|Sky's three wishes from fall 2014.|
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?"|
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.