Thursday, August 29, 2013
Here I am, sitting next to Parklen in his hospital bed..typing these words as I bounce the baby in her seat. This room is so normal to us, even the baby......it feels natural for us to be here.
Parklen had surgery today. Back when he was sick this summer and had a perforation in his bowels, they were forced to surgically separate his intestines. He has had one end sticking out of his tummy for the last two months. On our way to Denver yesterday, Parklen pointed at his belly and the part sticking out and said.."Mom, tell me exactly when they are gonna get rid of this guy?" They repaired it today.
I have said it before, but surgery isn't such a huge deal for Parklen any more. He spent his morning asking me how long until it was time. He knows the routine......he remembers the faces of the surgical nurses, the anesthesia team and his doctors. He was thrilled today when they gave him a purple donut pillow to rest his head upon....and so confident as he took giant breathes, enabling his tiny lungs to suck up the gas.....putting himself to sleep.
We were sitting in the pre-op room....just staring at one another and killing time with small talk. I was just beginning to think about how many times we had been here before. Parklen and I, together, counting down the moments until his surgery. Things are a bit different now....we have the beautiful distraction of Phinlynn.... It is hard to do anything but smile with her coos and grins filling the room. Parklen was sitting in bed and waving to the staff as they walked by his door. I started to feel a little sad. Sad that my child, at just five years old, is such a pro at such a scary thing. Sad that its not strange to us. Sad that this is our norm.... I was really feeling the sadness as someone poked their head into the door.
I looked up to see a face I had never seen before. Her words were simple, "This may sound weird, but I recognized Parklen's name, and I read your blog...I just wanted you to know that I am praying for you."
I was holding back tears as I heard these words. A stranger....in front of me, telling me how she prays for me, for my son, for our family. At my moment of sadness God sent someone to speak encouragement. He sent a stranger....who knows about me from the words I write upon these pages. I don't doubt that her encouragement came at the right time....I don't doubt that she was sent to me and I don't doubt for a moment that this woman and I will become friends.
This isn't the first time that something like this has happened to me.
Over the summer when Parklen was in the ICU I would spend many moments sitting and watching people walk by his room.... Seeing a lot of the same faces move past. Some people always alone, some with their spouse...some even with other children. One of these days, as I sat and watched the people pass, I saw a new family being brought in next door. As they passed, the woman looked through Parklen's door and our eyes met. She gave me a subtle smile and then moved on.
Hours later, I went downstairs to eat a late dinner. It was later in the evening and most of the people from the daily grind had gone home. I usually find extreme comfort in the silence of eating alone while I am here. I usually love to gather my thoughts and reflect on what has happened during the day. It surely didn't hurt that I had an adorable little baby smiling up at me from her stroller....unable to speak but communicating with me none the less. For some reason, on this evening I began to feel very sad. I looked down at my stale hospital pizza with the cheese that had undoubtedly been melted hours earlier and I began to miss my home. I started to wish I wasn't alone....wish that my husband was sitting across the table and making me laugh...wish that Paysen was being a crazy boy...wishing, that the silence would disappear.
As I allowed these thoughts to take over my state of mind, I felt a gentle touch on my shoulder. I looked up to see the woman who had, hours earlier made eye contact with me through the glass fish bowl that is the ICU. She smiled and simply said, "We are going to be here for a while and I couldn't help but notice that you are alone, and that your hands are full....can I get you anything?" Of course I smiled and said no but felt relief from her kindness.
The next day she showed up at Parklen's room, holding a target sack filled to the top. She handed it to me and simply said, "I hope you don't think its weird, but I brought you a few things." I smiled and took the bag from her hands. Once alone in the room, I opened the bag. Inside I found many things....snacks, activities for the kids, a book, and a tiny notebook..... On the first page of the notebook I found a handwritten note...the note was simple..it included the woman's name and phone number and then just a little word of encouragement.... She asked me to start a gratitude journal....taking time, in the midst of my troubles to find things I can be thankful for. So I did. I began to write.....finding that it really isn't hard to find the good in a situation when you force yourself to look past the bad.
This woman, a stranger....showed kindness to someone she had never met. Went out of her way to spread God's grace. Wouldn't I love to be a woman like that? God uses people every day, in every one of our lives......I hope that you see these people....I hope that you allow them to change your day, change your perspective, change your life.
What are you grateful for?!?! Start a list and watch it grow. Today, I am grateful for a strong son that shows me what it means to be brave.....and how sometimes brave is also absolutely adorable.