One week ago today, I took my wheezing two-year-old to the emergency room, and she stayed overnight at the hospital. She is fine now, and I’m not going to tell you the whole story here; this is just to say that our entire Holy Week and Easter were drastically impacted by the experience. I told you last week what I hoped to do in preparation for Easter … here’s what we actually did:
- we got served. One friend cared for Maggie two days in a row while Pete & I hung out at the hospital with Elizabeth and the baby; another brought us dinner when we brought E. home from the hospital after an overnight stay; yet another picked up some incredibly helpful groceries for us the day before she left for Europe.
- we saw sisterly love. I brought baby Rachel with us to the ER out of necessity – she’s entirely breast-fed and we haven’t even tried a bottle with her – but it was surprisingly helpful to have her there to entertain Elizabeth. Especially in her goofy post-breathing-treatment haze, Elizabeth was absolutely fascinated by Rachel, mimicking her movements and little baby sounds. She was delighted to have her there. And Wednesday morning when I arrived at the hospital (Pete stayed with E. overnight), Elizabeth cried, “I want Maggie!” At home, Maggie heaved a sigh and said, “Mama, I miss Elizabeth!” Sad, but sweet.
- We lost some sleep and came down with colds. I felt very sorry for myself since I’d already been sick and because I’d had sick kids for about three weeks. I struggled about as much as I usually do with sickness, but made it through.
- Pete persevered through sickness and made it to church for Holy Thursday. I took Maggie and Rachel with me to Good Friday, strategically: Maggie doesn’t nap anymore, but often needs to, and sometimes falls asleep at church, so I took her there actually hoping she would take a nap on the pew. I was not disappointed. Meanwhile Rachel was asleep when we left the house, but woke up right when Maggie fell asleep, so I pretty much spent the entire service holding one of my daughters. My back and arms were already aching from much child-holding and carseat-carrying during the hospital ordeal, and at one point during the service I just felt a little overwhelmed by how worn-out my body was. I tried hard to offer it up and join my tiny pain to Christ’s agony.
- We made it to Holy Week services, we read the Holy Week stories to the girls, but when it came to Easter, we just had to let go. I did not bake a cake, we did not make a fancy dinner for family, we did not achieve anything remotely resembling spring cleaning. Instead we cleaned up from the surprisingly messy experience of having a child in the hospital, we called off the family dinner, and Pete grilled some Polish sausages. (Not fancy but still delicious.)
- We went to Easter morning Mass, we went to an Easter afternoon prayer meeting, we had the girls hunt for plastic eggs in the back yard … and otherwise we rested.
So after all of this, I am extra-grateful that we have the whole Easter season to celebrate. I still hope to dye eggs, to bake a cake (or two), and to host a nice family dinner … but we’ll see what life brings.