"Would you please, sit down, stand up, speak louder, be quiet, stop running, hurry up? Grow up! You drive me crazy!" There's a poem about wishing your kids would -- fill in the blank. And at the end you're left with a clean, quiet home and only the whisper, "I did." But I think that poem also has the hope of a return of the now grown child, maybe bringing another little one (grandchild! Yea!!) to run around and then go home.
I think we tend to forget that some parents would give almost anything to be able to hear and see their child the way we sometimes wish we wouldn't. I think we've all complained at one time or another about dirty diapers and snotty noses. But I know way too many who would love to have those back.
A mom I know was in the store with her daughter who is medically fragile and in a wheelchair. Someone, who's own children were running wild and had her frazzled said, "you don't know how lucky you've got it to not have to chase her." Lucky? I'd like to think that comment came from someone at the end of their rope who didn't stop to think. I pray her children don't really have a mom who wishes they weren't going to grow up. Because yes, my friend doesn't chase her daughter, but I'm pretty sure she would love to have that chance.
A couple years ago, I was at a soccer game. My son played keeper at the time, and was pretty darn good. He came out on a gamble, on what I thought was beyond risky. I'm screaming at him, (from the opposite end of the field), "You idiot! Get back in the goal! Get back in the goal!" He didn't listen (good for him!) and won the gamble. In hindsight, it was really the only way to try to prevent the goal. If he hadn't gone out, they would have scored and this gave his team the chance to catch up with the breakaway.
After the game, I asked why he'd done it, and if he'd heard me yelling. With the self-assurance of a teen who knows everything, and I'm sure it helped that he had won the gamble, he shrugged and grinned at me and said, "No, I didn't hear anything, and I knew I'd win." But if he hadn't, had he heard me? Would my yelling have just made a bad situation worse? Because, trust me, NO ONE feels worse than the keeper when a goal is scored. And it doesn't matter if it's because they screwed up, or the team screwed up and left them facing two or three forwards all by themselves.
In the heat of the moment, I let my emotions get away from me. I don't try to tell my kids what they've done wrong after a game, but I know parents who do. I don't think they realize that there are parents who would give ANYTHING to see their kid just be able to stand at home plate with a bat in their hand, or strap on shin guards to play soccer, or sit on a stage with other out of tune instruments getting ready to play in a concert.
Across the hall from us here in the PICU, a green butterfly hangs on the wall. It's been there since we checked in on Sunday. Inside the room, somebody's baby isn't going to go home with them. Ever. On the other side of the floor, is a 15 year old who has just been diagnosed with a brain tumor. His is treatable and right now his mom says that he's just relieved to find out there's a real reason for the lousy way he's been feeling for the last several months. But he's still got a long fight ahead of him. Last night, a dad came frantically up the stairs as I sat outside the PICU. His baby had been lifeflighted in heart failure from another hospital in the valley.
Earlier, I met a family from southern Utah who had put their nearly one-year-old down for a nap on Sunday afternoon. He woke up struggling to breathe and they rushed to their local hospital. A short time later, they were arriving here by lifeflight. NOT in their plans for the day. Last week, three girls lost their lives in a train accident. Tomorrow is not a guarentee. Hold your kids close. Make sure they know you love them.
So I'm pretty sure we're being sprung today. He's still kind of high on his oxygen, so that may put a kink in the plan. We'll spend the next several days sucking thick green snot out of his nose. (Is that a little too graphic?) and changing those dirty diapers. We'll be giving him lots of TLC. While the snot and diapers may not be my favorite thing, I'm grateful I still get to do it. There are so many who don't.
So if your kid is driving you crazy, just take a minute. Be grateful you're trying to find jeans you can both agree on, instead of a headstone that will try to convey your love. Creep into their room at night, and just watch them breathe and squim in their sleep, and know that tomorrow, they will be that whirling dervish again that will leave you breathless. And give thanks for God for one more day.
UPDATE: I spoke too soon. He's retaining too much fluid and his oxygen is being finicky. So today we're going to the floor and we'll try for home tomorrow. I feeling Annie: Tomorrow, tomorrow, you're always a day away...
And the butterfly room, it's now empty. Fly high, little angel. You will be missed.