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April 2005
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June 2005

6 Scenes from 7 Days- Husbands Away From Home

Although I can’t see him , I know he is there. The problem is that he is at least 10 feet away, sleeping in a different bed. The very last place I want my husband to be. 

It is after midnight and very dark in the room.We are staying in a hotel, close to the hospital where our daughter  Zoe is receiving treatment . My husband and 4 year old daughter Olivia have flown in to join Zoe and I. Our final consultation with the doctor is tomorrow.

Zoe is having a rough night, so I am laying next to her in a double bed. .I can hear Olivia’s deep even breathing as she sleeps peacefully in the outer room of the hotel.

I am wide awake and agitated, and it isn’t because Zoe is sick or even because she threw up all over me the hour before. No, like many women across the country I am laying eyes open, wide awake , exhausted and agitated because of a man. My  partner of 8 years, the love of my life, my husband managed to irritate me before he fell into a deep and, judging by the sound of it, peaceful sleep.

Given the stress of traveling across the country, and the purpose of our visit- various medical tests and consultations for  Zoe’s mitochondrial disease-  it is probably not surprising that the cause of this upset is something completely trivial. However,due to the same stresses conceding to logic and reason at this moment is a challenge. After all, my husband and I have been apart for the last 5 nights, it had been a stressful week and tonight, I was looking forward to his arrival and the comfort of lying next to him as I fell asleep.

Sadly- the topic of our not-so-nice verbal exchange was nothing of importance. In fact it was caused by my fussing and caring a bit too much. In the midst of my trying to soothe one daughter to sleep, he was left with a  short  couch and no available bed. After a long day, he fell into a deep sleep . And, after finishing with my daughter and finding him, all 6 ft. 4 of him, laying half in and half out of this very short couch, I insisted on rousing him and moving one sleeping child so that he could sleep comfortably in the other bed. Which by the sound of it ( again) he is enjoying and sleeping in quite comfortably.

However, for my kind-hearted intentions and good wifely fussings, I receive admonishment from a an overtired guy who protests that he would have been perfectly comfortable sleeping the night away on an undersized couch. Go figure.

So I lay here awake, and wishing that I was asleep, curled within his arms sleeping next to his cranky self. Zoe coughs and I hope it is her last cough for the night. Soon she will be asleep and I will tiptoe across the room, lift the blanket and climb in bed next to my husband. There in my home away from home, next to him, I will find my own peaceful sleep and the comfort that I crave.


6 Scenes from 7 Days- Zoe

She is sleeping next to me. Her baby blanket is curled into a ball and both of her arms are wrapped around it. She holds it to her chest. Her pajamas are made of the softest fleece and chosen to keep her warm throughout the cool night, as she prefers to clutch her blanket rather than cover herself .. Sometimes she turns and through her half-open eyes sees me laying beside her. With this discovery she smiles and wraps her arm around my neck, so that the crook of her elbow rests in the very middle of the back of my neck. When she gathers me in like this –we come face to face with only a couple of inches between us. I can feel the hotness of her breath and smell her still -babylike sweetness.

She is surprised to find me in her bed. This luxury is reserved only for when we are away from home. In this case, we have traveled to see her special physician and complete the annual check-ups and tests that her doctor requires to monitor her illness.

As I lay next to her the early morning light is beginning to fill the room. I am optimistic that this visit will be rather routine as our family is becoming more experienced with her health issues.She is almost three. In just a few hours she will be asleep again, although this time, medically induced for her scheduled MRI.

Hours later I am seated in the waiting area. I hold her until the medicine takes effect and she has fallen asleep. I bend down and kiss her and hurry from the room.

So I sit now, writing.Restless. I say a prayer. I scan the newspaper. I step outside and call my husband who is just starting his day back at home , fifteen hundred miles away. I walk the halls and soon the hour wait is over.

I see them wheel her back into the recovery room. Her tiny body barely visible in the full size hospital bed they have placed her in. Experience tells me soon they will call me to be by her side as she awakes. Minutes later , I am still pacing the hall, I hover near the entrance to the recovery room . I can see the doctors leaning over her, watching her carefully. I see them apply a breathing treatment and I am concerned but not alarmed. Still not allowed to cross the threshold into their work area, I am frustrated. Finally, I am called in. Her cheeks are pink and her eyes are closed. Gradually, she awakes. She coughs and coughs and she lays on my chest for over an hour. Finally almost two hours later, she is awake and smiling. Groggy , she giggles for me softly.We are done for the day.

