Edit: This was written back in September, but I finally got around to publishing it on 11/6. Jack has now been in school for 3 months!
To say these past 4 weeks have been overwhelming would be a severe understatement. If I'm being honest I'm really not completely sure how I'm even still alive. I've had newborns and done the whole sleep-walk-through-the-day thing. I have, it's horrible. But this. This is something entirely different. This is like a new lifestyle.
Allow me to elaborate.
4 weeks ago, Jack started Kindergarten. I've had mixed emotions about this momentous occasion for the past year. A year. I've been fretting this day for a full calendar YEAR. For real, though.
So we spent the two weeks leading up to Kindergarten picking out the coolest school supplies, shopping with Grandma's for backpacks and lunch boxes and shoes and everything in between. I took him out for lunch and to the zoo and to Chuck E Cheese and for ice cream (like every day). He got to stay up late and bake cookies with me. We savored every last second of summer.
Then it was labor day weekend. We had plans with the family to go to Bay Beach and continue savoring summer's last moments. We had a blast! Rides and games and swimming and pizza and more swimming and more rides. It was awesome. Until I discovered a little "bug bite" on Princess' leg. It seemed too reminiscent of the one I had found weeks earlier that led to a MRSA staph infection. By Monday (Labor Day) she had spiked a fever and the infected area continued to grow.
As you can imagine, Urgent Care is not the most ideal spot to spend your holiday weekend. We waited for close to 3 hours before we saw the doctor and it took us another hour to get things all squared away. They sent us home with an antibiotic under the assumption that the MRSA was back and scheduled an appointment for follow up in the morning. This is the moment that began my perpetual state of exhaustion. It hasn't ended since.
So at our follow up appointment on Tuesday (mind you Jack starts Kindergarten on Wednesday) where the baby was running another (higher) fever, they told me that the abscess in her leg would have to be drained surgically. "Surgically" is not a word any mother wants to hear - no matter what the circumstance. They tried to get her in right away that afternoon, but couldn't. They scheduled her first thing in the morning (aka 1st day of Kindergarten, that I've been freaking out about for A YEAR.) I kind of laughed and said - "so, it has to be tomorrow?" And the nurse looked at me like I had lost my freaking mind. And I started to explain the first day of school thing, and she kept looking at me like I was completely insane. So I just said, "ok, what time should we be there, and where do I go?"
8:45 am. Children's Hospital Main Campus. Clinics Building.
Fast forward to Wednesday.
We got up early, made breakfast and I insisted on driving separately than the farmer so that Princess and I can head straight to the hospital. But the farmer insisted we had plenty of time and we'd all go together. So I oblige. We have to travel down 2 roads to get to school. It's a total distance of about 7 miles. I'm not kidding you - it took us 45 minutes to get to school. We left so that we'd get there early and be able to walk him in and say good bye, maybe casually chat with other parents. NO. FORTY-FIVE Mother Loving minutes later, we had to rush in the door, quickly greet the principal, hang up his backpack and wave bye. All the other parents stood around the room as the teacher read a cute little book about the first day of school. And I had to wave and run. I mean literally run.
This day that I had fretted about and worried and agonized over for a year. 365 days spent worried, it was here and then gone. Today was the day and I didn't even have 30 seconds to think about it. My brain was already on to my next fear. A sick child. And MRSA is not exactly "no big deal", you know? I really didn't even let my brain go there. I didn't read anything online about it because I didn't want to gain more irrational fears than I already have. I mean, let's be honest I've got more than enough of those to go around.
So now that we were running late, I had to worry not only about the impending "surgery", but getting bumped because we were late. You know how hospitals are...I mean I don't blame them. They've got lives to save, they don't have time to wait for me. So I parked my car in the first spot I saw, took no notes as to where that spot was and just rushed myself, my feverish, infected baby and my 2 bags that had to weigh a combined 300 lbs. I mean I should have just packed a suit case for crying out loud.
I can spare you some details here....we sat in the clinic where they hoped to drain the abscess right in the office. After realizing she's not even quite a toddler and that it would be darn near impossible to make her sit still, they decided they'd have to administer anesthesia and do it in the OR. So over to day surgery in the big hospital we went, and there we sat. And waited. And she got sicker and sicker. She was burning up. (Ok sorry, I said I'd spare the details) Quick version - they took her back to surgery. The whole procedure was only like 30 minutes from start to finish and she came out of recovery another hour later or so. She was so sick and so sad looking. It broke my heart.
To think I worried about this day because my little guy was growing up. Who knew that I'd have something entirely different to struggle with. I did, however, have an overwhelming peace the whole time. I saw God's grace and mercy in a whole new way. I had a few sad, quiet moments to myself. I couldn't even pick Jack up from school. That broke my heart more than having to drop him off in a hurry. I wanted to talk to him about his day, and see him in the car line and hear about all the fun things he did at his first day of school. But I couldn't - and that was really the only thing that made me cry all day.
He called me from his grandma's cell phone when she picked him up. He was SO excited. He didn't even think twice about me not picking him up. He thought it was AWESOME that his Grandma got to pick him up. (Praise God!) But I had to rush him off the phone because I started to get choked up. I felt guilty that I couldn't be part of that moment for him. I wanted to make this day a big deal, and I couldn't. And I know that it didn't matter to him - he thought nothing of it. But for me it was really a sad moment. I mean, I just cried again from writing about it. It broke my heart all over again.
....getting on to the Grace and Starbucks part. The past 4 weeks have been non-stop. But I'm so humbled by God's gentle way of showing His grace. He's equipped me with a perspective that only God can give. As we left the hospital on Wednesday, I was exhausted. We got there just before 9 am and we were walking out at about 6pm. I wanted to curl up in a ball and cry myself to sleep. God had a little reminder for me. As I walked out - I saw a family taking a walk. A dad who looked about the same age as the farmer, a mom, who looked like she needed sleep much worse than I, and a precious toddler - not much older than my little Princess. The mom rolled the IV that was attached to the small boy's bald head as he pushed a little walker through the hall. This boy clearly suffered from some type of cancer and my heart was shattered. Suddenly I had a very clear perspective. This was just a short season. A day....maybe a couple weeks if you count our whole MRSA experience. But it is not cancer, it's not a life-threatening (well, not in our case) illness, it's not a terminal illness. Our time spent in the hospital was just one day. And now we can carry on with our regular lives. No more medicine, no more check ups,
I got to drive Jack to school the next day, and pick him up after school. I get to listen to his stories and buy him ice cream and make random Tuesday's seem like the most awesome day ever. And in a 5-year-old's world that's just as awesome as making the first day of school a big deal. So once again, I'm reminded that God's got me in the palm of His hand. His plans are so much grander than my brain can even begin to fathom. And for that I'm so grateful. I think one day I might remember this truth before I start to freak out....maybe. Just maybe.
The Farmer's Wife