We packed up in the middle of the night. Pulled the girls out of their bunk beds and quietly left Flagstaff and our Labor Day Weekend vacation in the middle of the night. Reese was struggling to breathe. We needed to get out of the altitude quickly.
The girls had plans to make breakfast with their cousins in the morning. Olivia and the new neighbor friend had planned to play a game. Those plans were stripped bare suddenly when we peeled them away from their snuggling cousins that night.
I would say, typically, I am a “suck it up, sweetheart” kind of mom. Not a coddler. But this night my heart was aching. One more time they had to miss out on something they looked forward to because their medically fragile sister needed attention.
I really don’t know if people realize it, but sometimes our life is hard. Not complaining. Pretty sure only a small group of people really GET what I’m saying. Our days are filled with therapies, doctor’s appointments, a constant stream of to-do's and concerns, and lots of attention on Reese. And those are the days when we are not fighting for her life in ICU. It can be really hard, no way around it. I love her with every fiber in me, and if I loved her any more I would explode. And let me say that she is one of my life's greatest joys and sweetest gifts, lest anyone misunderstand. But she does require a lot of time and energy. True story.
We don’t have the freedom to run to the mall, take a trip to Hawaii, or even run out to get toilet paper without scheduling it. It’s just the way it is. The siblings sometimes pay a great price. Life is not as carefree as I wish it were for them. They worry about their sister dying. And I hate that they worry about that.
So we were driving back to Phoenix that night in the quiet darkness. My heart hurt for them. Olivia teared up as she said, “I didn’t get to say goodbye.”
“I’m so sorry you guys. I know you had plans. Thanks for getting in the car,” I told them. Then I turned around and held back some tears. They were great sports about it, but all I could think was it’s really not fair.
After some silence, I heard Faith say, “Thanks for being a great mom.”
“What do you mean?” Pulling children out of bed in the middle of the night didn't seem like it qualified me for such praise.
“Thanks for doing whatever it takes for Reese.”
Wow. Not what I expected. She gets it and she wasn't thinking of everything she was missing out on. A glimpse of selflessness. Thank you, God.
Yesterday, while driving Mia to a rehearsal I quizzed her about her childhood.
“Would you say it has been awesome…good…or just OK?”
Yes, this has been on my heart since that middle of the night drive.:)
“I’d say it’s been awesome.”
“What would you say has been the best part of your childhood?”
Without hesitation, she answered, “When Reese was born.”
It was one of those moments when I felt like God had come up behind me to rub my shoulders and say, “It’s OK, Sweetie. I've got this.”
You know what? Just because life doesn’t look the way you thought it would doesn’t mean it can’t be good. And sometimes those things we think are the hardest on our kids are the things that are making them awesome. Refining them to unselfishness. Teaching them to overflow with compassion and love for other people. I wouldn’t have designed it like this. But God has, and He is overwhelming me with joy as He unveils pieces of his mysterious ways when I least expect it.