First up, the big news is that due to Abbie’s recent (and ongoing) cold, we have delayed her hip surgery. The new tentative date is October 13. The surgeon wants her lungs to be completely clear for two weeks pre-op, so please pray that they would dry out and heal. The appointment with the surgeon yesterday gave us time to ask lots and lots of questions, with the result that I am now even more excited thinking about the outcome for Abbie. This is a huge undertaking, to be sure, but one that is not optional. So, we must focus on the bright side, which is brilliant when you think about it. She will be able to stand easily, she will be able to pedal a stationary bike (with assistance), and most of all, she will be comfortable!
That’s the “bottom line up front” update, but what I really want to write about is what has happened in the days leading up to that appointment. The harder I am pressed, the more Christ intercedes on my behalf. Just when I think I can’t bear the suffering, I am released, renewed, reminded.
Genevieve had to go to the Philippines last week on short notice. This gave Abbie and I a lot of time together, and many fun events filled the days. I had volunteered to help the twins’ classes tie dye T-shirts last Friday. With them short of helpers, I didn’t feel I could back out just because I didn’t have nursing. So, Abbie tagged along and was thrilled to be immersed in the chatter, laughter, and energy of excited sixth graders. She was so proud to be at her big brothers’ school, and so pleased to see her boys in the middle of the day. The other parents were so kind, as were the boys’ teachers and classmates. There are days I don’t have the stamina or heart to be different, to tell the story, to answer the questions…but not that day, it was an absolute joy not to feel limited by Abbie’s injury but to seize the chance to participate anyway.
Saturday evening we went to a birthday party with a pirate/Pocahontas theme (the back story is hilarious but way too long to tell). All the kids really got into the Native American thing, creating tribes, speaking with accents, and coming up appropriate names. I almost cried when the two oldest girls, Jamie and Keiko, approached Abbie and I and said, “We’ve come up with Abbie’s Indian name…Blooming Flower!” I could not have thought of anything more appropriate if Pocahontas had been there to help me. Abbie grinned at me every time I called her that, even as she was later falling asleep in her bed. “Blooming Flower” indeed! Makes me wonder if her name in Heaven will be “Blossom!”
Monday night, however, the reality of the looming surgery set in as I prepared notes for the physician and jotted down all my questions. Even with all we’ve been through, what we’ve learned of God’s faithfulness and the kindness of people, the thought of anything happening to Abbie still shakes me to the core. I held it together until everyone else was in bed, then Abbie and I opened a big box that my mom had sent to “Princess Abbie.” Inside were many colorful, soft, beautiful hospital-style nightgowns. Granny wanted make sure Abbie had a full wardrobe for her time in a cast. Already in tears by this point, I then pulled the most beautiful quilt out of the bottom of the box..with scalloped edges and flowers stitched over the design, it is exquisite. I was so overwhelmed with the love packed in that box, that I fell to pieces.
I was sobbing thinking, “This is such a personal, private hell. I cannot bring anyone here with me, I must endure this on my own.” [BTW…what a lie!!] I went to the computer to print out the notes, and there was an email from my sister. We are both so busy we don’t email much, but she just wanted to check in, to see how I was and to let me know she was thinking of me. The tears moved from streams to rivers…even across the ocean my family was surrounding me — my mom’s quilt was hugging me, and my sister’s words were shouting “You are not alone!”
These reassurances continued in very unique ways the next morning. Unable to sleep, I got up and took Abbie running very early. As we rounded one corner I saw a shred of a rainbow nestled into a whisp of clouds. They always comfort me, but this time I stopped in my tracks and really looked at it, imagining where the entire rainbow would be if I could see it. After I started running again, I didn’t think much more about it until I turned the corner at our house. There was the same rainbow…but all of it, shining from one end to the other. It hit me that it was an analogy for Abbie…we can only see, only experience part of her, but she is as whole as that rainbow, we just don’t get to see all of it right now. Someday, we will round a corner, and there she will be — our Blooming Flower in all her brilliance
Renewed by the rainbow and the exercise, I loaded Abbie up to head to the appointment, resolving to replace my dread with hopeful anticipation. We were early (yet another sign of God working in our lives!!), so I stopped at the pharmacy window to buy some eye gel. From behind me I heard, “Is that Abbie?” I turned to see a petite, blonde woman who then asked, “Are you Abbie’s mom?” Heather told me she’d just been on Abbie’s site the night before (probably as I was melting down). I asked how she’d ended up at Abbie’s site, and she replied that she’s been reading it for years…tears filled her eyes as she expressed her gratitude for our sharing this journey. This sentiment always dumbfounds me, as I feel like I am requesting the prayers, grace, and support of you all and giving little in return. But, as we embraced I told her that she was my angel this day, reminding me just before boarding the elevators that we are never, ever alone! Thank you, Heather!!!
The postman has also been a messenger of grace this week, with surprises often filling our mailbox. In addition to the gifts from Granny, Abbie received the latest greatest Barbie movie from Auntie Debbie, and a sweet card and more stickers from her Sticker Buddy, Kathryn Trapasso. These gifts are exciting for Abbie, but the thoughtfulness behind them is overwhelming for her Mommy.
And then there’s this (the patient reader’s reward): We have discovered that one thing Abbie truly enjoys, focuses on, and excels at is prayer. She knows she is doing something important, and after all…she knows the face of the One to whom she prays. She loves to hear the impact of her prayers. One specific boy she’s been praying for for several weeks is named Chance. He’s a fourteen year-old from Maui who was diagnosed with epilepsy last year. Three weeks ago he was surfing with his dad when he had a seizure. He drowned in the ocean. We recieved an email within a couple days, and she went to work right away. I got to meet Chance and his mom last Saturday. I was ASTOUNDED by this boy!! No trach, no G-tube, moving his tongue all around, making expressions with his face and noises to accompany them, moving his limbs. Amazing. He has lots of people praying for him, but I just know Abbie is among the most precious and powerful. You can pray for him too, and encourage his family at www.prayforchance.com.
So….if Abbie can pray for you in any way, please let us know by leaving it in the comments after the postings, putting in the guestbook, or emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Abbie yearns to DO things, and this is something she can do well; please grace her with the privilege of praying for you!