Thursday, October 21, 2004

Guilt and Overdocumentation

I took some more pictures of the little one as she was waking up this morning. She didn't appreciate it because she wasn't a morning person this morning. Usually she is, but perhaps she's tiring of me singing "Good morning, good morning! You've slept the whole night through, good morning, good morning to you!" over and over again. Or the medicine she's taking for her cough is making her sleepy. Or, maybe 6 am is just too darn early. It certainly is in my opinion, and by then I've usually been up for an hour. Anyhow, I took a picture of her and her face was all scrunched up in a frown and so I pulled it up on the camera and hit delete and then when it asked me to confirm it, I couldn't do it. I later thought about it and about how with digital cameras and massive amounts of storage, it's far too easy to save way more than we ought.

(Like this whole train of thought I'm now committing to Blogger... is every thought in my head worth being preserved for everyone to read? Fortunately, no, very few things I think actually get preserved and fortunately also if everyone is blogging, there's less chance my thoughts will be read by too many people.)

The other thing... the guilt... we have friends whose children are... well, presenting them with more of a challenge. Not developing certain skills along the standard norms, choosing to do their own thing, basically requiring a lot more time, concern and worry of their parents. More doctor's appointments, more medication, physical therapy, and so on. And it makes me feel guilty sometimes because of how great and easy Rachel has made it for us so far. Sometimes we have a desire to see in our child skills she doesn't yet possess as all parents do, but sometimes I think there is legitimate proof that Rachel is excelling or picking up skills earlier than is typical. (Sure, she won't roll over, but we know she can, she just doesn't seem to want to.)

And then our families interact and I don't know how they feel, but I worry that it becomes a new sense of frustration or disappointment on their part. I don't mean a disappointment in their child, but a disappointment in circumstances. It makes me want to minimize our family's contact with them, to shield them. It's hard to put into words, but I know that when I am faced with challenges, I say "Why me?" or "Why not me?" or "Why them and not us?" Sometimes it's my own doing, but it's so much more frustrating when I can't understand why, or there's nowhere that blame can be attributed or an identifiable cause or solution available to affect change. But, on the flipside, they say God never gives you more than you can handle. Perhaps that's telling of a stronger ability to cope than I possess.

Another family we know was a month or two behind us. They had left the area and we didn't hear from them for awhile, but eventually we heard through friends that their baby had been born, spent the entire first month in intensive care, has to be fed through tubes and the person relaying the information wasn't sure if the baby was expected to live for very long. When I found that out I felt so crushed, so guilty.

Our baby is so beautiful and the process to get to welcoming her into the world was challenging, exciting and in the begining discouraging and frustrating and I remember asking "Why us?" I am convinced that their babies are also beautiful (especially to their parents), but the circumstances are so different that I cannot imagine the emotions they are feeling. But I am reduced to tears every time my mind wanders back to the little baby in the intensive care unit, which is quite often. I remember how bad I felt for the family I saw sitting outside the ICU at Huntington as I rolled Rachel around in the cart just one afternoon the day after she was born. I know if our baby had been in the ICU, that we would have spent every moment we could there, just sitting outside the windows on the floor praying, crying, sitting in shock. I cannot imagine an entire month there as new babies were being born every few hours, most of whom would not see the inside of the ICU. I would be asking if we could have done anything differently and why it had happened. I just don't know how I would handle it.

It makes it even hard to be thankful because it feels like I'm being thankful at someone else's expense, or I have the feeling looming over me that anything could happen at any time. I know a plane could crash into my office building right now, or something could happen to my wife on the way here to pick me up. But you don't think about that. It's so different when it's a little fragile life that you've watched from the beginning. So I try my hardest to be thankful and to pray for her safety and health every day but I know ultimately it's out of my hands. So I pray for my friends and their families as well, because that too is out of my hands and even when I can't understand, God understands and when I can't relate, God knows what it's like to have lost a son and I think He's felt with the parents every time a little child has been lost. No matter what, I know all of the children are so cherished and loved by their parents, no matter what the circumstance, no matter what the outcome.

Please do remember the families in your prayers, even if you don't know who you're praying about, He'll know who you're referring to.

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