My brave Alexandra worked on making a potholder on the way to the hospital on Monday. Then while waiting to be called she and I walked around the gift shop and we worked on a Word Find Puzzle book with daddy.
We spent the weekend before worrying about whether we would be able to even HAVE the surgery since Little Girl started to sit around and say assorted things like, "My ear hurts," "Both ears hurt," "My stomach hurts," all which are indicators for Alex's strep. I took her to on-call on Sunday and she was even running a fever. However, that was the only time she ran a fever...at on-call. She tested negative for strep and no for an ear infection. So we went to the hospital the next day, told them about our weekend. They checked her over and decided that since their check-up and our thoughts were in agreement, the surgery would go on. (I think her body was reacting to pre surgery stress.)
I don't think I would have been as brave as she was. Actually I was nervous and sick to my stomach, but trying to fake it. I think I did okay because she usually feeds off my vibes and she was, as I said, amazing. She made sure her mind was occupied so she didn't get lost in the fear. Wow.
And during this week of recovery she has continued to be amazing. She takes her medicine. Eats her ices and she tells me not to make her laugh. Of course there is pain and discomfort but she seems to have expected and prepared for the worse, until Thursday and Friday mornings, when she seemed to falter for a few hours but she got the meds in her and rebounded. Those were also the first mornings after she slept through the night, taking meds but not drinking every few hours.
She and I sleep on the couch so she doesn't wake Kath, and so I can grab her ice, meds, walk her to the bathroom. Yet every early morning Kath has woken up, searched us out and followed our scent to the living room. She climbs over me and snuggles in so the three of us are sleeping on one couch.
Big Bro Nick came to the hospital and was there when Alex woke and came the next day and watched a movie with her (Spy Kids). Big Bro Chris wished he lived closer but called and texted. She has enjoyed having time to just be together with me at night. She has been reading now that she can handle it again, she wouldn't read the first two nights, but now she can read for hours. She has loved the cards she has received and is looking forward to the IHOP gift certificate when she heals and can devour pancakes.
While we were waiting in the surgical waiting room Roger asked me if I ever had to go to the doctors with the boys as much as the girls. I said no, but then I remembered that shortly after Chris was born the doctors found his fontanel closed up prematurely. Every month for his first year I had to take him to a hospital to have him checked. Every month, while I was 20 years old, I had to look at Chris' developmental stages and remark back to the doctors. We were lucky; each month he was ahead of the developmental curve.
I thought back to each child and each one has had his or her times of stressful worry. A couple of them keep it going for longer than the other ones, but each one has dug in and made a niche of worry in my heart and claimed certain grey hairs as his/her own from the boy whose fontenel closed up too early to the boy who ran into the wall to the girl who has been sick since she walked into kindergarten to the girl who had a stroke before she was born.
Alex asked me to 'test' her on these bug info cards Wednesday (I know...isn't she crazy?) One of the cards was about the firefly. My girls didn't recognize that beautiful bug that magically lights up the night time dark areas of my childhood. Granted some of it is because they are inside and in bed by dark most of the time. Granted they are too young (and we live in the boonies) to play SPUD with the neighborhood kids, but I thought how sad it was that even now I didn't see many of those bugs. Is it because I didn't stay up late playing SPUD and other street games like I did growing up on Long Island or was it because the bugs are disappearing or is it because we don't often stop to really look around at the things that light up...especially when we can play on Facebook for hours or get lost in the dark areas of our adulthood doing our day to day stuff?
I thought I would spend the summer sitting outside writing. I do try. I sit on the front porch and watch the hummingbirds in the morning for a few minutes, before my kids' locator device zones in and I'm found. But my visions of sitting on the back deck in the screened gazebo, after everyone goes to sleep are not happening, partly because we don't have a screen on the back door and I would have to close the door. One more barrier if I have to escape a bear...I'd have to unzip the gazebo door and pull open the oft-stuck back sliding glass door...I'm not sure I can do that faster than a bear. Yep. I'm a freak.
But even so. Where are the lightening bugs? Remember that time of life when it was fun to run around in the dark, the glare of the streetlights shining/blinding you to a loud obnoxious neighborhood game of "Freeze Tag" or "Hide and Seek." Our parents were usually sitting at someone's stoop talking, maybe drinking a beer and they were laughing and being obnoxious, too. We caught lightening bugs, kept them in that special Lightening Bug Container with the green top with the air holes.
Didn't life seem so much easier? When all we had to do was yell "Spud" or "Freeze" or "Red Light Green Light 1-2-3" and everything did stop? For at least a few seconds. Or how about when you asked to be spun around--Salt meant slow, Sugar was medium, Pepper was fast. The Spinner would grab your forearms and spin you both around in circles and sometimes just let go of you...well, usually just let go of you. The next part of the game was when after you fell the Spinner got to come around and tell you what he wanted you to pretend you were or were doing based on how you fell. And you had to do that until the Spinner yelled stop or you all just laughed too hard and someone needed to go to the bathroom.
Nowadays it is filled with...a lot of other things. When I read my homepage on Facebook it is a mix of people who have children with health issues, friends who have health issues or their family members who do, friends with children with disabilities, writer friends, high school friends, students. Everyone has something going on, but so many times my wall is filled with people who stop and show the rest of us their lightening bugs.
The pictures of accomplishments. The positive quotes. The amazing stories. The wonderful "Like" button.
Of all things..Spy Kids...I think 3...lots of movies this week...ended with the grandfather saying to his arch enemy that he was upset with all that he lost because he was in a wheel chair...but he wouldn't trade that for all he gained...by living this different life. This adult life of mine is not about catching real lightening bugs anymore, chasing them in the dark, gently placing my hands around them, trying not to smother them, watching them light up, then move on, then light up...but my life is a lot like that still.
Today Kath traced her hand (by herself), cut it out and then taped it to the wall so everyone could see. She did some mazes (follow the letters A,a to get Abigail to the apple trees). My little lightening bug lit up, moved on, lit on, moved on. (Her attention span is about as long as those bugs light up, but even that is improving in leaps and bounds). Alex flitted through the last few days lighting up and showing us how to deal with something out of one's control, she did it with strength and with heart. She lit up, moved on, lit up.
While I've been looking around saying, "Eish when I was kid I chased lightening bugs and life was easier" my daughters have showed me, 'Childhood might look like that when you look at it from 5 foot 4 and 43 years but it really is about the same kinds of things. That is IF you let it. The setting might look different, the players may appear wiser, but maybe that is just how it appears with these hindsight glasses.
Maybe some days we are just more weary than others and we don't move on, so we rest, and we don't appear to glow. Then after we regain our strength, we move on, lighting up as we go and not even realizing we lit someone's path.
This is a thank you to my friends who especially helped me this week (and well, for all those other dark times too), whether you watched Kath, made us a tray of mac and cheese, sent prayers and healing thoughts, texted, sat and watched a movie or even shared a funny story in your memory about someone cutting off their hair just like Kath did this week (that can be its own blog post!)! Thank you for reminding me that those little lightening bugs are still there bringing the magic into the dark spots.
Thank you, my lightening bug friends and family.