John made it through his surgery just fine. Now onto the healing process. There is so much healing to be done.
For those of us in the craniofacial world, there is the physical healing. And although it is hard and may take many weeks, maybe longer, to move beyond swelling and the outward signs of the the trauma that has been endured, the emotional healing tends to be the more difficult process. There is the fear, the anxiety, the helplessness...it is all so stressful. And this is just for mom. Healing the soul of my sweet little boy who has to go through so much - that is much more than I bargained for when I signed up to be a mom.
As a mom, I have found myself lost after these surgeries, I get so worked up before, and then as we move beyond them, I feel what might be described as a void. I guess it isn't all that strange. We spend so much time preparing, worrying, thinking of what all needs to be done and trying to plan for each scenario, that it takes some time to decompress. And then I have discovered all too often, that once I do get to a good place, another difficulty presents itself. They all seem to run together. I am beginning to accept this as a life lesson.
It is no mystery that all of this adds stress to a marriage and family.
John has a 2-year-old sister, who is of course absorbing so much. It is hard to know how to address major surgery with a 2-year-old. She came to visit John while he was in the hospital and handled herself well, but it had to be confusing to see her big brother looking so swollen and with a somewhat sad, distant demeanor. I know she will grow up faster than her peers. I worry so much about how much to expose her to and how much to prepare her for. As she gets older, I wonder if this will be easier or harder. I am so grateful John and RoryCate have each other, but I also know there may come a time when John's differences are hard for RoryCate to explain to her friends. I hope we are there for her then. I hope we are there for both of them to remind them how lucky they are to have each other.
Marriage is hard as it is. Add in children and it becomes harder. Add in a child with differences and for us it has been much harder. It isn't thatJohn, in his perfect little self, adds stress to our marriage. It is how we respond to others responding to him that adds stress. It is the financial strain. It is the schedule, doctor and therapy appointments, that add stress. And it is the acceptance of our unexpected parenthood that adds stress. I have never understood how people can say, "My child's difference is the best thing that ever happened to me." Although I do believe that Tate and I have grown as human beings through the past three years, seeing our child go through so much has broken our hearts, over and over. We fully expect that John will grow into an amazing man, much like the amazing little boy that he now is. We aren't saddened by the lot we have been given, we are blessed...but it doesn't mean that we wouldn't give anything and everything to somehow takeaway the pain that he has to go through, both physically and emotionally.
So that leaves me with John. I know this boy so very well, but unfortunately, I can't be in his sweet little head to know exactly what it is he feels today. I wish I had the words that were going through his head, and I wish I could comfort him in the most accurate way. He has been so quiet in the last few days. Not crying or complaining, but just quiet. I miss his incessant "whys" and "how comes". I miss his light, effervescent chatter. Sheesh, I even miss his frustrating whining. Oh how I hate that his little spirit was broken, and I pray that we can "fix" it and retrieve his precious personality. I have faith that we will (he is one tough little cookie), I just wish we didn't have to.