If it were just me, I might have trouble giving thanks at the moment. As a human, I’ve reached my max. I cannot take another day of seeing my son go pale with pain, or bare an oxygen level similar to before surgery while I wait for it to rise. But as Charlie’s mommy, it’s my job and responsibility to stay strong, teach him about God and gratitude, and to raise him to become a kind and humble man. Something about being his mom makes me feel like I have super powers. Like there’s nothing I can’t do for him. At the same time, I know it could be so much worse. So when I don’t feel like thanking God and would rather be angry, I smile and do it anyway. I’ll go as long as I need to, and I’ll wrap my requests with gratitude because with each new day, there are countless reasons to pray.
Lately when I talk to God, I use what I call the “sandwich technique”. It’s the way I once delivered constructive criticism when I was a teacher; it helps soften not-so-great things between two lovely things. I don’t really think I’m criticizing God, just asking Him to do some things differently. In the meantime, I’ll live according to His will and find the blessings in all things.
Today’s very real sandwich prayers:
God, thank you for the potentially life saving surgery my son just underwent. Make it work, please. Help his AVMs and collaterals disappear. Bring his SATs to the 90s. And quickly since I know You can. Thank You also for Your presence as we live in the hospital. We feel it all the time.
I am so thankful for the cuddles my son gives around the clock. But God, please have him request them from a place of joy or peace rather than trauma and pain. In the meantime, I feel fortunate to have a son to love and cuddle regardless the reason.
I can’t express to You how much the many medical professionals at TCH mean to me. You’ve gifted them with the knowledge and kindness that helps heal my son. Please continue to help them learn and love; help them understand parents aren’t meaning to tell them how to do their job, only asking to be a team in their child’s best interest. Help them hear us. Guide us in making the correct decisions. Thank You for giving me patience and an interest in being an active participant in the care of my son’s special heart.
I know it sounds simple, but thank you for hot water and coffee. I pray that I never take for granted how the simple things in life are gifts too. Thank for the little luxuries in my day that help me recharge and rest when sleep is impossible.
We love You so much and are blessed beyond measure for all of the people in our lives that make sure we have our basic needs met plus so much more. We feel Your love through the love of others… love that takes us to infinity and beyond. Please help other children find this sort of support, especially the baby next door that has no one by her side. I don’t know where her mommy and daddy went or why no one else can be there for her, but please send someone to her. Everyone needs to feel love, especially children, and *especially* a tiny princess with a special heart. I’m a little confused as to why her room is empty aside from the visitors wearing scrubs. But thank You for bringing her to a hospital that will mend her heart, and thank You for bringing another survivor into the world.
Thank you so much for friends and family that will deliver, heat up, and prepare food for me so that I can stay by my son’s hospital bed. I especially appreciate the fish tacos from Aunt Snuffy and the Chipotle from Sam. They know when I say “I’m not hungry,” I really mean to say, “I can’t think about food but will devour every morsel put in front of me as if I’m a starved beast.” After this hospital stay, please keep my son alive and healthy for many decades so that I can make our own food and we can pay it forward to those that are restricted by life circumstances. Thank You for helping me learn to let go of my pride as I accept help and reciprocate through helping others; empathy is a beautiful thing.
Thank you for Danielle’s helping hands that assisted in holding down my son during a cath; orange Hot Wheels, “too fit” fire truck clothes, and shrimp from Nana and PawPaw; comical relief and showers of praise plus packages from home delivered by Grandma; middle of the night assistance in the form of presents (both tangible toys and sacrifice and love) from Tuh Tuh- who else would stay her entire spring break in the hospital?!; the calming presence of Eileen, Aunt Shell, Seema, Tessia and Uncle David (Charlie is drawn to their level of comfort and peace- we both thrive on their sort of energy); surprise visits and gifts that lift our hearts given from Jessica & Manuel, Cara, Daniela, Aunt Nancy, The Bowers, Brandon, Uncle Daniel, Reade and Levi; daily check ins and encouragement from Christine and Bunda and Amy and Aunt Katie and so many more. I feel like I’m giving a thank you speech for an Oscar and am forgetting someone. Except this is real life, and instead of show business, it’s life saving business. I pray that I always remember to give thanks and teach Charlie to do the same. If pain and suffering are a necessary part of life, I’m not truly feeling it to the worst degree because I have You, and You gave me them. I get it now though: there is light in darkness; Your love heals; faith can move mountains; and happiness really is a choice. So can You please make this our last heart surgery? Please save my son. Thank You for hearing me, and thank You for blessing the people in our life. Thank You for helping them help me, and by doing so, getting us all to know You.
I am so thankful for all of the other families and their beautiful children at TCH. They remind me that I’m not alone. But it would be better if I were. I pray no one (myself included) knows how it feels to be told there’s not much else that can be done for his child. This last thing HAS to work. Please God, hear our prayers. End CHD.
As my son listens along during our prayer time before bed, he adds his own thanks, often more numerous than mine, and I wonder if I’m totally failing him. Am I strong enough? Do I love God enough? Am I doing this right? Then today, I heard him pray, “Cank You, God, for Mommy.” I added, “But thank you the most for Charlie.”
Yep. Thank you, God. For everything.