Saturday, March 13, 2010

Homecoming day

Several months ago, I published Happy Fifth Birthday wishes to Miss B (complete with photo of her made-to-order, ineptly decorated Shark Cake).

Today isn’t a birthday. But in many ways it’s just as important—maybe even more important. Today marks the day, five years ago, that Miss B came home from the hospital.

Miss B’s birthday arrived far too soon, and was a day of fear, anxiety, and worry for DP and me. It was followed by months—nearly eight of them—filled mostly with more of the same. Then, in the space of a few weeks, the prognosis went from hesitant to hopeful, and with only a few days’ notice, we got clearance to take her home for the weekend.

We had been afraid to plan too much for this longed-for day, but we had decided one thing: how we were going to get home. We were living in Oxford, and we didn’t have a car. We didn’t want the anxiety and hassle of trying to get onto a city bus, or strap a brand-new car seat into a taxi or friend’s car. So we put her in a sling strapped to DP’s chest (she was still so small you couldn’t see her over the top of it), and we walked, on a mild early spring afternoon, out of the hospital, down Headington Hill, across Christ Church Meadow, and home.

So much that happened before and after is a blur, but I still remember that day so clearly. It was one of the few things I’d let myself anticipate, all those long months: what it would be like, how it would feel to walk out those doors and take her with us. When the time actually came, though, my overwhelming emotion was something I hadn’t anticipated: relief. For the first time, as we walked away from the hospital, I didn’t feel pulled back. I didn’t feel torn in two directions: my need to be with Miss B, and my obligation to do whatever I was leaving the hospital to do. I felt like everything was right; that we were all together; and that there was nothing I needed to do and nowhere I needed to be. I had thought I’d be nervous, and I was, a little bit; but mostly I just felt like things were all right now.

(As it turned out, it wasn’t a weekend visit after all; they just told us that so we wouldn’t feel overwhelmed by the prospect of taking her home. We went back on Monday morning, and they wouldn’t even let us on the ward; they told us there was stomach flu going around, gave us an appointment for the outpatient clinic, and shooed us out again.)

And here we are today, five years later, in a furnished hotel apartment outside Kansas City, a long way by any standard of measurement from where we started. We celebrated with dinner at the T-Rex CafĂ©, Miss B’s new favorite restaurant, full of dinosaurs and fish and meteor showers. Miss B brought home a new imaginary friend, Dexter the Dinosaur, and tucked him into bed before getting in herself. It’s a rainy, cold, late-winter night, and we’re still very much in the middle of our transition to settling here.

But tonight we are all together, and all is right in our little world.


Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial said... Best Blogger Tips

Happy homecoming anniversary, Miss B!

An auspicious occasion, Nancy, and one well worth commemorating and giving thanks for.

Zippy365 said... Best Blogger Tips

Can you believe it's been five years? And I know that in someways it is right there, like yesterday. As much as we wished for growth, we are now wishing to stop it. Crazy, eh? Guess that's why its important to live in the moment. Congrats to you and Dan for every milestone passed. B is lucky to have such fabulous parents.

countryfriedmama said... Best Blogger Tips

I can't imagine how hard it was to wait for her to come home.

A sweet, sweet anniversary.

Anonymous said... Best Blogger Tips

Hi! Have been meaning to write... what a gorgeous pic of you and wee B! Such an amazing milestone. Give her a big cuddle from her kiwi buddies, and love to you and Dan too. x caro

Roving Lemon said... Best Blogger Tips

Thanks so much for your comments, everyone. I can't think of anything to say that doesn't sound trite, but I do really appreciate it.

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