The last time I had to spend the night in the hospital was the day you and your sister were born.
Saturday night was date night for Momma and Daddy. You and your sister visited the petting zoo with Nana and Papa. And then you had some kind of allergic reaction. It started with itchy bumps on your arms and neck.
Then you took off your new sparkly purple sunglasses. Your eye was almost swollen shut.
A quick call. Zooming back home. A switch in the driveway. Speeding to the ER.
A fearful four year old. Experiencing everything so new and unknown. You were so brave. It was frightening when all the nurses surrounded you. Poking and prodding and pulling off your clothes.
I held you close to comfort you. I tried to find the right words to explain everything going on around you. I held your face and together we sang the "ABCs" and "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" when they gave you a shot in your leg and put the IV in your arm. I tried to convince you that being at the hospital was a good thing and the doctors and nurses were there to help you.
We both had tears sliding down ... Drip. Drip. Drop.
"I want to go back home," you whispered over and over.
"I know, baby. I know. Soon we will," I whispered back squeezing you tighter.
And then we were told the swelling wasn't decreasing as drastically as hoped.
"You'll be sleeping over tonight. You'll be able to go home tomorrow morning."
I walked beside your bed being pushed around corners and down long barren hospital white hallways until we arrived into the pediatric floor full of color and aquarium murals.
Your own room. An extra bed. A teddy bear left just for you. We snuggled together to get comfortable. We read books. The nurses were finally done with their checklist and you closed your eyes near 11 pm.
Not me. I watched you sleep. I listened to the IV machine beep. I opened my eyes every time the nurse tried to quietly enter the room. I prayed. I thought about all the other parents with children in the hospital. I was thankful for our mild case of a puffy eye, even though it was frightening for you. So many other families are waiting and watching their children suffer from cancer or something unknown. I was thankful for one night in the hospital, not two, three, or even weeks or months.
I couldn't imagine more than a night because I watched you while you peacefully slept. And thankfully you slept all night long. And the swelling went down.
Then we had to wait. And wait. And wait for the doctor to give us the okay.
"I want to go home now," you pleaded.
And then we had to wait. And wait. And wait some more even after he gave us the okay.
Sixteen hours later and you were discharged with most of the swelling gone. I want to remember how precious you are to us. I want to remember how brave you were that night. I want to remember your sweet, innocent, yet positive spirit. You did your best even in a stressful, unknown situation.
I want to remember our unofficial date night together, even if it was a visit to the hospital.
Thanks to Liz Lamoreux for her writing inspiration and "I want to remember ..." writing idea. Her thoughts:
"I want to remember..." is one of my favorite prompts to use here on my blog, in Project Life, and when I'm stuck (or when I think I don't have any stories left). Each statement becomes it's own access point to a story I want to tell. And, so often I find threads of gratitude woven within the memories.