Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Deja vu

FB Memories has been messing we me again. Yesterday, the day after Ren's surgery, this memory popped up:

Sky's three wishes from fall 2014.
Apparently, a year ago, Sky was wishing his dad's spine would get better and that our overall stress level would decline (I wrote a post about this here). As I was wandering the halls of the hospital two days ago (a.k.a. a day before this FB memory appeared), waiting for Ren to get through surgery and thinking about just about everything under the sun, I came across a wall of artwork drawn by children from a local middle school. Their artwork, created to cheer up the poor souls in the hospital, made me think about our kids and about how they will never be able to think about a hospital without remembering the many surgeries Ren has had.

Looking at those pictures, I realized that most of the young artists had probably never had a family member in the hospital or never had to have their parents taken away from them for long periods of time due to injury, illness, or major surgery. They have probably never been told to cut it out because Daddy can't get out of bed today and Mommy can't handle everything unless they start pulling their own load. They probably haven't cried about the days of old when Daddy could carry them and let them ride on his back playing horsey.

Generally, I preach acceptance and joy to the kids. I tell them that we are lucky because we have each other and that we have hope because of our faith. I help them focus on the positive while acknowledging that some of this really stinks! But, when I looked at those works of art, it hit me that these spine surgeries and Ren's increasing lack of mobility will most likely be a defining, if not THE defining, event in their lives.

As parents, we all know that there are hurts from which we can't fully shield our kids. As a parent with a spouse experiencing significant health issues, I've learned that there is also no way to make life completely "normal" for our three young ones. Multiple times in the last four years, I've left them with sitters, friends, or relatives so that I can go keep vigil while their father has surgery. We've dragged them to appointments with a multitude of specialists as we try to get to the bottom of Ren's issues. We even left them with their grandparents for 10 days, so we could make the trek to Mayo Clinic. All of these times, we've tried to be upbeat and to keep their routines as routine as possible. But, they've had to learn some really hard lessons really young: Moms and dads aren't invincible. Sometimes it seems like God isn't hearing our prayers. Life isn't fair.

On Monday night, when I got home after 12 hours in the hospital with Ren, I found the kids asleep and this Pink P creation on my desk:

"Dear mom how is daddy?"
Pink worries about her dad. She wants to know he's okay. When he's gone, she mourns his absence, even when I explain it will be just for a few days. All of my kids feel the stress of these surgeries and the subsequent imperfect recoveries. And, despite their amazing resilience, I know they have all lost a little something along the way.

I've learned not to pray that my kids won't experience pain or hardship. Instead, I hope for them a life full of joy no matter what the situation. I hope for them people who love and accept them. I hope for them the words to express how they're feeling and a way through the hard times that perfectly suits each of them. And, I hope for them to discover new paths in their relationships with Ren, so that no matter what happens with the spine, these momentary sorrows will be overshadowed by so many more years of joy and happiness.

No comments: