So there we were driving into a parking garage of a strange new hospital with a strange new hospital smell to ride the elevator up the flights to the long row of specialists and into the fish aquarium waiting room to wait. To wait for the second opinion.
The second opinion that became necessary after two not so great surgeries with two not so great complications. And we feel like traitors in that fish aquarium waiting room, me and my surgeon husband, abandoning the ship that feeds us to jump to another with hopes of something better for this little one. This little one who is resilient and adjusted and beautiful.
My eight year old biological daughter is self conscious of her smile with crooked teeth that braces are aligning. How much more will this little one be at eight with a mouth and nose that don’t look like they should even though we think she may be the cutest thing that walked.
So we listen and ask and listen some more to a completely different treatment plan with more surgeries, small surgeries, grueling sounding surgeries and this doctor is kind and confident and asks where she is from. She opens her mouth and tilts her head back like the professional she is to let him get a glimpse of this mouth and nose and she smiles and nods. And we are so proud of this little fighter and so broken hearted that things have not quite gone as we had hoped for her medically. And we know there is hope and that she will be fine but we grieve this process for her. It feels like starting over.
And we leave the hospital in a fog of “what ifs” and tears come down my face as she happily asks from the backseat, “What doc say bout’ my lip?” “He says it’s beautiful.” “We say it’s beautiful.” “He’s going to make it even more beautiful for you, is that ok?” “Yes!” (Big smile) “Do you like him?” “Yeah!” (Big smile). And we crawl through rush hour traffic to get home to our other children who are waiting amidst board games and crayons. Dinner that would have been cooked is now pushed aside because there is too much on our mind to cook it and clean it and “How about cheeseburgers?” is met with a round of applause. So we go to a new restaurant that has TVs everywhere and two children push their seats around to try and block their view so they can’t see the chaos of the news and the angry comedy and boxing. And we sigh over not so great burgers and I feel the depravity of this world closing in. Loud and foggy and overwhelming and sad. We get in the car to go home and my car pulls a random song from my phone (still not sure how it does this) and it is “Silent Night.” Silent Night in late February. A newer Silent Night with a “Hallelujah He is King” chorus and it’s dusk and our hearts settle. Grace (the little one) is singing “Jesus Loves Me” as we are silent and I close my eyes and remember that He does. There is no pain unseen and nothing that He can’t work for good. Suffering, no matter how big or small, is not for loss. I close my eyes and focus on Him as we drive home in dusk. Yes, He is King and yes, He loves her.