Check back soon for 4 more scenes from our 7 day trip


6 Scenes from 7 Days- Airport Kisses

Oliviatangle

Airport Kisses

She is a tangle of long legs and curly red hair as she comes flying toward me . Her image steadies and the happiness on Olivia’s glowing face is unmistakable. I reach out, scooping her into a hug. Her small hands are brushing the hair away from my face and behind my ear. I feel her soft shallow breath against my cheek. Her first kiss lands close to my chin, the second on the tip of my nose. I brush my lips with hers and fill her face with tiny kisses.

I hold her close as I try to reconcile where the years have gone.. She will be five soon and today she seems like a new child and not the preschooler I left behind five days ago. I put her down and we begin to walk hand-in-hand. We are walking at a leisurely pace, but my thoughts run quickly. Has my absence refreshed my perspective?. Is this who she has been all along? Or has she matured in these five days- blossomed under her father’s care?

As we move through the continuatiion of our trip,together as a family, I see more.

I see a new constant confidence- as she places her hands on her hips and flings her hair over her shoulder . She offers fresh insightful four -year -old ideas in moments of family discussion and indecision.

She moves through our itinerary with an adventurous spirit of independence- understanding what is expected of her and enjoying the freedom of change and her ability to accomplish tasks without reminders.

She exhales her emotion with each breath- delight, dissatisfaction, anxiety, her desires.She communicates effectively.

She exhibits her intelligence as she responds to logic and reason. Explanations of why our plans have changed on this trip. How playtime outside and dinner in a new fun restaurant have been replaced with an efficient mealtime and a long car drive back to the hotel due to an unexpected illness.

She still comes to me for care and affection but regards her father differently. She smiles at him like before, but her eyes radiate a new light. More frequently it is his approval she seeks and his time she wants to share. I believe that in these five days they spent together he gave her a very special gift of love. A gift that I did not think to give her, that I didn’t realize she needed. New independence, a gift that was long overdue.

Check back soon for 5 more scenes from our 7 day trip......


Happy Mother's Day... A letter from your husband

This "letter" is a Mother's Day surprise..........YOU are much more than just the Love of my Life. You are a Mother. You say and do without question, you love and share without condition, you seldom rest even when weary. You are the light in our eyes, the warmth in our hearts and the wind in our sails. Olivia and Zoe will grow to admire you for everything that you have done for them. They will look to you for continued strength and wisdom and that smile which acknowledges their accomplishments. Your spirit will be renewed as you continue to love and cherish these "gifts" that God has blessed us with. Your faith in HIM will continue to provide you strength and wisdom. My love for you, "MOM", will be forever yours. WE love you, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY.

bjp


Z12z13_1

My Sister

My sister is my heart.
She opens doors to rooms
I never knew were there,
Breaks through walls
I don't recall building.
She lights my darkest corners
With the sparkle in her eyes. -
Lisa Lorden
.

They are sisters. Content with their differences in their pretend play world. Olivia kneels next to Zoe. I watch them from my seat at the dining room table. Their heads bent , Olivia’s red ringlets next to Zoe’s fine blonde hair, they huddle together in concentration. Olivia leads her in play, and Zoe responds with delight, filling the space with laughter.

In their play world, they take “ trips” to hotels -Princess bags packed with necessities. Blankets and pillows hauled to their "destination.". Zoe crawls into her  pretend“bed” while Olivia tucks the blanket around her and sings her a goodnight lullabye.

As sisters do, they kiss and hug ,and argue over their favorite toys. They compete for my attention.

When Zoe was first born, 20 months following Olivia, I felt as if I was a mother to twins. Two demanding babies. I imagined they would be alike as they grew, that they would share a bedroom, a playroom. For some reason I saw them as intertwined and not as the daughters they should be, different and unique to one another.

As Zoe grew and her delays became obvious, I was thankful for Olivia’s ability to teach her sister, to lead by example.Olivia shares her unending energy as she sings, and jumps and leads her sister in dance. Sometimes, my husband and I consider Olivia’s ability to empathize and care for her sister. We question whether this will be a role for Olivia in some far off  adult future.

For today, I see them as what they are . Sisters. I see them teach one another. Olivia teaching Zoe to play, leading her in song and adventures and yes, even leading her into toddler like trouble. I see Zoe guiding Olivia, the shy one, in social situations as Zoe is the one to first greet a stranger with a smile and say hi. I see Zoe teaching Olivia to hug and kiss – more often. I see Zoe's social eagerness reassuring her sometimes shy, anxious big sister.

I see them each with their own heart opening doors for one another.