We visit our local children’s hospital for appointments every now and then…and every time I am struck by how lucky we are.
Each time we go, we stop and look at the fish in the giant tank in the foyer.
We indulge in an awesome hot chocolate, with extra marshmallows, no matter what the weather.
We watch the meerkats playing (yep, the hospital has a HUGE meerkat enclosure in one of the clinic waiting areas) or binge on free wifi while we wait for our appointment.
We chat happily with the specialists and nurses and technicians that check my children’s hearts or try to find a way through their allergies.
We support one child or another through a procedure they are anxious about, and sometimes resort to coercion and bribery in the form of ice cream and ipad time.
We smile at the receptionist as she explains that there is a long waiting list for the next specialist appointment, especially when it is non-urgent.
We try to remember what level we parked our car on… was it ants of worms?
And then we go home…
We go home with all the children we arrived with.
I have only once gone home and left my children in hospital and it crushed me.
I didn’t even know what being a mother was back then. Only five days into the gig, and my heart was so heavily guarded from hurt even before they were born that I barely let myself feel anything, and still it crushed me to walk out the door of the hospital and leave my baby twins in NICU. It broke me into little pieces, and made me bitter and angry at the world.
I don’t know how I would handle that if I had to face it again now. Now that I have let down my guard, and let my heart be chopped up and carried around by small people.
And so I sing extra loudly as we drive down the freeway, out of the city, towards our little bit of country.
I sing extra loud, and promise dessert after dinner, and make awesome plans for the holidays… and I think of all the parents who left that very same hospital without their child this afternoon.
I vow to remember how incredibly lucky I am, and to notice all the little wonderful things in my life, and to not to let little issues get blown into big ones, and to be grateful.
Of course I will forget those vows after a long day, when the boys are punching each other, and one girl has lost her homework, and I just can’t deal with any more freaking whining….
But for now… for now I am grateful.
What makes you feel lucky and reminds you to be grateful?
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Kate - An Everyday Story says
I know this same feeling. That feeling of such gratitude. We go to the Cerebral Palsy clinic often and I always leave feeling so grateful and sometimes a little guilty that families are doing it much worse than us.
Thank you for your blog. What you write about parenting and life resonates with me on so many levels. At the moment I am grateful you’re there and you find time to share your thoughts.
Kat Hamilton says
WOW, THANK you for that!!!! You always try to remember to “count your blessings” but the day to day things suck you in!
Kate Lloyd says
Simply driving past a hospital has me feeling grateful for the health of myself and family. My mum really struggled through a shocking case of aggressive breast cancer and I’m so thankful to all the specialists, doctors, nurses and everyone who helped her through that. Even the friendly smiles she received from complete strangers that made her a little less self-conscious during the time she lost her hair is what I feel so grateful for.
Another beautiful post Kate. Thank you.
I was just thinking about my “problems” I’m having with my 2 years 9 months old daughter. How I need to put an end to her only sleeping whist I’m in her bed, try potty training for the third time, and break her addiction to the TV… Seems a little inconsequential now ;-) You made me thankful after a hard day of tantrums.
Not on your level. But I almost cried at the local library the other day at the ability to borrow so many books for my family. When there is no chance we could afford to buy all the books my children and i read every week. I feel so grateful to live in a country that provides these services free to everybody.