Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Helpers

Like every parent in the nation, my heart is absolutely broken for the families in Connecticut.  The cavernous dark of this act cannot be expressed in words.  How this evil destroyed so much snow white innocence makes one stop and think, "How can this happen?  How can God let this happen?  Where WAS He?!" And while I cannot say I experienced this loss, I can say that I have felt that darkness before.  And then something happened.

I remember when Gideon was rushed into the PICU, hooked up to a heart monitor.  I remember the doctors not being able to explain why Gideon's heart rate continued to decrease.  I remember frantically wondering if I would leave that hospital without this light in my life, this gift from heaven: my precious baby boy.  Right when I was about to yell at God, something switched within me, and there was a Holy presence that was both heavy and light at the same time.  It felt like I was breathing in the cleanest, purest particles while my soul was held, actually caressed, into calm.  It felt like the beams of grateful radiance were shooting out of the slats of each rib and pouring peace through my every particle.  I didn't know if Gideon would live, but I knew everything was going to be okay.  I was grateful and felt like praising God for Gideon and Brody, instead of yelling.  I got it in that second: These boys of mine had added the greatest joy I had ever known in life, and I needed to be thankful for everything instead of disparaging over what may be lost. I watched the doctors and nurses milling around Gideon and knew everything would be done.  God wasn't in the sickness, He wasn't in the doubt, He wasn't in the dark: He was and IS light.  He was in the helpers.

My darkest moment created the moment of clearest joy.

I don't think it is possible to find any joy in the act of what happened, but I am already hearing about heroes in those atrocious moments.  I am already hearing stories of the victims and the impact their short lives had on so many.  I am seeing and hearing countless people joining together to wrap this community up in help and in love.  That's where God is: in the love.

Now I am thinking about those baby witnesses in that school at that moment.  I am thinking about our own children who can sense our worry and sadness as parents.  Just like the quote above, that Mr. Rogers knew his stuff.  I urge every parent/caretaker to go to this link and read valuable information on how you can help your own child while this horrific news blares all around him/her, courtesy of the wise Fred Rogers.

In the meantime, I will admit to adding more tufts of mistletoe to the ceiling of my home to serve as more excuses to slather unexpected kisses on my babies every few seconds.  Also, I need to give you an update.  Gideon has been assigned to a pediatric gastroenterologist to get to the bottom of his pain.  His medication for the pain he is dealing with has doubled, and that truly seems to be helping.  So, thank you to everyone praying for my boy and so many others like him.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Momma Bear in the Woods

Enough is enough. I am tired, tired, tired of the heartbreak from hearing Gideon screaming “OOOOWWWIE!” in the middle of his deep sleep. I don't want to run into his room and see him in a ball-like fetus rocking from side to side anymore. I have had enough of him waking up every morning saying that his tummy is on fire, and not wanting to leave mommy's side to go to school while tears stream down his face. “I just need to lay down, mommy.” I have had enough of him picking at his food, and only eating soft pretzels. Mostly, I am tired of feeling like I am overdosing him on antacids that seem to be placebo and nothing more. I need something to stop the pain. If it's not the cancer causing the pain, let's battle the pain itself. No one should be so uncomfortable, and I am tired of knowing that my baby is hurting. That was a momma bear rant. But, I need all of this to stop.

Gideon still has a cough leftover from a loooong time ago, and a few nights this week I lay awake listening to it while tuning my ear in order to hear even a faint hint of a pneumonia rattle. Last year, we dealt with that beast a ton. This year, I know not to physically push him while he is getting over a cold. I got even more worried when Gideon coughed so hard in the car that he threw-up (thus making us late for Brody's hockey). Gideon has been coming into my classroom during his recess time (which happens to by my lunch time), and lays on my bean bags to rest. Due to all of the discomfort this week, he has welcomed the rest time. That breaks my heart: the way he doesn't beg to go outside to play with his friends. He says he just needs “to lay down.” He's five. I want my baby to act it, please.

Thankfully, last weekend we all lived within the inner compounds of emotional shagri-la. Truly. On Friday, Brody, Gideon and I went on an “Owl Prowl.” We learned how to make owl calls, saw a Great Horned Owl up close, and then went on a night hike without flashlights or any other artificial lights at all. Our eyes had to go back to their prehistoric need to adjust to darkness. We were instructed to be as quiet as we could. I held the gloved hands of two silent boys as we walked heel-toe through the woods. Their voices didn't make a sound, except to gasp softly at the far-away owl hoots. They squeezed my hands every time they heard an owl, and that became our only form of communication – excited hand squeezes. The tree limbs were ink etches against hole-punctured carbon since the stars were sparkling in all of their glory. It was a timeless walk without light of fire or bulb, and my heart felt so free. I loved the way my nose was cold and the way each breath filled my lungs with life. This felt like life, this walk with my boys in silence and all senses acute. I think you can tell we found a new favorite hobby. The way my boys got so into the magic of nature made me so proud to be their mommy, once again.

On Saturday, we went to the Air Zoo to visit Santa and to ride the rides. Then I was awed by my boys again. They wanted to spend more time in the WWII section. They wanted to know about every gun, every artifact, everything. Those who really know me know that I was doubly in my glory! My boys shared my love of nature, and now HISTORY?! Oh. I soaked it UP.

More than anything, I am in awe with the way Gideon can ignore pain for as long as he can to enjoy life. I don't know if I could ever be as strong as him. He hiked as far as he could, and I carried him the rest of the way during our hike. He stood and walked at the museum as much as he could until he could not stand anymore. Instead of crying and pouting and feeling sorry for himself like I would (along with most everyone else), he whispers, “Mommy, I can't hold down the hurt anymore and I need you to carry me or I need to rest.” Mister Gideon, we will conquer this pain so that your love of life and adventure is no longer squelched. His next chemo-at-the-hospital visit is Tuesday. I will keep you all posted. I pray they can help my boy.