Friday, August 22, 2014

When your day goes sideways

Sideways is often a challenging direction.

So my day went Monday.

My twins first day of preschool: I drop them off. I give them kisses. I tell them to be good, to be kind, to be patient. I should've told them to be careful. Silly me.

My day was forging forward. Strong. Purposeful. Meaningful.

I'm talking at lunch with a colleague about life and kids. I see the preschool is calling my cell phone. I answer.

"Hi Jamie, K fell off the monkey bars and there is something visibly wrong with her wrist."

"Wait. What???"

"She fell. Her wrist...something is not right. You need to take her to the doctor."

Sideways. I wasn't prepared for this. At all. I can't say I'm all that surprised, but I'm not prepared.

I'm not surprised because it's K. I have written no fewer than three posts about her antics and the results of these antics. Jesus uses K to teach me. A lot.

So my colleague graciously, kindly volunteers to cover my last class. I call the doctor and get an appointment. I sprint out of school.

I pick her up and yes, something is not right with her wrist. As in there is a bend in her arm that would indicate that something is not right.

And it goes sideways. My day. Straight into sideways.

Off we go to the doctor. He knows us well because I am bringing him my expensive child, again. She operates at Mach 9 all the time and when one operates at Mach 9 all the time and doesn't wear body armor, hard things are just bound to happen.

Dr. W is a nice guy. He looks at her wrist. Confirms it's not right and sends us off to x-ray where the tech also confirms it's not right.

So since where we are can't cast her arm and since the kind of break she has dictates a sedative to set it, we head to the ER.

My sideways day just went sideways.

The ER people navigate us through hallways into our room. K jumps on the bed and situates herself. The Doc comes is and gives us the rundown. Broken radius. Sedative. Precautions with the sedative. Side effects with the sedative. What happens after the sedative.

The Nurse comes in. He's a walking miracle. You'll see why I think this.

He explains to K that he has to put an IV in her wee, little hand for the medicine. I lean close on the other side so I can distract her. He smoothly slides that needle in and she starts to cry and then she's done because he's already putting a bandage on her hand. My only complaint is that this man was not my nurse, putting in my IV, when I was pregnant with the twins and in the hospital on three separate occasions. But I am so grateful he is K's nurse.

The Nurse then proceeds to hook my baby up to every monitor known to man. She's got an IV, 3 sticky things on her chest measuring a variety of bodily functions, a canula, a blood pressure cuff, a fancy band aid thing on her index finger measuring her CO2, the crash cart in the hallway, and the IV in her hand. I am freaking out a little on the inside. And I quietly tell him so. And his response, "You can't get any safer than this." Oh, well then I'll just stop my freak out. And save it for later.

It's hard to believe the miracles that our bodies are. What they can do. What they can withstand. What can be measured and how. I'm speechless, really, when I stop and dwell on how God has made us. Our bones break. And He provided for that by allowing them to grow back together. We get sick. He provided for that by allowing our bodies to have immune systems that battle the bad cells and conquer them. We may lose a limb or a sense. He has provided for that by allowing the parts that are well to compensate, grow stronger, and be more adept so we miss the limb or the sense less. And God knows each of us intimately. Our bodies, our hearts, our strengths, our weaknesses. And He doesn't just know our physicality, that knowing also translates to our spirituality. That kind of knowing requires, even demands, a fathomless kind of loving. And this is but a fraction of how deep His love is for us. 

But I digress.

The Doc comes back. She has several friends with her to make sure all is safe and precautions are in place. There's a nurse with her who has a daughter who broke her arm just like K. And she's been in my shoes before and she tells me this. And I want to hug her because she's honest and authentic and doesn't beat around the bush when she tells me I probably shouldn't look when the doc sets the bone because it's kinda rough. And she tells me that K's eyes will probably go funny and they might roll back in her head. And this is normal. I appreciate her wisdom and I take a deep breath.

But I start freaking out again on the inside. Because I'm notorious for what iffing a situation to death. I see the crash cart in the hallway and I know what it's for. I hear the beeps of all these monitors and I know what it means when they beep louder or faster or not at all. And I know she just has a broken arm. And I know it's a just a sedative. But what if....

I am so quick to forget my faith and allow my eyes to dictate the state of my heart.

The Doc gives her okay to the nurse who administers the sedative. There are just a few things more alarming than watching your small child go under...and not even all the way under...only part way under so her eyes don't close. It's disconcerting. And I don't watch the Doc set her arm. But I do watch the Doc and the nurses as they monitor K's vital signs. And the computer hooked to all her vitals is doing funny things and one nurse grabs K's face and kneads it a bit so she will breathe. My heart beats a bit faster. And I work really hard to keep the what ifs at bay. To trust in a Jesus bigger than my what ifs.

This goes on for a few minutes. And so I start talking to her. I am so proud of her. She is such a brave, brave little girl. And her eyes are vacant and wide and staring at nothing. And yet I know she can hear me because her sweet face turns in my direction when I tell her to breathe deep and she breathes deep.

As she traverses out of the dream she is locked in, she starts to cry. Loudly. Uncontrollably. And her cry is not at all soft. It's scratchy and high pitched and hurts my ears and pierces my heart. I move next to her so I can talk in her ear, touch her cheeks, rub her arm. Her eyes are still not focusing and I know she's lost in that scary place between awake and not awake. The medicine is trying to pull her under again and she knows she should wake up so she's fighting with herself. And she's scared. And all I can do is touch her and whisper to her and tell her I love her. Over and over and over.

Her eyes try to focus but they can't. She hears my voice and then panic overwhelms her. She cries for daddy. She cries for her sisters. And then she calms for a moment. We repeat this cycle for an hour. Until I see her eyes focus on me. And she responds when I ask her to look at me and to tell me who I am. And I smile into her big, brown eyes and she crinkles her nose and tells me she wants a hug.

