Then he bled….

Every few months I settle into my bed a little before exhausted-brain time and write a short “letter” to the boys in a journal for them. I know that I’m not going to remember everything that they do. I know that I will forget so many details of their lives and will regret that. So I try to chronicle some of the “momentous” moments. (Naturally, boy number three keeps getting the short end of the straw….same way that there are fewer professional photos of him!  Why are some clichés so real?!).

Last night I picked up the pen to tell Mr. Ornery how exciting it is that he finished his “season” at the day care center. He has been there almost every single week of his life since the age of three months. There were times that he waved good-bye to me, times that he needed just one more kiss, times that he needed to run and jump into my arms, and times that I thrust him into Miss Kathy’s arms, knowing that her embrace would soothe him and he’d soon be on with his day. But there were many days that I walked out of the door with tears in my eyes, pausing before I could drive on. Being a working mom with my precious children with someone else every day was not something I had dreamed of. And yet, I also knew that they were well-loved, well-cared for and that they were growing and learning and thriving. And so….I would whisper comforting words to other mothers as they walked out with glistening eyes as well.

Last night I also wanted to write to Super Tall Guy to tell him in his own private journal (rather than the Open Letter) about his experience over the past two weeks. Yet as I chronicled the events and glowed about his bravery and how much I had been worried about him, I realized that I just couldn’t put the emotions into words. For almost two weeks, I have been wound so tense. I have lived with a baseline level of worry and stress and anxiety about my boy’s recovery.

How could I describe the panicked look upon his face when he bolted upright in bed at 9:02 pm last Monday? How could I tell him my fear when streaks of blood stained the tissues that he spit into? The shake of his head when I told him we were going to the hospital? The wide-eyed gazes of his younger brothers who had aroused with the sudden change in energy level in the room? The concern in my heart as I chatted with his ENT doctor during my almost red-light-running rush to the hospital? The determination in my voice as I announced to the Emergency Room attendant that he was bleeding after his T&A and we needed to go straight back?

The panic in my stomach as I watched him spit out clots of blood and saliva? The fear as they wheeled him into the operating room even though the on-call attending physician hadn’t made it to the building yet? The beat of my steps pacing an empty surgical waiting room at 11:15 at night? The silence in my response to the cleaning staff’s amicable question, “How are you?” (I had no answer….I had no idea how I was….).

The tears that eventually escaped in staccato bursts as I tried to pull myself together. The texts sent into the air to reach out to family and friends for prayers. Sister and mother who stayed awake throughout the night for electronic updates. The kind response from a friend over an hour away willing to come to the hospital (“You shouldn’t be alone now.”)  The warmth of the hug from a nearby friend who did jump in her car and sat with me for a bit….catching up on family happenings as if we had just met up for a cup of coffee.  Plain joy and gratefulness to once again look down at my son, my boy, my angelpost bleed….sleeping once again in the recovery room.

All of that and more, I just couldn’t write for him. Not last night. Not in his journal.

But maybe….someday…..he might read the writings of his mother who sends out her heart to friends and family across the void. Because it is through connecting that we are real and through loving each other that we carry on.

For now, I hug him every moment I can and whisper “I love you” so much more than I did.

And I rejoice in the cheeseburger that broke his 11 day fast and the smile that skirts his face as he jumps on his bike once more. Every day stronger. Every day more alive.

Every day more lovely and surrounded in love.

 

When the pain cry doesn’t stop right away….Ahhhh!!

You know the cry of pain. It’s different than the “I’m irritated,” “He just took my toy,” or “I need a nap” type of cry. It is unmistakable and it doesn’t happen all that often. When it does, though, I go running down the stairs, scoop up the two-year-old and give him a hug. It’s never fun, though, to look into the face and see his hand full of blood. So I rush him to the bathroom, wondering how much of it is on my shirt (yes, in the midst of blood I do wonder where it’s all going…), and put the first thing I can find on it – some tissues. When I pull them away, I quickly put them back in place and yell, “Kathy, come here.” “What?” she asks when she enters. “Hold pressure. I’ll get dressed and take him in.”

From that point on….it’s just completely automatic. I get dressed. The Little Guy needs a diaper change. I cut off his inner layer of pajamas and throw them away instead of having to pull the shirt over his head and re-open the split lip which has a fragile clot on it and is for the moment not bleeding. Smooth over the 7-year-old who is begging for attention because he has his first field-trip for school and first playdate at a friend’s and is getting a little off-center by the attention given to the annoying little brother…. Pat the 4-year-old on the head and give him a quick hug. Shove a diaper and some wipes into my purse and off we go.

It’s four hours and four stitches later through the emergency room and Sam at ERwe’re back to the car again. It’s about then that I process the morning and realize that (a) I really need to go to the bathroom (problem with being a single mom in the ER) and (b) I’m pretty tired from the nonstop morning.

The suddenness of a kid’s illness really throws off my day – anyone’s day. And it’s not just the schedule, but the whole emotional tone of it. I’ve thought this weekend what it would be like to have been alone with the boys Thursday morning. I would have had to find someone to quickly watch the older boys or take them along with me (and that would have been just a nightmare in the bustle of an emergency room and an exam room full of fun bits of medical equipment and devices…as well as the ubiquitous and life-threatening wheeled three-legged stool!).

Fortunately, I am an extremely well-supported single mom. My sister was there to hold pressure on The Little Guy’s face. My mother arrived a few minutes later and quickly took over my “morning duties” as I looked for a matching set of little shoes. There were no questions about what needed to be done. No grumpy sighs about how their morning was just altered by the need to run boys into day care or drop off at school. No guilt. Total and complete support as we worked together as a unit – a micro-family immediately morphing into a macro-family to meet the needs of the moment.

I know I don’t tell them often enough – but I am so grateful to these two other women who make it possible for me to parent three boys.

Thank you. And I love you.

Oh…and…um….about the fact that Mr. Ornery just spiked a fever before going to bed tonight….and likely won’t be going to daycare tomorrow….. Anyone? Anyone?