Mommy, are you bigger than Spiderman?
Ellie felt very well today. She is completely covered with chickenpox, but today there was a sparkle and contentment about her that made our hearts smile. I noticed on Saturday that Ellie could not stop humming. Everything she did was accompanied by a happy little tune. Some days are so difficult - where everthing is an assault to her system - taking medicine, eating food, and just the general irritations of life, but over the past three days a peace and joy have settled down on her little heart. Tonight we cleaned her sores and put the medicine on, then she put on nice clean tinker bell PJs and brushed what little hair she has left and carefully placed the barrettes in (this is tricky because her scalp is covered with chickenpox). She sat in front of the mirror and put lip gloss on (I have no idea where she gets this from :-) When her daddy came in she was all pretty for him. She struck some dramatic poses for the camra, then we got a couple video clips of her doing a little ballet dance. On her first try, Ellie spun around and got brought up short by her IV line. She kind of gasped a little and untwisted herself, then started over after dryly commenting "I think I'll not spin this time."
As was mentioned on the blog, I was able to get away from the hospital for a full 24 hours. I was starting to feel a heaviness settle on me for a couple of days, so I was beginning to realize that I just needed to have some time away. I have been careful to take breaks often, but this time there was an overwhelming need to go away overnight. It has been three months of almost continual sickness for Ellie, and all of the mothers out there know what night time is like when you have a sick child! John was already planning for me to get away on Saturday night - he realized my need before I did, but on Friday night I had a bad meltdown. When I am around Ellie so constantly there is not a chance to deal with my emotions as they arise, and I had started thinking more about the possibility of loosing her. Earlier in the evening John and I spent a couple hours with Ethan in the playroom at the Ronald McDonald house. I was so tired and drained that I just laid down on the floor while Ethan played. He would periodically come over and lie on my chest and just hug me, then pop up and start playing again. He even dragged over a bean bag for my to rest on. When John went out of the room, Ethan looked over at me and said "Mommy, you're weak." When I asked why, he said "because you are." I thought this was odd because we play this little game where he asks me if I would fight the bad guys, and I always reply that yes, I would and I would win because I'm strong. He wants to know if I'm as big as spiderman, and I tell him that I may not be bigger, but I'm stronger because I have God helping me. (I know that what he's trying to ask is if his world is still secure, and I want to assure him that he has nothing to fear.) My perceptive little boy just hit the nail on the head that night and came right out with the simple truth: "Mommy you're weak." Later, when we were back in the hospital room, John went out to the car for something and I put Ellie to bed, then the tears just came and wouldn't quit. When John got back, he found me in Ellie's fort in the shower sitting in a pile of crummpled tissue. I could no longer breathe through my nose and my head was starting to pound.
...so Saturday night I left the hospital and didn't come back for a whole 24 hours! It was completely wonderful, and horrible all at the same time. I had such a good time relaxing and not being needed physically or emotionally by anyone. I have an amazing friend who knows exactly what to feed me and how to listen to me vent, so I spent the night at her house and was fed both physically and emotionally. Then we went to the mall and I was struck with a pervading sadness. I cannot shake the feeling that everything that should be happy feels sad. I had the same feeling when we took Ethan to Sea World a few weeks back. Everywhere I looked there were happy people with their happy children, seemingly unaware of how much pain children can bring. I didn't resent them, I just mourned that we were no longer the young new family with the tiny little girl on daddy's shoulders enjoying the Shamu show - we used to be that family. So I came back to the hospital refreshed, but also thankful to be back in the room with Ellie.
Even tonight when John came back to the hospital, it felt like this room has become a little cocoon of happiness. It's like the big world out there is so overwhelming and sad, but when we are together we can just concentrate on Ellie and each other and be happy. When John came in this evening, he brought a little tiny coffee maker for the room! I was so excited to finally have my own coffee every morning, but the thought occurred to me that it would be tainted because I had to drink it out of styrofoam cups. I banished the thought as terribly ungrateful in the face of such a thoughful surprise, then the blessed man pulled out my favorite mugs from home! I cheered and clapped my hands like a little girl. It's the little things that mean so much! When I'm sitting on the couch at home, I curl up with my hopelessly gigantic coffee mug (it's so big that the coffee gets cold before I can drink it all)and take comfort just in the experience. Now I can even have that in my little cocoon here at the hospital.
And now, so as not to leave you depressed and sad, because truly I am not, I will leave you with a quote I found in a book. It was a happy new year card that read: "I said to the man at the gate of the year: 'give me a light that I may tread safely into the known' and he replied 'go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to thee better than a light and safer than a known way.'" I get sad and overwhelmed, but my hand is resting safely and securely in the hand of God and I do not fear the darkness. Yes Ethan, mommy may be very weak, but her God is stronger and even bigger than all of the superheros put together!
Thank you so very much for your love and prayers.
Love, Sarah for all.