Friday, April 20, 2007

We Are Grateful

A couple of months ago, when my son started to show an interest in eating again, we made it a point to sit at the table and have our dinner together. We start our meal with the same ritual, a brief prayer: "Dear God, we are grateful. Amen." Every so often, in the rush of getting the kids settled, appeasing my younger daughter who is frantic from hunger, we inadvertently take a bite or two. Max immediately stops us by shouting "We are grateful....we are grateful...." It's his way of letting us know that we need to say grace.

And so we stop...we hold hands...and we say our prayer of gratitude. And, in so doing, we are reminded of just how fortunate we are.

We were in the ER this past weekend...actually, two ERs. The first ER trip was due to our concern that Max's feeding tube might be harboring some type of infection because he was experiencing fevers and the tube site was oozing. X-rays showed that all was well with the feeding tube; but he might have a possible pneumonia. We were discharged on amoxicillin and told to follow up with our pediatrician. On Sunday, Max's fevers continued and while we were treating with Motrin and Tylenol, we decided to take him to the ER when it peaked at 105.3! This time, we went to the ER where my kids were born. The ER docs, therefore, have my son's complete medical history at their immediate disposal. After assessing him, the ER doc concluded that he was probably fighting some type of viral infection and we could continue to treat him at home. So, we came home feeling relieved that there was nothing more to be done than to wait it out and allow his body to fight this bug.

The fevers have disappeared and he's doing much better. But the reason for mentioning this adventure at all is the fact that the ER doc actually called us the other day to follow up! He left this message asking how Max was doing and to give a call back to the ER if we had any questions or concerns. I was very pleasantly well as touched by his thoughtful gesture. When I returned the call, the nurse informed me that he was not even on duty that day; he had just come in for a brief time. The overwhelming gratitude I felt towards this doctor, who would check up on us on a day that he wasn't even scheduled to work, brought tears to my eyes. Yes, we are grateful!

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Choosing Guardians

I've been sick for a few days now...sick enough to be bedridden for almost 24 hours. I'm the kind of person that prefers to push through any type of illness and just keep on going. So, you know it's bad when I need to stay in bed for 24 hours. Being bedridden gives me a glimpse into just how much I take my health for granted. I know I don't get enough rest. I know my eating habits are worse now than when I was in college. I know I need to get more daily exercise. I know all these things will help prolong my life; and yet I take it for granted that, regardless, I will live for many years to come and will see my children graduate from college, get married and begin families of their own.

But, what if? What if something were to happen to me? To my husband? To both of us? What about our children? Recently, my husband and I have revisited the discussion of who would be guardians for our children should we both pass away. While uncomfortable (I mean, who wants to think about the possibility that you won't be around to watch your children grow into adulthood), it was rather easy. We were in agreement on our choices for guardianship. I have had the good fortune to marry a man who has five younger sisters, three of whom had children before we did. And, even before we had our own children, I felt a kinship with one of my sisters-in-law's (SIL) mothering style. That is the sister we chose as our primary guardian for the kids. She and her husband have three children of their own, ranging in age from six to twelve.

I spoke with my SIL a few nights ago just to remind her of the discussion and ask again if she and her husband were agreed on being guardians. We will be signing the official papers soon, and I wanted to make sure that they had both taken into consideration the possibility that Max will have some long term special needs/challenges. He could still be on a feeding tube. He may not be walking yet. He will continue to need various therapies. But, they had indeed discussed these possibilities, and were agreed that they wanted to accept the responsibility. My SIL even joked that she would quit her job to be there for Max, in whatever way he would need. (I actually think she's serious about that.)

I am so very grateful to know my children will be well cared for and loved beyond measure. The mere idea of not being here for my own children can keep me awake some nights, gripping me in fear. So I have to keep reminding myself that there ARE other people who love them. Of course it won't be the same as mommy and daddy; but these precious babies will not lack for love from grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and close friends. And for this, I am very blessed.