Day +55

Preparing to Leave

Tuesday was Day +55.  It was such an awesome day.  Even before the children woke, I dressed, folded and put laundry away, had some quiet time, and prepared for the day.  I helped children to get dressed and fixed their hair as they woke.  It was a silky smooth morning.

We did leave for the hospital late, again, since a child could not find his water bottle.  After searching the van, the room, the laundry room, the pantry, the bathroom, and the backyard, I quit and returned to the van where it was all along…..  Amazingly, we arrived at the clinic only 2 minutes late.  There was no traffic on the highway!  That was divine intervention.  Actually, I am fairly certain the whole day was divine intervention….


We went into the clinic for labs at 11:10.  At 11:20, we were finished but had to hang around until the results were back.  I was told at 11:20 that it was only taking 20-25 minutes… We went downstairs to find a place to sit.  The clinic is under construction and some waiting rooms are closed to “hard hat only” entrance, making it very difficult to find seat and entertain kids.  Having been at the clinic all day yesterday, many of our electronic devices required plugs today and there were none to be found on the clinic level of the hospital.

On our way downstairs, Cait refused to give me the LeapPad and was just pressing buttons waiting for something to happen.  I think this was our funniest moment.  We went from the 3rd floor to the 2nd and more people got onto the elevator and it was jammed.  As the door closed, Cait managed to press the button to play music on the LeapPad and it started playing “Punk, punk, Punctuation” and she sang along.  In a full elevator, she was pleased with herself for having turned the song on and bounced her knees, swayed her hips and sang along.  As the elevator stopped at the 1st floor, it rocked like it always does, and the lyrics appropriately said, “we’re gonna rock this joint!”  All six of us besides her were laughing so hard we were crying.  It was truly a stress-busting moment.

In the Cafe

In the cafe on the first floor, there was an empty table that we promptly claimed.  Empty tables are very hard to find in that area.  Unfortunately, this particular table was right next to a very busy walkway…. We all did well playing games on the iPad while I took children one-at-a-time to the restroom.  Using a restroom in public sets off my germphobia in a major way.  I am afraid to admit how many toilet covers I use for the little ones and the ends to which I will go to not touch anything in there.  Even Cait knows to put her arms up (like she is about to be searched) and NOT.TOUCH.ANYTHING.  So, picture that times 4 girls…..

At 12:15, we started getting antsy.  It had been threetimes longer than I had expected to wait…. So, I gave up my self-denial and handed Micayah a $5 bill and told him to go get me a large iced cafe mocha.  I needed it.

Just then, an older gentleman came over and said, “just how many of there ARE you?”  I said that I have six children and he nodded his head, said that he thought was how many he counted, and told me that I am doing a great job parenting.  Did he hear me lecture my son telling him that he looked like a punk with his arms in his sleeves and him slouching on the seat?  Or maybe he heard me telling my daughter that the world does NOT revolve around what she wants and that we take turns when playing games together.  Maybe he heard the repeated reminders I gave another daughter when I told her that she would NOT be getting a snack from the cafe’ because she never finished her breakfast…. Did he see me chasing a 2-year-old in one direction while the 4-year-old ran the opposite direction screaming at the top of her lungs because she had to finish her breakfast and not get a snack.  Yes, I needed that iced coffee.

The man asked where my oldest was and I pointed to the kiosk where Micayah was getting my coffee.  He nodded his head and waved while I tried to soothe Cait who wanted the LeapPad that Naomi was using…

Just then, three women we had met upstairs came past the table.  The women smiled and waved.  It ends up they had seen us yesterday.  When they saw us today, I was trying to locate a bathroom for Cait and one of these women showed me a really clean private restroom.  Score!  While waiting to go into clinic today, I chatted with the women and we got to know each other.  A survivor of breast cancer, she has been coming to COH for 13 years and could not say enough good about the facility…. and my kids.  She said she has never seen a family like mine there in the halls.  I hear comments like that often and wonder what kids they are seeing!  The woman who I talked with the most gave each of the children $1 bill.  I gave them each a second $1 to go get a snack.  They were thrilled.

While they ate their snacks and I drank my coffee, Malakye asked if I knew all those people.  I said no, but that they all came to me to tell me I was a good Mom and that my kids were special.  It was eye-opening for him that people see us and watch us and know us…. even if we do not know them.  It was a great time to explain how there are a lot of people out there walking around alone and we might remember some of them.  But we are a group of people and we tend to stand out. Besides my devotion to raising good kids, I am also quite self-conscious of what others think enough that I realize others are watching and so, I expect good behavior.  If someone sees a large group of people moving through the hallway, they will remember us.  I am happy that most seem to remember us for good behaved kids….. and not punks hiding inside hoodies….. or 4-year-old screaming down the hallway…… or a toddler throwing herself on the floor screaming “no, no!” about a LeapPad.

While discussing all of this while enjoying our snacks, Micayah said that the gentleman came over to the kiosk after talking to me and then paid for my coffee.  I had no idea!  I will maybe never see that man, or those women again, but their kindness during what was the most stressful few minutes of my day made me look at the whole day differently.  Imagine what a difference we could each make in the world if we simply found the good in people and reminded them of it at a time when they were struggling most.  When going through difficult times, so many people simply say or do nothing because they do not know what to say or how to say it.  Simple things like a coffee and some snack bars spoke volumes to our hearts today.

This is not a great copy, but perhaps you can hear the Punk, Punk Punctuation lyrics and go rock to it in an elevator somewhere.  🙂

An Afternoon Off

After 2 hours, we were finally informed that Naomi’s potassium levels had fallen from 6.4 to 5.2, and while still a bit high, there would be no more medicine today and we could leave.  We were so excited to have the rest of the afternoon FREE!  Some of the children wanted to go rest at the house; others wanted to find a playground; yet, another wanted to go back to Eaton Canyon, but not to hike…. she wanted to dance and sing on the stage there!

One of the things I want to do while here in CA is visit some of the 21 Catholic missions established in the state.  We are fortunate to have a couple right here in the Pasadena/Los Angeles area.  I decided to try to find one…. we found ourselves at San Gabriel Mission. We walked around outside the mission (established 1771) and the cemetery on-site. We visited the gift shop and an employee there asked about Naomi’s mask. After I explained, she told me that a Claretian Priest buried there at San Gabriel is going through the process to be beatified. He had a reputation for being a blessing to those who are sick. Interesting we should land there today after hearing yesterday of Naomi’s falling counts.  You can find more information about Father Aloysius in this article.

We spent some time in prayer at the altar in the mission church and at the burial site of Father Aloysius.  We left San Gabriel Mission with a heart full of thankfulness and hope, renewed.  I also purchased a book to learn about and help teach the children about the CA missions.  Of course, there would be a holy water fountain with a lion’s head on-site, too.  Divine intervention!

Night School

In the evening, I was able to get Cait, Niamh and Naomi in bed early.  Then, the older children and I started our new school curriculum.  We really enjoyed our time together and love our new classes.  I was in need of a good day like this.  Wednesday is another day away from the hospital/clinic for us.  I think I will be taking someone to dance and sing on the stage at the Nature Preserve.

sangabrielaltar sangabrielfountain sangabrielguftshop sangabrielkids sangabrieloutside sangabrielshrine

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