Cedar and I were supposed to go on a getaway together this weekend. The kids were going to stay with my parents and we were going to have roughly 48 hours to ourselves, Northwoods style. I cannot tell you how excited I was for this trip. Because I haven’t had a night away from E. since she was born and also, even more so, because I am so into going Up North and everything that it represents: kissing around a campfire, roasting marshmallows, not having a lot of plans. Sitting near a quiet lake and reading. Floating around in the water on a hot day. Flannel shirts and dresses and boots. Messy hair on vacation. I even kind of like the smell of bug spray.
And then, since E.’s been struggling so much, we had to cancel the trip.
She’s had several bouts of throwing up (sadly, the non-puke streak was utterly and profusely broken a few days ago) and an RSV-like cold that has sucked away hours and hours of our sleep. So we are here at my parents house— all of us—and they’ve done everything they can to make it as nice a weekend as possible, despite that we are still running a mini medical clinic, complete with a whole lot of nose suctioning.
Initially, I was disappointed about the trip and got that all too familiar feeling: the one of being trapped. Whenever I start to get going on this, Cedar usually says, “Well, you kind of are trapped.” And he’s right. This girl needs me and right now, until she is stable, I can’t make plans to go anywhere very far away, especially overnight.
It is intense to be so tethered to this struggling child, her schedule and her many needs. If I’m real here then I can tell you that nothing in my life has been even half as hard as this. And lately this thought keeps creeping in to my mind: what if this doesn’t get any easier? What E. never learns to eat and we have to live with this feeding tube forever? But right now, I don’t want to go any deeper into all of that because it turns out it doesn’t make me feel better. It makes me feel worse, pretty much every time.
What makes me feel better is counting my blessings. Especially because E. is feeling a little better today and I actually got to sleep through the night last night. And because we did get to have a getaway, it just looks different than we thought it would.
I am trapped, yet I am trapped with my favorite people on the planet and they show me how love works each and every day. How we make the best of what we’ve got, and that means sticking together. My dad is grilling us salmon and corn on the cob and made a baked chicken dish the other night that would have knocked your socks off. He and my mom (and a babysitter she found!) are helping us take care of the kids. I’ve gotten to go out for beer and fried cauliflower with the love of my life, and we walked all over town until just before our feet begin to hurt, which is what we both like to do. We’ve also been strolling with E. around gardens she has never seen before; I’ve gotten to take her to see and smell different lilacs every day.
Yes, I’m here for every one of E.’s feedings. But yesterday I got a massage, and in a little while I’m going to sit near the water for a few hours with Cedar, just the two of us.
I know how lucky we are, because even in our un-luckiness we are coming out this well. I’m thanking Adonai and all the stars and anyone who will listen for my parents, for the mind-blowing way that they show up and show their love. Sometimes I think we should move in with them, because it’s always, always easier when we stay here. Plus I just really like being around them. Which I know is not something that everyone can say about their parents.
But for now we’ll probably spend some long-weekends together, at their home on the lake. Although it’s not exactly a romantic getaway, it’s certainly, definitely, a lovely way to spend a weekend. Stuffy noses, feeding tubes, cancelled reservations, and all.