Yesterday I ran into Wal-Mart after work. It was a quick trip with the kids. A woman was standing by the jewelry counter with a friend and she said hello to me. I said hi back and kept walking. Then I stopped and did a double take because I knew that I knew her from somewhere. She had turned as well and she asked me if she knew me from somewhere as well. Instantly I knew her face and realized that she was one of the Child Life Specialists we had met on our trips to the Children's Hospital with Molly. She is a very kind woman with a big smile. I will never forget her. That part of this story isn't as important as the part I want to share about my feelings after I saw this familiar woman.
You see, it's been 4 years since Molly had so many set backs from surgery complications. It's hard to realize that she has doubled her life (she was 3 1/2, she now is 7 1/2) since she was in the hospital. I don't think about it all the time but certain things trigger memories and especially feelings of that time.
My reflections on that 6 months 4 years ago is still very strong. I know with even more time it will soften. And I will always be so very grateful and recognize how very blessed we were to be a success story. It was a God moment. I truly know that.
I try really hard to not talk about it too much. But I also realize that it is an important part of who I have become, especially as Molly's mom. I learned that you ALWAYS speak up for your child, you ALWAYS ask for further explanations on things if you don't understand and you ALWAYS tell your children the truth about what is going to happen. I know many parents believe that sheltering their children from the harsh realities is best but I do not. No, I don't give the gory details but I do not lie and I do not withhold information. Both of my parents had serious surgeries when I was a kid/early teenager and they always told my brother and I what was going to happen. I have always appreciated that my parents were honest and Mr. Shook and I have done the same.
Last week my girl, Molly, was star of the week in her 2nd grade class. You get to take in show and tell every day for a week. On the first day Molly took Josh, the dog you get on the pre-op tour when visiting the Children's Hospital. Molly has loved that dog from day one. She sleeps with it almost every night. I asked Molly what she was going to tell her class about Josh. She said that she would tell them that she got him from the hospital. The best part to me is that Josh is a part of her life, but she doesn't actually remember being given Josh. She was too young to really remember. When you ask her about her hospital experiences she can't really share many details. Molly remembers getting to watch movies, getting a new set of Polly Pockets, having a catheter. That's about it. I find this absolutely perfect. I am willing to bear all of the feelings we all had during that time myself. Molly doesn't remember hurting, being scared or being in any pain. I remember it all.
And, I am the most proud of how well Mr. Shook and I handled ourselves through the experience. If you are reading this blog and you are not our family or from the time we lived in Michigan or Ohio we didn't know you 4 years ago. We had only lived in Illinois a little over 4 months. I think God has now put people in our path that we can really call friends, but it was just the two of us, our two other children and thank god, my brother and sister-in-law. We didn't have many to turn to so we turned to each other. I am so lucky to have Mr. Shook as my rock. Not just in this situation but every day.
4 years ago on Valentine's Day Molly had her third surgery in a week and we ate Avanti's carry out in the hospital as our "romantic" dinner. I will skip the flowers and candy every year just so I don't have to have Valentine's any where but with my family. God blessed us that Valentine's Day and I will always remember it.
And, I will try my hardest not to talk about it too much. But, I make no promises. It's a part of who I am.
Enjoy this week of love and family!