Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Charlie Brown

Have you ever noticed that there are times when you are just getting a handle on one piece of news, another follows right after?

After grasping yet another road block, the phone rang.  This time it was the elementary school.  In my head I wondered which of the girls was sick.  While it was the school nurse, neither was sick.  Instead, she needed to alert me that another student had just received the varicella vaccine and was already back in class.

Immediately the mad rush of calls began.  Not only did I need to talk to immunology, but needed to find another place for Gwyn in case she was not able to come home.  Within twenty minutes arrangements were set for where she could be for the next week.  Then the wait for the doctor's call back began.

Fifteen minutes before needing to pick up the girls, the call finally came.  Fortunately, the virus would not begin to shed until the next day, so since the student had just had the immunization hours before and Gwyn was separated from them, the likelihood there would be an exposure issue was limited.  Unfortunately, that would not be the case after the first day.  It was possible we  would need to keep Gwyn out of school for up to two weeks due to the possibility of stow-a-way germs making their way from her to Cole.

My heart broke when she sat at the table after school, bubbling with excitement for her Charlie Brown Thanksgiving at school the next day.  I had to tell her she would not be able to go.  When I broke the news, she put her head into hands and sobbed in a way I had never seen.  She was a statue, silent, yet as her tears fell danced down her cheeks and around her hands, I felt as if I had stolen something from her.  It wasn't her fault she couldn't go to school, nor was it the other student who needed her shot.  It was the rarity that struck our family like lightening, unjustly stealing more of the innocence away from our children.

Of course I'd stage our own Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, but no matter what I could do, it was not quite what my five year old feels she had missed.  Her look of dejection was one I have never seen in my spunky Gwynnie girl.  Seriously, it was a rip your heart out and stomp on it sort of feeling as a parent.  

Now, I can be tough as nails when I need to be, sacrifice anything necessary and in our family's best interests, but when I think about my daughters and how this journey has impacted them, my heart aches.  Childhood should be a time of innocence and dreams, not a time for worries.  Yes, we have kept things as normal as we can, and I am so proud of the girls, always happy with what we can do instead of what we cannot, but I know they worry.  I just wish I could wipe away their disappointments as easily as an Etch-a-Sketch picture, giving them a clean screen without limits for the next day's adventure.

Today I tried my best to make the day the best it could be, even though we had to start with another doctor's appointment.  We went for a hike, found various animal tracks, and even saw some deer along the way.  In the evening, a few girls joined my daughters for their own Charlie Brown celebration, and even though Gwyn did not have the special placement she made in school, she had a smile on her face at the end of the night and said it was the "best day ever!"  Maybe I don't have to be so worried about disappointing them after all.  In the end, each day is a new day, a fresh canvas to paint.  And, I have to say, the girls are learning to make my signature fresh squeezed lemonade, just the right amount of sweetness to offset the sour.  After all, what goes better with jelly beans and popcorn than a tall glass of lemonade?

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