Sunday, October 30, 2011

Dear Sophie -

It's me, your mom.  Here with another life lesson again. 

If you're wondering, they are as much for me as they are you.  Funny how life works out that way.

I'm sure by the time you read this, you'll have heard the story of your grand entrance into the world 100 times. And, how we almost lost you twice. The struggles we faced when you were a teeny tiny baby?  It's the most direct link I can find to why your daddy and I are a bit more indulgent with you than we ought to be.  We're hoping to get that under control before you're 16.  ;/

But tonight, I'm reminded of the need to be thankful in the hard times, for the near misses of what could have been.  You've been sick for a week, and anytime you have breathing problems, I'm immediately back in THAT MOMENT.  The one where we woke up and you weren't breathing, and you were blue and we had to call 911.  The one where daddy saved you, and mommy prayed for you and we both realized how desperately we loved you.  That moment where you were two weeks old and we weren't sure how we'd ever make it to your first birthday in one piece.  But now you've had four birthdays.  And we're more in love with you than we ever thought would be possible.

So today, when you started that crazy coughing/not breathing well mess/gasping for air, we hopped in the car and headed to urgent care.  After 3.5 hours of waiting, you were D O N E.  So when the doctor said you would need medicine, you decided in that moment that you would be having no such thing.  When presented with the options of liquid medicine or a shot, you chose neither and announced you would like to go home now, please.

It didn't matter when you got the explanation of why it was needed, you weren't interested. So, I quietly whispered to the doctor that it would be easier to have the shot.  The nurse came back in after the doctor left and asked if I wouldn't mind letting her try to get you to take the medicine.  I obliged, even though I knew in my heart it was wrong.

You see, my precious child, you aren't like other children.  She came in sweetly and tried to talk you through it, bribe you through it (with TOYS!), negotiate you through it and beg you through it.  She didn't want to give you the shot for something that should be so painless.  She was kind and thoughtful, and tried all the tricks that I'm sure work with all the other kids.  But she didn't know you.  I did...and that first lesson was for me.  I should have trusted my instincts.  ALWAYS TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!!

Seriously sweetheart...when you are moving in the world on your own, and something causes the hairs on your arms to raise, go with your gut!!

Back to you.  At one point, the nurse asked if you wouldn't like to at least try the medicine before you said you didn't want it.  She even put some on my finger, in an effort to get you to try it.  I went along like some tourist in a country where I didn't speak the language who turns down a really bad road because it looks like it might lead to something good.

It didn't.  And in the midst of the sweat and tears and pleading, I saw my own face in yours and I knew how this would end.  You had already decided the outcome and even if you were going to be overpowered, you would stand your ground for as long as you could.  You would not go down without a fight. You are stubborn. You are determined. You are a fighter. And I say all of these in love, because I have a feeling these might be some of your best qualities in life. I might have a wee bit of first hand knowledge in this area.

But honey? That's where the life lesson comes in.

I looked up at the nurse and smiled.  I said "we almost lost her when she was a baby. So the fact that she's here and fighting me? I'll take it. I'm grateful." And I am. I am so grateful.  I am so thankful to God that he allowed you to stay here with us and that we get to have these moments that aren't always fun. Because you're here. This month has been one of remembering to be grateful in the hard times for me, markedly so this week.  An officer who works in the next city from where daddy works was killed this week. He was 27 and had two beautiful children and a beautiful wife and now he's gone. There aren't any more doctor's visits or weekend snuggles or daddy/daughter dances for him. And while his family will move on, there will always be a huge gap in their life. So tonight, when I went to get the computer and it was dead, and it was sitting right NEXT to the charger but not actually plugged IN to the charger, I took a breath. And I remembered to be grateful. To not sweat the little stuff. To be happy that I have someone who forgets to charge the laptop because it means he's still here, living life with us. And keeping us safe, and taking out the trash, and paying the bills and the many other great things he does everyday. Even if he doesn't charge the laptop.  Or loses the remote controls. Hmmph!

But that lesson, too, was for me.  Someday for you, for sure.  You'll need to remember to not sweat the small stuff.  But that's not the one for you today.

So what was it?  Ultimately, we still had a problem on your hands. You were sick and needed this medication to breathe better.  At this point, I didn't see the shot in your future and hadn't gone through all of this mess to just poke you and be done with it.  You needed to take your medicine.  And so it ended in an ugly mess. Two nurses holding you down, and me wrapping my arm lovingly around your neck (to immobilize you), looking lovingly in your eyes (to make sure you were still conscious) and shooting the syringe full of medication into your mouth while making sure you didn't choke on it (swallow it. NOW!).

Still not clear what the lesson was, other than you'll definitely need a therapist later in life and you'll be using this note to explain why?  Well here it is love.  Sometimes, no matter how stubborn we are, no matter how determined we are, no matter how hard we fight - life does not go according to our plans.  We can't just get up and leave the office when we don't like what we've heard the doctor say, or the hand we've been dealt.  Sometimes, often times, God has another plan for us.  A bigger plan.  And the really cool thing is that most of the time, He gives us an indication of what it might be.  But the really crappy part?  Sometimes He doesn't.  In either case, the new direction we head can be one we don't like.  And we can try to deny it and avoid it.  But at some point, He's gonna grab a hold of us and give us a taste of what really is going to make it all better.  Even if you don't feel like it will.

After all, at the end of this, you got two new toys (from the traumatized nurse), a trip to yogurtology (from your exhausted mother) and a nap in the car on the way home.  Plus, you can breathe - a critical component of living.  I know it didn't feel good in the moment, but the end was so much better than you could have imagined.

And that's how it is with God too, honey.  The plans He has are so much bigger and more incredible than we could ever imagine.  But they aren't pain free all the time.  So when you find that you seem to be coming against a wall, everywhere you turn, remember this: it might be time to try something new. You just never know how great it might be in the end.

Just ask the woman who thought she'd never have a child of her own.  She realized the significance of her very existence the moment she became a mother.  Not sure who this woman is?  I'll give you a call her mommy.

I love you my precious girl.

your mama