Many parenting blogs write about how hard it is to be a parent; the sleepless nights, the picky eaters, the bedtime delays, and the sacrifices parents make for their kids. But sometimes, kids make sacrifices for parents, too.
As I hinted in my last blog post, my father-in-law has been struggling with health issues. On Sunday, we took him to the ER because his breathing was very labored. Due to a heart condition, his lungs fill with fluid and he has had to have his lungs drained several times. While Ed and his sister were with his dad, the girls and I waited in the ER waiting room to see if he would be admitted. Never once did my daughters say they were bored or tired of waiting. In fact, as dinnertime approached, I was the one getting cranky!
Yesterday, my father-in-law was going to be released from the hospital and needed to be taken to a rehab center. At the last minute, it appeared that I was the only on available to take him. But what was I going to do with my daughters? I could have tried to send them to friends’ houses after school, but the problem with being released from the hospital is that you never know how long it’s going to take. And it usually takes much longer than you think it’s going to. So I picked up the girls from school and told them to grab a snack. We were heading up to Lake Forest to pick up Grandpa.
When I had talked to my father-in-law on the phone, he had thought the paper work was going to be done by 5:00, which sounded reasonable. When we walked into his room at 4:30, however, the nurse was injecting medicine into his port. A port is an easy way to draw blood and administer chemotherapy (he also has lung cancer), but his port hadn’t been working that day. We had to wait half an hour to see if his port would work before he left. And so began the waiting game.
I don’t need to go into all the details of our visit, but I will tell you that the girls visited a little bit with Grandpa and sat quietly in that hospital room for over two hours. They didn’t bicker with each other or complain about being stuck in that hot, stuffy room with only two chairs for the three of us. (My father-in-law gets cold very easily, so the heat was turned up high!) What made the waiting even harder was that Emmy and Ed were supposed to go to a special activities night with other third graders at her school, and I was supposed to go to choir rehearsal at our church, and the hospital was not close to either place.
We finally were given my father-in-law’s release papers and were able to leave the hospital. As we pulled up to the rehab center just a few minutes before 7:00, Emmy spotted Ed, who met us there to take Emmy to her special activities night at school. They were a little late, but both Ed and I didn’t want her to miss being with her friends. I got a wheelchair for my father-in-law, and Lily and I got him settled in his room. He has been at this rehab center many times before, so he saw familiar faces right away and was relieved to be there!
Lily was looking a little pale, so I took her to Noodles & Co. for dinner. I was going to miss choir, but my little girl needed to eat. And so did I! If I timed it right, however, I would still be able to go to handbell choir. I play the middle F and G bells and our director wanted to try some new pieces, so I thought I should still go. It’s hard to rehearsal bells when people are missing!
My girls are definitely not perfect. I don’t think I ever told you that as a toddler, Lily threw the biggest tantrum in the hospital elevator after visiting my brother. But this week, I feel like they deserve some praise. They sacrificed several hours on Sunday night to sit in a hospital waiting room, and then sat in a hospital room for a couple of hours on Wednesday night. That’s tough enough for an adult to do, and they did quite well being 8 and 11. I’m proud of them!
Now, if I could just get them to clean their rooms, they would be perfect!