There is a curtain that wraps around the ultrasound table at Children’s hospital. It’s colorful. A blue green with large orange and red and yellow circles spanning the length of it. That curtain and a minute are all that stand between me and a life turned upside down.
Every three months I stare at that curtain, peeking under the bottom to see if it is two or four feet that approach. Two feet means an all clear from the tech – another three months of being medically boring. Four feet means we are not medically boring. Four feet means the doctor is joining the tech to explain what was found on the ultra sound. Four feet could mean cancer.
Every three months I stare at that curtain and I pray for two feet. Two feet. Two feet. It’s the longest minute of my life.
You would think I would be use to this. That this would become routine. But there is nothing about taking your baby to the hospital to be scanned for cancer that is routine.
As many of you know, when Sam was still a baby he was diagnosed with Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome. Most days go by and I don’t give this diagnosis a second thought. His life is normal– extraordinarily normal. He is bright and charming and sweet and playful. He speaks Spanish and torments his brother. He is obsessed with cars and Disney princesses (Rapunzel currently). There is nothing about his diagnosis that remotely holds him back in any way.
So four times a year this day sneaks up on me. I barely give it thought until it is looming in front of me. And then BAM. I look at my Sam and I think about what my life would look like and what my heart would feel like if it was four feet.
But in the midst of this anxiety and worry and what ifs there is a hidden blessing. Every three months I have a built in reminder to stop and hold my babies, both of them, tighter. I have a reminder to slow down and pay a little bit more attention. I have the reminder that one more kiss or one more hug is always OK, even 45 minutes after bed time. Every three months I am reminded of the blessings that I have been entrusted with. And I am reminded that in reality all that stands between any of us and a life turned upside down is a minute – and we may not see that minute coming.
Sam hates the ultrasound. He’s a kid that likes to have control and understand what is going on. The techs at the hospital move a little bit too fast for him and don’t give him time to warm up, understand his environment and accept it on his terms. It usually becomes a battle trying to cajole him into taking off his shirt and laying on the exam table. Lots of tears and begging to go home. In those moments I try to be strong and supportive. I speak quietly and move slowly. I explain what’s happening and hold his hands tight. I put my nose against his and look into those sweet sweet blue eyes and tell him that everything is fine. Everything is good. In those moments I am his rock and he let’s go.
He’s my rock too. After the exam he climbs into my lap. I stare at the bottom of the curtain. Two feet. Two feet. He puts his hands on the sides of my face, stares into my eyes and tells me “I love you mommy.” In those moments he is my rock. And I hold onto his body not because he needs me to, but because I need to.
And then they appear.
Today we celebrate our blessings.