About three weeks ago my little guy had surgery. I have learned that he internalizes things, so I struggled with when and how much to tell him. On one hand I wanted him prepared about going to the hospital, but on the other, I did not want him worrying about any of it. I was doing enough of that for both of us.
It doesn't seem to matter what you know about the medical field, when it comes to your own family, you worry. Ironically, I have worked for an ENT for the past several years. I know enough to be dangerous, and that is probably not a good place for a mom with a kid that has a chronic ear, nose and throat problems. So, yes I knew that this was a routine surgery, and yes they almost always go very well. It's the times when they don’t that worried me. It was remembering all the little faces that would come into the office where I worked after having just recently had tonsils removed. Tired, pale little faces that hold their necks pretty stiff because I imagine it hurts their throat to move. I know it typically gets worse before it gets better. That in addition to Charlie reacting poorly one other time during surgery had me worried. I hate worrying and yet I seem to be really good at it.
I decided to casually mention that his throat and nose and ear all needed to get better and soon he would go to the hospital so they could. That was about a week prior to surgery. Then we happened to be driving past downtown and I pointed out the children's hospital. Just subtly getting it into his brain. Finally, the night before, Ron and I told him tomorrow was the day. We were going to go to the hospital and both mommy and Charlie were going to sleep there for one night. He seemed fine. He has had two previous surgeries so this was not a totally new experience. We all slept well and off we went in the morning.
After we pulled in and got registered Charlie went from walking on his own to wanting to be carried. He was chattering away, but then got much quieter. It’s like he realized something big was going to take place, and that made him a little bit nervous. Maybe this hospital thing wasn’t exactly what he thought it was going to be. Soon we were taken back, vitals were checked, the terrible fitting hospital gown was put on, and he was given some medicine to “keep him calm”. Basically, they make your kid a little loopy so they aren't so aware when they are wheeled into a big, intimidating surgical room. It's funny and you kinda need the comic relief. He was just laying on the bed, holding the stuffed animal they had given him. He looked at me and asked “mama stay?” I said, “yeah buddy, mama stays”. Then the surgeon came in and the anesthesiologist who wheels Charlie back. I watched him connect with Charlie and make him laugh, but I also noticed my little guys eyes darting back to me. And again the question “mama stay?” and again I assured him that I was not going anywhere.
We walked as far as they would allow us and twice again Charlie asked if “mama stay?”. It’s hard to say yes when they are telling me this is the furthest point I can go. I said, “mama is staying right here in the hospital with you and I will see you in a bit.” The anesthesiologist made the bed become a race car, and off they zoomed both giggling, loved that man. We were seated in the family waiting room with all the other people waiting for word on their little ones. I was doing better than I thought and I think that’s because of the devotional I had read that morning.
Basically, it was about Jesus being our good shepherd. The reason he could be such a good shepherd is because He has also been the sheep. The main scripture text was Psalm 23 and the message after was titled “Peace in the Midst”. How timely for me as a mom to remind myself that Jesus has been through it all, even death, and I didn’t have to fear. I found myself thinking that all morning I had been saying the same thing to Him as Charlie had been to me. Charlie was saying “mama stay?” and I was saying “Jesus Stay?”.
The difference was Charlie’s concern was legitimate since I was only permitted to go so far. Whereas my concern came from a place of fear because I forgot to remind myself who He says He is and what He says He does.
It’s something I need to remind myself of a lot. Between surgeries, travel and court date for an adoption, adding a new little one to the already busy mix, and the list goes on. I find myself anxious and feeling overwhelmed. Are you in that place too? Feeling fearful about something? Could it be that it might have to hurt a bit more before it gets better? Are you aware of just enough of the bad to forget the good?
I might have to read those verses aloud daily in order for my heart to be able to rest in the truth. And the truth is that we don’t have to ask Jesus to stay with us. He’s already there and He isn't going anywhere, ever.