Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Little person, repaired

It is often said that parenting can either keep you young, or make you really old. Some would argue it can even do both simultaneously.

As I write this, I tend toward the aged perspective, because my wife and I spent the better part of the day in the hospital with our daughter. Thankfully it was minor, scheduled surgery. But any parent of a child about to undergo general anaesthesia for any reason knows that feeling of rampant vulnerability as the bed continues past the threshold into the long hallway down to the OR. You have to stop at the door and wave uselessly as your little person becomes littler. Finally, the doors close and you have no choice but to entrust your treasure to a group of complete strangers, and hope that everything will turn out fine.

My wife told me point blank the night before, "I need her to be OK."

This time, thankfully, she got her wish. I pray it is always so.

I also pray for parents of kids whose reasons for making that trip down the hallway are far more serious than our daughter's. I have written about seriously ill children and their families in the past, and I hope we - and you - never learn their pain first-hand. They are real, if unwilling, experts in the true value of a life well-lived.

Our little munchkin returns to day camp tomorrow and will spend her day making cookies and telling stories of her adventure to her friends. I wish there were some way for the strangers who cared for her today to understand how much that mundane little snapshot means to her Mom. And to me.

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