"Brady, do you know who I am?"
My sweet little girl looked at me and scrunched up her forehead, rubbing it hard with the palm of her hand. She looked frustrated and confused, and very scared. She could not answer me. She could not speak to me. I could tell that she knew me, but she could not say it. Mom.
That moment was the beginning of five of the longest hours of my life, when my sweet little girl had a partial seizure, stripping her of her speech and her motor skills. That moment was just this past weekend, a long weekend watching my daughter lose a part of herself, then slowly come back to us day by day. She and I spent three long days in the hospital, while doctors and nurses poked and prodded her, running tests to rule out everything from meningitis to stroke. We cried together, snuggled a lot, and eventually got back to laughing and talking together, while our boys came to visit and took care of things at home.
And after what felt like an eternity, my little girl and I left that hospital and went home, back to the love of our family and friends, and two brothers who were thrilled to have their sister back.
I can say with certainty that I will never ever forget this past weekend. But not just because it aged Scott and me at least 10 years each. I know that I will look back at this weekend having learned some major lessons. Lessons that really sink in when they're coming from your eleven year old daughter.
The last few months have been a bit overwhelming for us. I won't get into specifics here, but the state of our country has been the topic of conversation on many mornings, and many nights in our house. I'm sure many of you can say that as well, no matter what side of the issues you find yourself on. And it's been easy to let the struggles around us infiltrate the emotions within us. It's hard to get through a day without wondering what's happening to our country, or worrying about the future of our children.
But oh how quickly that perspective changes when you're staring into the eyes of your frightened little girl as she struggles to form words. Everything outside that room vanished, and my whole world was right there in her scared blue eyes. I held her face in my hands and told her over and over not to worry, that it would all come back to her, that she would come back. And she did. At around 10pm that night, she looked up at me and mumbled, "I love you, Mommy". And everything was absolutely perfect.
I know that the world will never be the perfect place for my children. It will never be safe enough or good enough for them. But as long as they are with me, they are our world, and they make my world good enough.
This weekend was certainly a lesson in remembering the precious gifts that are right inside my home. But I believe this weekend also taught me the importance of balance. As I spent every waking moment (and most of those moments I should have been sleeping!) by Brady's side, holding her hand as she cried, praying for her as they stuck her with needles, holding her close, I lost touch with the outside world. All those conversations about the state of the country and the world just went away. I had no idea what was going on outside our little hospital room, and outside our family.
This felt good. For a while. And I felt tempted to stay in our little bubble. After all, everyone was ok, my daughter needed only to be held by me, and our boys came day after day to make her laugh, to hold her hand, and to give me love and support. Our seizure scare turned into a family love fest, and it was tempting to let the weight of the outside world fall away.
But that's my privilege talking. I happen to live in a way that allows me the temptation to turn my back on the outside world and dive head first into my little bubble. I wear the "right" color skin, love the "right" gender, and worship the "right" God. I am seeped in privilege. And so while this weekend was really scary, it was also a reminder that I can't run away to my bubble. I can certainly escape the reality of today in order to hold my children close and protect them as best I can. But if I really want to do my best for my children, I have to teach them about life outside the bubble. Choosing to live comfortably and safely inside our loving little bubble might make things easier for us, but choosing to step outside that bubble might help make things better for others.
Finding the balance is important.
This weekend was so not fun. But still, whenever friends ask how I am doing, my answer is that I am doing GREAT! Because Brady is doing great. Because it could have been worse. So much worse. Because we got such great care. Because we were surrounded by the most amazing friends, who scooped up our boys, and took care of everything. Because Brady did the right thing at school when she felt her arm go tingly. Because she was smart enough to get help. Because her teachers and school nurses did everything right. Because we happened to get the most amazing neurologist to take care of her. Because the nurses were so friendly and fun, and one was even this wicked awesome Patriots fan! Because my Brady girl came back to me. Just like I knew she would.
Yes, I am exhausted. Yes, I lost it a few times over the course of the weekend. Sure, I never ever ever want to go through that again. But I can't help but be thankful for how it all turned out. I know I'm one of the lucky ones. I know that every minute of every day, I have a LOT to thank God for.
And so I'm chalking this weekend up to one I will definitely never forget.
Whether or not that's for good or for bad, I'm thinking that's a matter of perspective, but right now, I'm leaning toward the good.