little soldiers

March 30, 2012

This morning I sat on the floor with a nice woman I had never met before today. She was here to evaluate Elsie because at a recent doctor’s appointment, our pediatrician raised some concerns about EJ’s gross motor skills. So there we were, criss-cross applesauce, nice to meet you.

I knew right away that I was answering her questions with too many no’s. No, she doesn’t do that. No, she hasn’t done that. No. No. No.

I hadn’t even noticed it before, that when she does her army crawl, she only uses one side of her body.The right. It’s like she’s a little wounded soldier and how didn’t I notice that before?

She’s fine. I kept thinking. She’s fine. And you know what? She is most likely totally fine. But all these months. For months and months now and even years, things have not been fine when I start to think they’re going to be fine. I’m getting confused about trusting my heart-gut so I needed to just say it here: I think my daughter is just like her brother who was labeled “low muscle tone” when he was a baby. I think this could be very common for formerly colicky babies who didn’t get much practice working their core muscles because they weren’t put down very often. And now Asher is fine and Elsie’s going to be fine.

That doesn’t mean that something ugly isn’t creeping up at me. I’m trying to stop it and then I see flashes in my head, of Elsie with an oxygen tent over her face right after she was born, an IV coming out of her head. Then I stop thinking that and suddenly I see a different time, the day we found out Asher had to have brain surgery, the way I stared down at my lunch and couldn’t eat it and I couldn’t breathe. Or the day that I waited and waited for Ellie to call because her test results were coming in and then the phone rang and I went in the office and closed the door and she took a deep breath and choked out, “it’s cancer” and I sunk down to my knees and put my forehead on the chair and cried with her.

Ellie knows better than anyone I know that waiting is the hardest part most of the time. The not knowing. This game we play where it’s like you’re under water, holding your breath and you bob up to grasp for hope-air and something just keeps pushing you back under, rough, like it’s saying through gritted teeth, not yet. We need to breathe of course, but there we are, under Life’s surface just kicking and kicking and somehow not drowning even though we don’t get to gasp very often at all.

I don’t think God does that. I don’t think of Him as a bearded dictator in the sky, on a throne chair barking for angels to teach us a good lesson for the sake of the lesson.

Life is maybe just sometimes like this and it helped me so much to read this post about feeling so lost and what that can mean. Because maybe if I stop kicking and panicking, I’ll float. I’ll just be waiting and when the thoughts come that threaten to push me under, I can get rid of them here or with Ryan or a friend. Get it out. Get it out. Get it out. It’s just the truth, my true thoughts and fears and when they’re held out in the open, they don’t suffocate me so much.

Ryan is walking around the house singing, Don’t worry, ’bout a thing. Every little thing, is gonna be alright.

That’s something we’ve come to know for sure. We are all little wounded soldiers all the time, with working parts and broken parts and gifts and needs.  And even when things are not okay, even when the waiting is over and the answer isn’t a relief, it’s still going to be alright again, after it’s not.


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