Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Gentle Things

There is another book by Nancy Tillman, author of Wherever You Are that I talked about on Rip's birthday, called The Spirit of Christmas and it is Gracie's favorite...we read it all year long.  There is one line that floats through my head at random..."There are gentle things the season brings"

Yesterday we took Gracie to the allergist.  It was a hellish experience.  Not because anything is really wrong with her, but because the testing they do is painful and somehow I hadn't prepared myself for that aspect of things.  It started with the "scratch test" which allegedly felt like a mosquito bite but left Gracie in tears.

 Next was the chest x-ray, and even when you know everything is fine (and really, I did) holding your tiny girl's arms in the air while you watch her naked little chest squirm around with her heart beating 200 miles per hour is enough to do anyone in.

This all led to the drawing of blood.  And a woman who could not for the life of her find the vein.  I read somewhere once that a child feeds off your energy, so as I held Gracie down while she screamed bloody murder, I tried to be as soothing as I could- but the only thing running through my head was "Please God, Please God, Please God" Please God what, I don't know- Please God make my baby stop hurting, Please God keep me from punching this woman square in the face.

By the time it was all over, we were exhausted.  Parke had to go back to work so Gracie and I did the only logical thing and went for a grilled cheese and milk shake.  Ten minutes after what seemed like the longest ordeal of her short life, the child was happily munching on a sandwich and leaning her head against my shoulder.  "There are gentle things the season brings"

Last night at 8:30 this doctor called to tell us Gracie's white blood cell count was high.  I felt like I was going to throw up.  I wasn't really listening, I finally blurted out "Does this mean she has something really bad, like cancer or something?!"  He sounded surprised and said, "No, this means she has a sinus infection".  Which in my defense, thanks for letting me know...but at 8:30 at night??

After I stopped shaking, I went back to Gracie's room.  She was sound asleep, blankies and kitty cats curled up beside her.  Hair in all directions, tummy out.  Parenting is hard, parenting after loss is harder, but "there are gentle things the season brings".

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

You Are Here

You know in the movies, when someone is about to have a dream sequence and all of those wavy lines come across the screen and you know whatever they are thinking about is no longer based in reality?  I tend to do that a lot these days, and unfortunately for me, I tend to be imagining the worst case scenarios.

As I mentioned last week, Gracie has been sick.  We are pretty sure she has seasonal allergies, we know she has ear infections, and then to top it off last week she got a rash all over her body...from what, is anybody's guess.  So we were at our 5 millionth (and this really doesn't seem like an exaggeration) visit to our wonderful pediatrician's office and he is writing us prescriptions for inhalers and referring us to allergists when I go off into my wavy land of panic, envisioning horrible scenes where Gracie won't be able to breathe and I won't be around or where she will be too sick to go out side when...


Wavy land of panic is interrupted by a robust toddler with her pot bellied stomach sticking over her diaper scraping the only movable chair in the room across the floor.  After which, she decides it will be a good idea to run over, pop the doctor on the fanny, giggle and run back behind her mama.  Repeat.

And that's when I realized-You Are Here.  Thank goodness, we are here.  We will figure out what is causing A, B, and C...and deal accordingly, but we are not in wavy panic land.  We are here, with a healthy baby with allergies.  Sometimes it takes a good smack in the rear to remind me of that...let's just hope next time it's mine.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Runner

Last week at church, our preacher talked about how everyone has a "thing".  That activity you go to when you need to figure the world out.  Some people cook, Parke surfs...and for most of my life, I've been a runner.  In fact, my best friends in college used to make fun of me for it, occasionally something would happen that I didn't like.. and I would just take off running...hence the nickname "The Runner". Probably not the best way of dealing with your problems.

After a long hiatus, I've recently gotten back into running a few mornings a week, and yesterday I finally felt my body starting to return to the rhythm that I've always loved- I guess some call it a "runner's high", to me it's always felt like strength and clarity.

Gracie has had a fever this week.  I know many sane mothers who have told me that they lose all sense of reality with a sick child in the middle of the night, and start imagining the very worst.  You couple that with the loss of a child, with something that started with a fever no less....well, forget about it.

Here is what I know:
1) Gracie is a perfectly healthy child
2) Perfectly healthy children get sick all of the time (especially when they are in daycare)
3) None of this matters when my perfectly healthy child is sick

So when I woke up yesterday morning and felt Gracie's head, which was cool as a cucumber, and saw my running shoes sitting beside the bed, the mental health alarm in my brain went off and I was out the door before I was fully awake.

Around mile two, I felt the adrenaline start to kick in.  I started thinking about all the miles my legs have travelled.  Through the hills of Clemson, when I was trying so hard to figure out what the next steps in my life would be.  Through early morning training sessions and finally the completion of my one and only half marathon, when I was in the best physical shape of my life.  Carrying me (and beginning to heal me) during my first run after we lost Rip. Up the steep hills of Tortola, Parke and my happy place, where we went right before I got pregnant and right after Rip died.  I remember wondering then how I could possibly be the same person running up the same hills.  But I was, and somehow the legs that carry me through each run seem to be an extension of the strength I find in myself.  Somehow, after I am breathing hard and sweating and feeling like I will die, that's when I know I will survive.

By the time I got back to the house, I really did know that Gracie would be fine and so would I.  The Runner is still running, but instead of running to get away, I'm running to stay right where I am needed most.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Red or White

The Scene:

On one of the first beautiful days of Spring, Mother decides to take Baby to the Farmer's Market, a mere block from the house.  Baby rides in new push car device, seen here... 

Mother and Baby look much like mother and baby in photo.  Baby loves new toy.
While at Farmer's Market, Baby gets rather full of herself, rams out of the car and busts around with newly formed walking skills, occasionally sticking her finger in other babies' eyes (Baby has also recently learned parts of the body).  After a few dirty looks from other mothers, the Mother decides to load Baby back in new push car device and head home.
Baby decides she hates, actually despises, riding in push car device and bends her body completely in half while issuing several bloodcurdling screams.  The mother is very hot.  The Baby takes off with push car before skidding across cement.  More screaming.  The Mother grabs Baby and car and starts for home.  The mother is perspiring heavily.  
The Baby decides she would like to try her hand at pushing the car again and begins wriggling like small but determined eel.  The Mother could lie down on the sidewalk.
Mother and Baby struggle to the end of the street, when rounding the corner comes Father.  Baby shouts joyfully.  Mother hands over Baby and push car device.  Baby happily allows herself to be settled into car device.  Mother mumbles under breath.
Mother, Father, and Baby reach home.  Never a fool, Baby takes Mother's hand and kisses it several times, rubbing her cheek against it.  As further act of rebellion, Baby has taken to calling the Mother "Dada".  Baby kisses "Dada" again, very sweetly.
"Dada" has one question- Red or White?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Simple Joy

I love Easter.

The whole day...everyone going to church, the pretty new dresses, the stuffing your face with ham and potato salad (maybe this is just me), the egg hunts, the candy, the azaleas in bloom...it just makes me happy.

Three years ago (how has it possibly been three years??), I found out that I was pregnant with Rip on Easter weekend.

Two years ago, I found out that we were expecting Gracie.

Here is a sample of what I did this year...

(Forgive the grainy video...I think the general cuteness still comes through.  That's my dad-Gracie's Pop-helping out, and her Uncle Will taking the video...and my Southern twang calling for the camera)

I say and show this because I think we had the best Easter yet.  It was just full of joy, simple joy.

There are lots of people I know right now going through hard times, times of uncertainty and pain and sorrow.  And when you in the middle of one of those times it seems like things are never, ever going to be simple again.

And then, one day, they are.  

Happy Easter.