Today we spent the entire day at Seattle Children's Hospital gettin' our pre-op on. Max's surgery is a go for Monday morning.
Unprepared is not quite the word I am looking for, but it fits. I was unprepared for the emotions I would feel today and bombarded/blind-sided/taken back by the transformation I would endure after just one day spent at this amazing place.
Life-changing is another word...since we're throwing them around.
I walked into this hospital thinking I already knew, thinking I belonged...but it was written all over our tired, scared faces. We were the newbies. The first timers.
Looking around, it was easy to spot the veteran parents. The ones who know each nurse by name, and run into their friends in the waiting room.
It was also easy to feel lucky. Sitting there with our sweet baby boy. A patient with an invisible problem
and one that can be fixed.
It was profound. This realization that I know nothing at all about struggle. That the mountain we're facing has not only been climbed before, but our trail was broken a long time ago. We have a map and supplies and a destination. When we get to the top next week, we know that there is a way down and that it will be significantly easier than the climb.
Today we were surrounded by families stuck at the peak. Kids fighting HARD battles. Parents who answer the call for bravery and make the rest of us look lazy.
The mom who hands the ball to her daughter who sits in a wheelchair and throws it, then stomps to it over.and over.and over. again just because it makes her child smile. Every time.
The Dad who learned a new language when his son was born into a world without sound. His defiant toddler signing a very heartfelt "NO!" in response to directions, while his wife tube feeds the baby whose diagnosis is the same as his older brother's.
The children born without limbs and the ones who are very obviously going through chemo.
The ones looking at us, wondering what could possibly be wrong enough with our baby to earn us a visitors pass and an appointment with the amazing staff who took care of us today.
Perspective changes everything. I thought I knew that. I thought I knew how fortunate we were but something hit me so hard today that I am having a very hard time putting it into words.
If you have never witnessed pure, raw, bravery before...I know where you can find it. It is written on the faces of the parents I met today who joked and smiled so that their children wouldn't know fear. It was cupped in the hands of the little toddler bouncing away in her dress...trailed by a machine that was keeping her alive.
All the building up to this point has been real and terrifying, and while Max's defects are severe and risky...we have an answer. We have a light.
All I could think about yesterday was my son and the hurdles he was gearing up for. Tonight it will be the children of strangers keeping me awake.
They will never know that the wary woman in the waiting room was clinging to their courage and that my eyes were being forced open and my heart flooded.
Today I expected emotions, but not at all the ones that I felt.
Today I am inspired.