Friday, May 06, 2005

Shaken but not stirred...

Life has its way of taking you by the scruff of the neck and making you pay attention.

Sometimes we get so bogged down in the throes of our own woes and cares that we neglect to look around us. Now I'm not talking about the pleas for assistance for the starving masses that abound just across the ocean. Nor even for the unseen homeless that wander the streets of even my tiny prairie town. I'm speaking of the people that share the dinner table with you, or used to. Your kids.

Of late (over the past hmmm year or maybe even longer?) I've had a number of family related issues that have stretched and torn tiny holes in our family fabric. Over all, we're still a family (I hope) but we're not really one that can be worn out in public to a fancy gettogether.

That we are still a family was evidenced by a late night call from my sil who informed me that my eldest was in the hospital awaiting an emergency appendectomy. She is pregnant with my second grandchild and we haven't spoken in well over a month.

Why? Because as my second oldest informs me, "you two are too much alike and when you both think you're right there's no talking to either of you." Hmm...

But being family this goes by the wayside, or perhaps I should say onto the back burner, cause you just gotta know that this is gonna simmer over at another time. Hubby and I speak briefly to a drugged cherished daughter (mine but his by heart) and tell her that all will be fine, she's expected to go into surgery within the hour. We stare at each other, knowing the reality of a surgery being scheduled that quickly, and the added complication of her pregnancy.

After the call, I phone for a sitter, but am unable to go. We discuss which of us could go, I'm not well, neither is he. Plus he's had a couple of beers since dinner. So we wait. We sit up and play silly computer games that I'm sure neither of us can recall. Finally after turning the ringer on the phone up to SHRILL CAR ALARM status, we stumble to bed. I read, he lies on his back and stares at the ceiling. We don't talk, there's nothing more to be said, but our hands creep across the covers to clasp the others.

The hours pass and sheer exhaustion from being sick and up extra early the day before win out and we doze. The phone rings, by the time the second ring starts we are halfway down the hall, stumbling over each other and trying to not shove each other out of the way in our eagerness to get to the phone. He reaches it first, and his worried expression remains then a nod and it lightens as he passes me the phone, whispering she's okay. My sil tells me that she's sleeping, that the surgery went well and the baby is fine and still inside mommy. I breath. I tell him to tell we'll be there the next day, little platitudes you murmur in such times and we hang up. Hubby takes my hand and leads me back to bed for an hour or two more of sleep before work.

Late in the day we arrive at the hospital. Because I am sick I stop at the nurse's station to ask for a mask. Hubby and the littles go in ahead of me. She's pleased but then it registers on her face I'm not there. Hubby quickly assures her that I'm just getting a mask and a look of relief passes over her face. When I walk in she's crying and asks to speak to me alone. Hubby takes the littles for a juice and we talk. She's had a *gush* of fluid, the dr is coming to see her and she's worried it's the baby. She's obviously in a fair amount of pain despite the meds and I help her to the washroom. I assure her that all will be well, inquire about whether they've given steroids to the baby. An oblique way in my mind of ascertaining whether they (the ubiquitious they) are concerned she'll go into labour. She calms at my assurances. I may not really know but I'm mom after all and can sound certain when I have to. I mask my own fear and hold her hand for a few moments. Then the littles and dad come back in and we visit. Nothing comments about school and such. I watch my hubby's face. It's tight and that little muscle at the back of his jaw works now and then as he fights to stay calm and at ease. I ask him later why he didn't hug her, and he says in a choked voice that he couldn't, he would have held on so tightly he'd have hurt her.

She's home from the hospital now. She's spoken with hubby, they've laughed. Her and I have not spoken. I suggest to #4 that she call and see how she's doing. She does... her sister is giving her daughter a bath and calls back, I answer and she asks for #4. I hand over the phone and know the crisis is over. We're back to not talking ...til the next time we need each other.

Such is the fabric of my family.