It's the season of germs. Every school in the midwest is experiencing the joys of vomiting, feverish children leaving for various doctor appointments. Today was my turn, and although this is an "annoyance" most of the time, for me and my family, it was our first trip back to a very familiar and very painful home away from home. I dreaded this moment from the time I confirmed the appointment for my oldest son. In fact, when my oldest daughter found out that he had to go, she asked with tears in her eyes, if he was going to die. My children don't fear shots as much anymore. Doctor's offices are much scarier than any vaccination could ever be. While I was quick to assure her that his was a minor illness, I, too, feared the worst. My reasons were just a bit different. I imagined being taken to the same room and seeing the same Nurse Practitioner that marked the beginning of the end. Each time I thought about the possibilities, my stomach would turn and I'd try to distract myself.
I ended up needing to take both my oldest son and my youngest daughter, because she'd been acting a little under the weather as well, and I wasn't about to take the chance in needing to come back to this place. By the time I got to the office, I'd conjured up every possible scenario. However, when I walked through the front door, nothing happened. Nothing. No breath sucked from my lungs. No racing heart. And you know what the truly amazing part was? I got to watch my two "sick" children walk through the doors on their own. And when we were taken to the room, which was mercifully different from the scary one I'd anticipated, I listed their symptoms with no fear. Do you know how many times I got to answer "No" to the potentially scarier questions? I was absolutely aware of how blessed I was in that moment.
I also had some questions about a possible issue with my son, but even in that moment, I wasn't afraid. And do you know why? Because NOTHING surprises me. This is one of those hidden gifts given in a situation like this. I hear seemingly horrible news all the time, and it isn't that I don't care that "this" person has cancer, or "that" person was in a car accident. It's that I'm never surprised by that. I realize how terribly morbid that probably sounds to some, but I can also tell you that it's completely freeing. I know I have control over nothing, so I don't stress about trying to make it all work according to some plan. That's a complete 180 from my previous personality. And quite honestly, a piece I wouldn't give up.
After the appointment, we had to get lunch before going back to school because they'd missed it. We went through a drive-thru. Again...BLESSED. I could NEVER do that when Easton was here. You cannot have normal food around a 2 year old on a ketogenic diet. Especially not when his siblings are the ones getting to eat it. Now, obviously, I'd rather have my son here and would avoid ever eating out again if I had to, but he isn't here and the little people who are don't have the diet restrictions he did. So, I got to feed my children horrible, grease-filled, deliciously indulgent fast-food. I'm grateful for that. The next time you chastise yourself for shirking your "dinner responsibilities" and driving through somewhere, try to consider the blessing in that. (It makes fries taste lots better, too) :)
I dropped my son off at school and he went in on his own, to his wonderfully supportive school family, where he does very well. Blessed a thousand times with that moment. Do you know how many things have to go right for a ten-year-old boy to be able to do all of those things, while simultaneously being relatively happy and fulfilled? I do. I'm very much aware.
I'm not better, and I won't ever be better. Not today, not tomorrow, and not 20 years from now. However, I do have moments where I see the beauty in the life I'm experiencing. I always have. But, now I have a heightened sense of appreciation for what used to seem like the small things in life. I'll continue to have these moments. Just as I'll continue to have the periods of time when I can't seem to breathe, but they're my moments. They're my life, and they're mine to experience. I know he's with me. The signs are too ridiculously obvious to ignore or explain away. And while I'd readily have given my own life to have been able to create a different earthly existence for my son, I'll honor his memory by seeing the beauty in the small moments. He continues to show me daily, that they're the big ones.