In hindsight, it's almost comical. She comes out of the sedation screaming. An hour later she's laughing and joking and being silly. My girl is back. And my right-handed girl has a huge splint on her right arm and it doesn't faze her. It doesn't slow her down. She takes it in stride. In fact, on the hour drive home, in an hour well past her bedtime, on a day that was traumatic at best, this girl animatedly chit-chatted the entire way. I thought she would sleep. I was wrong.

K with her Grandma, who sat with me the whole time. I am so blessed.
I learn so much from this girl. I am so proud to be her mama. That Jesus trusted me with her. Sometimes, though, she straight scares me, and I admit that I don't know quite how to parent this reckless abandon she has for living. Despite this, she makes me want to be brave and courageous. She makes me want to run through life at break neck speeds, take risks, and take chances, though maybe I'll wear body armor. She makes me realize that sideways is sometimes good.

Sideways stretches us, makes us trust Jesus more. Sideways makes us lean more heavily on Him. Sideways causes us to need Him more. Sideways forces us to surrender our illusion of control to Jesus because as we are sliding sideways, it's clearly obvious we were never in control.

Sideways makes us see life at a new speed, in a new light. Sideways makes us appreciate flexibility and modern medicine and precautions, even if they are scary. Sideways is just a direction, a slight veer on the road to the destination we were headed.

It's just a bump. A little obstacle. A broken arm.

And at the end of the day, as long as sideways leads us all home, I'm good.

Grace Always Rises,

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

For that mama in the doctor's office...

To that mama I saw Saturday. Cautiously, awkwardly pushing that double stroller through the doctor's office...

I remember. How scared I was when my babes got sick--how worried I was.
How my heart froze a little a lot inside my chest and I couldn't draw deep.
How taking two wee babes to the doctor was not twice as hard as taking one--it was four times as hard as taking one. Because you only have two hands and when they're that small, and your mama heart is tired and worn and they are sick, two hands is not enough. 

It was Saturday and so I know it's not a check up that brought you to this second floor. And so it's more. And I just wanted to hug you tight and tell you it would be alright because while you smiled quick and bright when I asked you how old your sweet boys were--and you answered--your eyes were anxious and swift and careful to not catch mine. And I remember doing that too. 

Because I remember thinking what if I saw kindness in some stranger's gentle gaze. What if I saw deep compassion and empathy when I was trying to hold it all together? What if someone who KNEW because she'd been there, was there, saw too much--too deep--and offered me a moment of grace and truth and beauty in just a look? I would've cried. Right there in the second floor doctor's office. Dissolved straight into a puddle of beautiful mess.
And I would've sobbed all my angst right onto that poor stranger's shoulder.
And in hindsight, besides being maybe just a wee bit awkward,
would that have been such a bad thing?

And so this sweet, worn mama has haunted me all weekend.
This brave mama whose boys are sick.

As she rolled that double stroller filled with all her love by me,
I asked her how old they were--her boys.
3 months, she answered. Just teeny tiny people.

I asked her if she's getting any sleep.
She laughed--and not a funny laugh, but that laugh that says she really wants to cry and really wants to sleep and this is her lot and she's in it for the long haul and so yeah, all she's got is a laugh--
and said not really.
And she was almost gone by then, rolling her babes, rolling her very heart, down the hall,
but I called after her gently, "It gets better. It gets easier."

And I saw relief as she answered, "I hope so."

It does. Get easier. And harder.
They grow so quickly. Your babes. They grow and get bigger so when they get sick it doesn't make your heart clench as quickly or your mind spin into what ifs. They learn to sleep through the night and so do you. They learn to feed themselves and you suddenly regain the use of both your hands. They learn to use their words and you suddenly find your sanity returning. They learn to walk and hold your hands and sit in chairs. Going to the doctor with twins becomes less a monumental feat of epic proportions that should win all sorts of awards and more of a nuisance.

Time is a swiftly running river that we are swept away on. 
Sometimes we find ourselves hanging on for dear life as we toss and turn our way through rapids
and other times we find ourselves floating through gently swirling eddies.
There are both quiet lagoons and raging waterfalls.
And both have beauty all their own.
And all of it flows by so quickly. so. quickly.
We can spend our moments wishing for the next, easier moment, that next quiet lagoon, 
but then we miss the truth, the beauty, of this moment. 
And even when this moment is ugly and hard because our babes are sick 
or we are sick or sad or grieving and we think we just won't, just can't
make it to the next moment, there's beauty there. Right there. 
 Because sometimes the hardest part of living, of loving, 
is just to be in the hard moment.

This kind of beauty is hard fought and harder won. 
It's the kind that rides out the rapids or the waterfalls. 
It's the kind that springs and blossoms from somewhere way deep inside and 
is rooted fast in the Creator. It's the kind of beauty that weathers 
the scariest storms and age and wrinkles and scars just make it even more beautiful.

But we have to be brave mamas, brave women, to ride that river. 
And we have to weather it together.

To that mama I saw on Saturday--I know. I know. Remember this too shall pass. Hold on tight because they won't always be this small and it won't always be this hard.
But soak in all the beauty of this moment. Because it's right here. And it might be hard.
But it's so worth it. And you won't get this moment again.

And I'm praying for you and your boys.

And one day down the road, you'll be standing with your boys, older now, and you'll see a sweet, brave, river-worn mama awkwardly maneuvering her double stroller through a doorway and your heart will clutch tight for her. And maybe you'll rush to help her through the door because you remember. 
You remember.

And maybe you'll ask how old her babes are and maybe you'll offer her a moment of hope, a bit of grace, a glimpse of beauty.

Because sometimes we just need to know we aren't alone in this river.

And you aren't. 

Grace Always Rises,