Thursday, November 26, 2009

New Thanksgiving Traditions

This Thanksgiving, we're away from our extended families and are enjoying making some new traditions. Being that we're both the babies of our families, we didn't get a whole lot of say in forming traditions. We kind of had to take what was there. This year, we woke up and stayed in our jammies until noon. We ate cheese grits and eggs for breakfast and went to the park after an abbreviated luncheon. We also made some new food traditions for our good old-fashioned Grizwold Smith Family Thanksgiving:

This year, bone-in, grass-fed ribeyes. Big fat, ribeyes. With (of course, there is a with) sautéed portabella mushrooms, roasted Yukon Gold potatoes, roasted fresh Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes. (I know, mom, the CARBS!) We're also having apple pie with ice cream. Burk had milk. Because that is all Burk ever has and we all feel sad for him. Carrie is having cheese grits and raspberries with ice cream and sugary baked apples. And Brussels Sprouts. Seriously. (I KNOW mom, the protein. She did eat a little bit of deli turkey.) But the kicker...the absolute BEST PART is s'mores on the grill! I am so excited, I'm liable to pee my pants, y'all!

P.S. Today Carrie dropped something and when I handed it back, she looked up at me with a face of the utmost gravity and said "Da tu Mama." Perfect ending.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Helpless, but Healed.

There's something all at once cute and pitiful about tiny hospital gowns.

If God is teaching me anything, it's that when He ordains difficulty in our lives it enables us to regard the suffering of others with greater kindness and respond to their needs with a gentle spirit. My high-risk pregnancy required me to undergo weekly contraction stress tests at the hospital. Every week, almost without exception, I sat behind the curtain in my little cubicle and heard another woman receiving bad news about her pregnancy. It got to the point that I understood what was happening in the next cube before the nurse actually vocalized it. And yet every week, I received good news about Burk. He arrived at 39 weeks, fat and full-term, despite even my O.B.'s doubts that we could make it so far.

This weekend, Burk underwent surgery at Children's Hospital to correct infantile pyloric stenosis. Seeing my month-old newborn undergo surgery and all it entails was one of the more difficult trials of my life. Yet, for the surgery team and the nurses who cared for him, it was routine. No one expected complications and the prognosis, as it was explained to me many times, was that he would get the surgery and recover. "We'll do this procedure and that will be the end of that," is how his surgeon explained it to us. And it's been true. On Friday, we took our dehydrated baby for a diagnostic ultrasound. On Sunday, we were home feeding a milk monster all the formula he could drink. It's starting to sink in now that it's over and I'm teary and tired.

But as we wandered the halls of the hospital looking for a late-night cup of coffee or just trying to blow off steam, we met some of the parents who inhabit the hospital. "Inhabit" isn't an inaccurate word, either, as some of them are there for months on end only to expect to return again after a few short weeks at home. In the cafeteria, I met a father there to see his 14-year-old daughter undergo a knee transplant after chemo had destroyed her joints. (She is Jaden. Remember her.) In admitting, I met a young mother admitting her son for the umpteenth time for an intestinal blockage. She knew every surgeon and his or her staff personally. (Her son is Aiden. Please pray for him.)

We stayed on the seventh floor just down the hall from the NICU. I watched parents wander the halls in the pajamas like ghosts knowing personally how adrenaline is to sleep like soap to oil in water. The difference is that I went home after two sleepless nights. They won't go home for weeks.

And I contemplate this and realize that God doesn't always spare our children. Sometimes, good parents lose their children. I don't understand it. So many people contacted me over the weekend expressing how sorry they were for what we were going through and wondering how they could help. I couldn't explain how little we really were experiencing compared to the suffering of others. Yet the strangest thing to contemplate is that our suffering not only gives us gratitude for the mercy God has bestowed upon us, but it also makes real the smaller (relatively, of course) sufferings of others. God wields the tool of difficulty to give us hearts turned toward mercy.

So put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I can't stand the rain against my window...

Burk on his birthday.

Contrary to how it may appear, the rain is not falling from the sky. It's pushing upward from the ground and flowing out of the storm drains like some kind of horror-movie creature. I'm enjoying it with a cup of coffee because both of my children are sleeping. Burk will be one month old tomorrow.

My body is healing slowly from his birth. It's amazing how quickly you can recover from a c-section, but I'm still working to heal from the epidural. I'll start at least six weeks of twice-weekly physical therapy on Monday. Childbirth isn't pretty sometimes. But I think it was beautiful.

I'm a little worried that I won't be finished with P.T. in time to get back in school in January. These days, I can't only focus on one thing at a time. I look forward to steak on Thanksgiving. I look forward to my very first fly-fishing lesson. I look forward to Christmas. And a trip to New York in the spring. (I hope.) I look forward to next summer when both of my children will swim.

I'm looking forward to Burk's baptism.

I wish I had the time to sink down into the mood to write like I used to for this blog. It takes a few drinks sometimes. But I do have time to chronicle what happens in the quotidian. (OH, what a delightfully pretentious word.) And what I am learning in the quotidian—as I battle what I battle day in and day out—is that the war is won in the minute. That is, most of us long for a kind of William Wallace glory moment. (FREEDOM! right?) But no one knows where most warriors fall. We win or lose in the way we consider our neighbors, care for our children, cook our suppers and love our families. The battle of the moment is a battle of years and the light of our glory is hidden under the bushel of the quotidian. And we are all warriors.

Can I get an amen?

Monday, November 09, 2009

I'm the boss. Need the info.

Do any of my medically-inclined friends have any info on the incidence of arachnoiditis following epidural anaesthesia? Not as the result of a dural puncture and not preceded by any epidural compromise and not accompanied by arachnoid cysts. Thank you muchly.