Last night it hit me. I’ve given the last bath and that well-loved rocking chair in the corner of our bedroom sits idle and empty.
I used to wrap up wet babies and tuck the towel tight. On my hip I’d bounce them to their rooms singing, “20 pounds of sugar coming into to-own.” Then one day it was 30 pounds of curly-haired, giggling sugar. Still, one by one, I’d heave tiny girls up on my motherly perch and bounce as high as I could get them.
I’d carefully comb tangled dripping locks. Then velcro a diaper in place before chasing a baby around with footed pajamas she never wanted zipped up.
Once I caught her and sealed the fuzzies shut, I’d settle in for a night of harmonizing to lullabies and rocking her to sleep. “He’s got my little bitty Annie in His hands…” As she grew, she set her bottle aside during this rendition to make big circular world motions while I sang. Her warm milk was welcomed back upon starting song #2, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus in the morning. Jesus in the noontime. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus when the sun goes down.”
Last night, though, I didn’t give any baths, sing a single lullaby, or rock anyone to sleep. Last night, I warmed up shower water then peeked in the bathroom every few minutes to make sure my 5-year-old and 3-year-old put conditioner in their hair. Asked if they had sufficiently scrubbed their armpits. Then handed towels to girls who prefer wiping their own faces dry.
Last night, I didn’t bounce 40 and 50 pounds of sugars to their rooms to velcro diapers or stuff reluctant feet into designated leg holes. Instead, I set out panties and let them pull their own princess PJs from dresser drawers.
Last night, I cleaned and twisted my big girl’s earrings so that her new piercings will heal. I promised Annie that yes, on her 5th birthday, she, too, can get her ears pierced.
Last night, I read three Bible stories snuggled in Audrey’s bed between two big girls who have the words memorized and whisper their own bedtime prayers.
Last night, I realized I’m watching Annie grow up. This broken heart that wasn’t supposed to get her anywhere has sustained her to this curious little girl. Holding a fuzzy caterpillar yesterday, she exclaimed, “Momma, I brave!”
She’s so brave that last Thursday she proudly mounted the echocardiogram table all by herself. She smiled and chatted with the nurse. But she still reached over for my hand while the technician captured pictures of her heart.
I’m glad that she’s always been brave. God knew what type of courage Annie needed.
Last week, a phone call from Philadelphia reminded me of the courage we all need because our days are certainly numbered. The scheduling nurse informed me:
-Annie will report to CHOP for pre-admission testing on Friday, July 28.
-She’ll undergo a cardiac catheterization and MRI on Monday, July 31 to see if she’s eligible for the (hopefully) final open heart surgery she needs.
-If the doctors agree that she is a candidate this year–after being deemed ineligible March 2016 due to severe heart failure–her surgeon, Dr. Spray, will perform the Fontan surgery on Annie on Tuesday, August 1.
It’s time for us to live up the summer that is ahead of us. I’m praying that we can put off worry about Annie’s surgery outcome until we have to face it at the end of July. I’m praying that we can enjoy every day God gives us and trust His perfect count of them.
Last night, I realized that instead of being sad that my girls aren’t babies anymore, I’m so thankful for the privilege of getting this growing number of days with them.