. I really think it solidified in me a lifetime of wanting to keep him close by me. The second time was only a week later when I had to leave him there and go home empty handed. It isn’t natural or fair for a mother to not take her baby home with her, not for the father either but I think ( at least in my case) they are trying so hard to hold the mother together they don’t really have the chance to feel their own feelings. So…..here’s to the parents that have to go home without their little ones in their arms. The ones who go back and forth to the hospital daily (sometimes more than once a day) to check in and maybe not even get to hold them but sit patiently by that tiny body and wait patiently and cry a little.
When he was four he swallowed a lollipop stick…..it does happen and in our case less than a minute after you say ” sit up you’re going to choke on that”. We went through an emergency room visit and then sent home only to receive an urgent sounding phone call to get him back right away and don’t feed him anything or let him drink anything. When we brought him in we waited through six IV attempts and tons of meds to finally get him to sleep. We had to walk away again only this time, we passed by the glass walled rooms of parents and children who looked as if they lived there. As I was leaving my child I saw the exhausted faces of parents who were dealing with far more than a lollipop stick. The reality hit me that they are worrying about the same thing I was worried about but i had the strangers assurance that we would be fine and going home in the next 24 hours or so. We returned to his room 45 minutes later to see him, yet again, with a tube down his throat watching the machines that were helping him breathe. We sat up all night and waited…he came home the next morning. So….here’s to the parents who wait up all night for many nights in a row. Who, even if they close their eyes for a few moments, have to grapple with worry and fear and never really rest. Here’s to the ones who know all the nurses by name and what shifts they are working because they have been there for weeks…and here’s to the nurses too.
Today I walked away one more time with my six year old life in the hands of the anesthstigiologist. I was a ” simple” “routine” “procedure” “he is only having his tonsils and adenoids out” I kept telling myself. But then the blue hatted strangers come in and start to use the word “surgery” and “risk factors” and your heart sinks a little. They give a little cup of something to drink and wait for him to feel a little “drunk” and then tell you to say goodbye…..my heart stops. I keep a brave face and only when I know he is out of hearing distance, a let out an uncontrollable gasp…the tears follow and once again my hero swoops in with that amazingly strong arm to scoop me up and reassure me. So….here’s to the dads who put their own fears aside because moms just aren’t always as good at that. Here’s to the moms and dads who put on brave faces and encourage and comfort a scared child when their own fears feel like they are swallowing them whole.
Here’s to the parents who deal with the life and death decisions on a daily basis and wonder if they are doing the right thing. Here’s to the parents who have kids with mental and emotional challenges who have to withstand the judgemental stares of other parents who think it’s a “parenting” problem. Here’s to the parents who are raising square pegs and victims of society who are always being told they aren’t “normal”. Here’s to you if you question your parenting skills daily but love your kids so much it hurts. You get up day after day and do your best and make mistakes and keep so much inside for the sake of others. I have had but a taste of what so many parents go through and ultimately realize that our kids are on their own journey and we can only walk beside them as long as they allow and even when they don’t stay far enough behind to catch them if they fall.
If you are a parent today who has to face these or any other challenges, know that you are loved and cared for by an amazing God and that He is walking along side of you and always close enough to catch you when you fall. He also has your children in His loving hands. Please be good to yourselves. Stand in the truth that you are not perfect but that you love your kids and in the end love always wins out. If you aren’t facing any of these challenges…hug your children and be grateful, and be kind to others because you never know what they are going through.