We commenced the day at our favorite Taqueria, feasting on chorizo and bacon breakfast burritos and feeling like we had been given new life. With each spicy bite, my neck and shoulders loosened and I was able to leave the cares of the previous semester in the past.
Next, we made the chilly walk to the BYU-Idaho swimming pool and splashed and played until about 15 minutes before we had to shake off the water like wet little puppies and scurry over to the local movie theater so we could enjoy the cavernous emptiness of a theater for a weekday matinee and munch on a popcorn lunch.
We then played an intense round-robin of ping pong, air hockey, foosball, and an assortment of of board games.
Our vacation "snack" consisted of fancy sodas at a cute little joint in Rexburg called "Soda Vine," and like many places we grace with our presence, we had to spread beastly crew out over several tables.
I think we doubled the population of this dot of a town when we arrived for pizza at Lucy's. If Rexburg is the middle of nowhere, then Roberts is just to the side of nowhere. We took up half of the restaurant when we sat down and about three-fourths when we had finished eating our meatball and garlic pizza. I asked the chef/waitress/hostess (who was a one woman show) what the building had been before it was a "restaurant" and she said it was a jail. A jail? I was so glad I asked.
Then, it got better. A nearly toothless older gentleman with a massive walking stick and a bushy gray beard and wild hair came in to order pizza and he yodeled for Charlie! Yes. You just read that right.
The freshly washed fabric for my latest sewing projects was hanging here and there all over the house for some shrink-free drying.
Charlie emerged from his room, still rubbing happy dreams from his eyes, looked around and exclaimed,"I like your new decorations, Mom!"
Marie Turns Eight
April 21st is a meek, soft, appreciative, and weepy day filled with long, reflective pauses and lumps in the throat. A lifetime of gratitude won't suffice. I can never rejoice enough. I’m remembering the palpable fear of eight years ago.
On April 21st eight years ago I was breathless, panicked, and laboring at 32.5 weeks pregnant. I was still healing emotionally from two miscarriages as well as the loss of the twin I had been carrying with that pregnancy. They told me the baby I was carrying had a fifty percent chance of survival.
April 21st is my day of miracles and remembering that the power of the Priesthood gave us a baby girl who shouldn't have survived.
Fragments from that day. . .
Calling Eric and telling him to come home. "We have to go to the Emergency Room. . . now."
Checking into the hospital with rubber bands of terror all around me, the contractions were 2 minutes apart and hard. I had been throwing up all night, so the world was fuzzy and altered even before the doctor told us "This baby needs to come now. . . It's up to you, but from what I can see, I have a gut-feeling she'll die if she doesn't come now."
I said, "But I just want to go home and think about it. . . please?"
The numbingly desperate phone calls to family. Just tell me what to do. I can't think. Someone just tell me what to do.
Eric's blessing. You will witness a miracle. What does a miracle mean?
The peaceful weight of a myriad of prayers from those we love, all of them rising up, matching with our own starving-for-hope pleadings.
Watching the white ceiling rush by on the way into surgery, trying to catch some air, trying not to break. Feeling the pressure--what the doctor said was pressure. You'll feel a little pressure. Too soon after the emergency epidural, it wasn't pressure I felt. Staring at the clock on the wall of the OR--suddenly there were two clocks and I was dry heaving.
A gasp from a roomful of professionals. The uterus is full of blood, I heard the doctor say, the strain in his voice. Closing my eyes and fighting back the urge to throw up. . . again and again. Blood spilling out of me and onto the floor. Hands and metal, wrestling her out, jerking me roughly back and forth as I stared at the green shield. Seeing nothing but green, but feeling the release and hearing nothing but suction, and snipping, and the rustling of scrubs in quick, pre-panic movements.
Finally a cry. At least she's ours. Closing my eyes and being put back together again. Being rolled on the gurney into the NICU, and seeing two tiny feet and tubes and wires. So many tubes. So many wires. And those two tiny feet with ten toes sticking up like rosy, fleshy flower petals. More rushing white ceilings and hallways and more medicated, involuntary sleep.
The doctor leans down into my fuzzy world. If we had waited even twenty minutes, your baby wouldn’t have survived, he whispers. She is a miracle.
Looking at the clock every time my eyes looked out of a window from the morphine. When can I see her? Please let me see her? Eight hours? I have to be able to stand up before I can go? I'll do a cartwheel NOW. . . please? Waiting for seven and a half hours and buzzing the nurse again and again.
Breaking the rules. Sitting in the wheelchair and wanting the nurse to push faster. Holding her. Moving aside tubes and wires and stroking the flower-petal toes. Knowing what a miracle feels like. Knowing what a miracle is. Holding a miracle.
My Petite Marie was cheerfully greeted at her birthday breakfast table by her very own assortment of sugary cereal delights, cookies, and candy (as one of 7, she rarely gets more than a couple of nibbles of any of these items). Before she sat down to eat, she ran to her room and grabbed her journal to record the birthday play-by-play.
We were able to bring Marie's birthday lunch and eat it with her in the elementary school cafeteria. The gym and tables made me feel like I was dining among the Lilliputians. Eric said, "I feel like I'm eating in a chicken coop!"
Caleb Turns Fourteen
Our sweet Caleb turned 14 this year, and was able to have a small party with his best friends. We went shopping together for treats and planned for their happy band of brothers-from-another-mother to go out to eat at a restaurant by themselves with me picking up the bill. As we planned each layer of his party (we plan parties in layers at our house), he spouted out excited appreciation. Watching him grin and listening to him say, "Wow, Mom! Thanks so much!" every five minutes made me want to plan more parties for this grateful kid.