She sleeps…her eyelashes heavy upon pale cheeks, her breathing easy, slow for the first time in 24 hours…

She lies on her side, curled around three small incisions, one hand draped through the rail on the hospital bed.  She is at peace.  I am at peace…for the first time in 24 hours.

It happened so quickly.  Dinner with the beloved Grands and the Great.  Within minutes, abdominal pain…within hours severe enough to double her over.   As the adults discussed theories and options, she fell asleep, clutching her teddy bear, seemingly improved.  I felt uneasy.  I didn’t sleep.  In the morning, in between that place of dreams and wakefulness, I heard a voice say:  you know what you must do…wake up…you must take her now…

I wake from this “dream.”  She is sleeping, peacefully, upon the small sofa in my room.  I wake her…she stretches and smiles…says she feels better…will I fix her some eggs?

I push the “voice” away.  She’s fine!  And then I see her.  On the sofa, curled around pain, writhing in agony from the simple movement of coming down the stairs.  Within minutes, we’re dressed…Mother, Father and child…journeying to the hospital for what we now sense is inevitable:

Appendicitis.

The diagnosis comes quickly, as does a dose of morphine to dull the excruciating pain.  Then the papers.  Risks.  Dangers.  Do you consent?  Please sign beside the “x.”

Hail, Mary…full of grace…beads slip through fingers and his hand seeks mine.

We wait and then praise God with the news that she is safe.  The appendix has not ruptured.  No infection.  No complications.  She will mend…

And she is…mending.  And watching movies while we watch her.  Her hair is up in a twist…her eyes, two dark orbs in that pale, thin face…but looking ever so much better than just a few hours ago.  She smiles and tells the nurse her pain level is a “2.”

And I praise God.  And thank Him.  Thank Him for:

~her trust and tears and whispered “I love you” as I held her while she was sick and trembling in the hospital bathroom…

~the kindness of doctors and nurses who are only too familiar with the pain and fear of parents and patients…

~her crumpled shape, resting easy upon white sheets, a teddy bear tucked under her arm…

~Grandparents who bring comfort and order and keep home and hearts and hope during our absence…

~Friends who pray…who encourage and lift up when tension and stress creep in to threaten peace and joy…

I praise Him and thank Him for life…for the bittersweetness of suffering that brings such beautiful gifts…

Blessings from Children’s Hospital,