We had early Thanksgiving this year. It was awesome. I shared a room with my niece and nephews, like a giant sleepover. I was perfectly willing to sacrifice a little sleep when the 2-year-old popped up at six in the morning calling, “Wake up, guys. Wake up, guys. Wake up guys.” Best alarm clock ever!
An hour after I got into the car to go home, I got a call. Someone I loved was in medical trouble. Her husband called me. He knew I was in the area, and asked that I come and watch their kids while they went to the hospital for a surgical procedure. The kids didn’t know anything was wrong, and we hoped to keep it that way.
This was a drop-everything-nothing-else-matters situation, so I was there as soon as highway driving would allow. I was relieved to see that she seemed to be dealing with it ok. She and her husband left for the hospital shortly after I arrived. Luckily, the kids were young enough that they accepted pretty easily that Mom and Dad had just decided to go out that night and I was babysitting. It helped that it was far from the first time I had stayed home with them.
The first few hours went quickly – we were busy with homework, dinner, and baths. But once the little ones were down for the night, I was left alone with my thoughts. I wanted to do something to fix it. I have an encyclopedia of medical knowledge and resources in my head, but there was nothing I could do about this. It was an acute issue, not chronic (thank goodness!), so it just was. Welcome to helpless. It’s the worst.
I have no tools to deal with helpless. All I could do was check in periodically and wait. They didn’t get home until late. I tried to wait up, but I was already lagging from Thanksgiving, so I finally gave up around midnight.
My loved one is going to be ok physically. The emotional part might take longer. The day after I left, she and her family were on the way to her hometown. They thought about postponing the trip, but in the end decided that that was exactly where they should be. She was going home to her parents and that’s what family is for, right? To pick you up when you fall down?
So, this Thanksgiving I am grateful. I am grateful that my loved one is going to be all right, that I could be there when she needed me, and that I have a family (the ones I was born with and the ones I chose) who would surely do the same for me.