fighting for her life in the hospital, it came to me. It sought me out and it lifted me in perhaps what has been my darkest hour to date. It, this mysterious force, gave me the strength to pull my sleep deprived self together and to hold her up. To look her in the eye and tell her I understood her pain but at the tender age of 7, she had no other choice but to face it the way a child faces a bad dream or a monster in the closet. I told her to kick its ass. Note: I didn't use those exact words but the meaning was conveyed. I taught her how to breath the way I was taught when giving birth. We did our labor breathing together.
Breath with me baby, short breaths. She would do as I asked while her eyes locked upon mine, seemingly never blinking. Her expression was one of trust but it also conveyed a vulnerability that simply said, help me.
Out of this nightmare experience, she seemed to have a new sense of strength and confidence about her. She doesn't take any crap from her big brother anymore, she is deeply connected to her emotional side and she will speak up to any perceived tyranny or injustice in her world, even if it's defending one of her stuffed animals. Besides the courage that comes during times of crisis, we were also blessed by our many friends. My daughter and I walked out of that hospital knowing we had survived because we were hooked up to an IV that fed us more that nutrition or hydration, it fed our very souls.That's what I took from the love that surrounded us. Our friends came and they carefully weaved a tightly knit net underneath us and with that, we were safe.
One friend in particular came to see us nearly every day. We had been planning a ski trip together with our kids, the very week the ruptured appendix occurred. She had graciously booked our room, using her points in a time share plan. We obviously couldn't go. We were all bummed but there was no repercussion, no pettiness, just a constant flowing love. This same woman recently offered us a weekend at a water park resort. She wanted to gift us with something that would replace our worries with fun; taking away my heartache and substituting the laughter of my children, like music to my ears.
Thank goodness for our water park adventure. We played all day and night, ate pizza and ice cream, and went down one particular water slide that the kids loved but in my mind, it felt like I was on a death slide to hell. It was narrow so you went sans a raft, mat or tube. Just you, in total darkness, for what seemed like five minutes of twisty, tormenting, torturous abyss. Did I mention it was pitch black? You don't know when you're going to turn and you don't know when it's going to end. I tried closing my eyes but that only made it scarier. I'm praying, please God - let there be light at the end of this thing and let it be soon.
Finally, I was unceremoniously dumped into the water the way a load of laundry get's pulled under during the rotation cycle. I emerged to see the smiles and thumbs up signs from the kids. It is symbolic of course. Many times in life, we are forced down these dark tunnels but if we keep moving and keep praying, there is always light at the end. I am blessed to have four children who are beacons of light. We may all be going down a new scary yellow tunnel soon but I will remind them to keep breathing, keep moving and keep praying until it doesn't hurt anymore.
The light will emerge from the darkness and we will go under a bit before we can poke our heads above the water and walk away stronger, more confident and able to face whatever twisty turn life has in store for us next.