Monday, October 13, 2014

Counting smiles not surgeries.

Monday dawned bright and early today. And even the fact that my Mississippi State bulldogs are ranked #1 in the country could not stop Monday from being well, Monday. But in spite of Monday, and in spite of the fact that I spent my afternoon watching/helping/answering questions while the triplets filled out college applications, I felt this sense of anticipation all afternoon that soon, soon, I would get to turn back the clock for a minute and recall these early days of motherhood, and oh the joy that brought. So thank you for joining me this month, as I work on challenging myself to look back and count what really and truly counts in life. (And if you want to see all my posts, you can click here!)

May 10, 2000 -- "We've had another of our "doctor days"....where my little troopers allow themselves to be poked, stretched, x-rayed and keep smiling! Bless them, and then bless the doctor who didn't mind conducting his exam amidst light sabers (they are Wade's children) and Pooh-Bear books, and bless him for "examining" Claire and pronouncing her knees in need of kisses and band-aids!"

I would be lying if I told you that our "doctor-days" were easy. They were not. This particular appointment the triplets were three years old. We made those appointments with the boys in a side-by-side stroller, Claire walking/skipping/hopping at my side. Perched precariously on the handles of the stroller were two walkers. A Mommy bag was underneath the stroller with all manner of sippy cups, snacks and wipes while also holding light sabers, books, crayons, and anything I could dream up to keep the terrific trio entertained while we waited and were examined.

Getting from the parking garage to the clinic was a feat in itself. Sweet little Claire-bear was expected to behave perfectly. I could not let go of the perched walkers on the handle to chase her at all. We were a finely balanced moving part and one mis-fire and the whole thing would collapse. 

Me: "I can not hold onto you so you MUST hold onto to the stroller handle with Mommy."

And strong-willed, mind-of-her-own child did. She held on for dear life. Looking back I can only shake my head as I realize what an absolute gift that was in itself!

Of course, going to the doctor's office was usually a chance to see our Daddy. He would break away from his patients to say hello and the kids thought this was the greatest. Somehow when you get a treat like time with Daddy, doctor appointments don't seem nearly as rough.

Isn't that a blessing I should count? In the myriad of appointments, therapies, surgeries, etc that these boys have faced -- during those early little years, they were never afraid of the medical staff.

A couple of months after this email, Benjamin had his first surgery. We met with a child life specialist to prepare him and his siblings:

Specialist (Holding up a picture of a man in a suit): "Benjamin, this man is a doctor. He's not scary, is he?"

Benjamin (glancing at picture, then looking to see what Mason is playing with): "Nope."

Specialist (Holding up a picture of the same man in scrubs with his scull cap and face mask on for surgery): "Is this man scary?"

Benjamin (missed what she said because he was talking to Mason, turns to look at picture): "DADDY!!!!"

She dismissed us as ready for surgery after that. If Benjamin thought all men in blue scrubs, scull caps and face masks on were his dad, his encounters on the day of surgery should be a breeze!

I confess to you that I count surgeries a lot less joyfully. I know the number they've had, the hours they took, and the weeks we spent recovering. I can count pounds added from the stress-eating. I can count friendships bruised from my extreme-emotions during the time surrounding their surgeries. I can count, oh the list of negative, woe-is-mes I can count.

But reading this email reminds me of so much more -- I remember the sweet smiles these babies always wore. I remember that even today -- all these surgeries, procedures, x-rays later -- they greet their medical staff with smiles and a warmth that just exudes from them.

Their pervading sense of joy is what counts. I mean what really, really counts is that Benjamin saw his Daddy in the picture of blue scrub-wearing doctor -- not something scary. What counts is that Mason uses the pain and raw fear of his last surgery experience to encourage others to not be afraid in whatever circumstances life brings. What counts is that these young men are not colored by all the negatives that I far too quickly tally. Oh no, they are instead colored by the gifts they have been given that far exceed any negative.

Oh I am so thankful they are teaching me to count. 

Carol - The Blessings Counter


Faith said...

This just made me want to weep... you must have been through SO much, but I love this perspective of counting blessings through the trials. And your triplets are just SO BEAUTIFUL now!!
Going to add your blog to my blogluvin feed now.