When she didn’t turn around.

Today E had a sedated procedure (a Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response test, to be exact). The preparation was more involved than we expected because she was going under general anesthesia. We woke her early in order to feed her right before fasting was to begin. We played and cuddled while waiting the 2 hours in the hospital room. It was a pleasant morning, with only a bit of building anxiety. Then, the nurses came to take her back.We gave her over to them with nary a cry from her, and she stayed fixated on the nurse holding her until we couldn’t see her.

And she never turned around. She didn’t once look back or look around to see if we were following or with her.

… And it broke my heart.

Not in the “Oh she’s so big now she doesn’t miss her Mama” way of hurting… but in the “Wow, she is so cognitively delayed that she doesn’t realize we’re gone or when to miss us” way of crushing realization. That’s a pain that hasn’t struck many times. We typically laugh at her lack of stranger awareness, that she is friends to all and indifferent about her parents like a teenager is. But today, most likely because of the heightened emotions, it hurt badly.

I paced the floor for almost the entire time she was gone. Ben jokingly said I was going to hit my FitBit steps for the day because of all of my pacing. I realized she would be waking without us in the room and it tore me apart. She needed us! She would be scared without us! Then, an awful, dark, sneaking, lie-filled voice filled my head, “She doesn’t need you. She doesn’t really even know who you are. That’s why she didn’t turn around. She doesn’t know you from a stranger.” And in the moment it felt like truth.

Soon after, she was wheeled back into the room, extremely groggy and not “with it” at all. She began to cry with her eyes shut tight, so Ben and I spoke up, “You’re okay, baba. We’re here.” And she quieted at the sound of our voices.

She spent the next couple of hours curled into my body, sleeping peacefully. At one point she startled herself awake and reached for me. Me. Her Mama.

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I was instantly reminded of all of the times she has done that before.When she sleeps deeply on my chest on cold, drizzly afternoons… or when she had her first ear infection and only wanted to be held and would cling to my shirt at any movement. Of course she needs me. She is my girl and I am her Mama.

When it was time to go, I handed her to Ben and she nuzzled into the crook of his neck.  The man who she uses as a jungle gym every day, and is one of the only people that can get a full giggle out of her. She knows him in such a special way. His girl. Her Papa.

I realized that she didn’t turn around because she knew we would be there, somewhere near… because we always are. Her Mama. Her Papa. Our girl.

And let me tell you: that dark voice had no place in those moments.

What moments, what TRUTH, what LIGHT is that voice stealing from you? Cling to truth, friend. No better way to battle that dark than with LIGHT.

 

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