I've spent a great deal of time pondering within myself exactly how much time I DON'T have lately. There's been no time to decorate for the holidays and as a result, there has been a poor, lonely Christmas tree sitting in the middle of my living room with a single strand of lights around the bottom only. I keep giving it water hoping that it will hold on until I can get to it. I've been struggling with a sick stomach for a week since getting what I believe to be a nasty case of food poisoning, making it completely undesireable to do the kind of baking that I'd usually be doing (or have done) by this time. I have gone through the "Poor Me" thoughts of late, never letting the words pass my lips or risking the appearance of being a complainer, but honestly, I have overindulged in that department. I've not perled or knitted a single stitch, I've not painted, or written, or done any of the things I love. I've been working and wondering if my little paycheck will be enough. The one thing I did accomplish was putting together our Christmas card, but as I went about the "business" of doing it, the demon thoughts in the back of my head swirled around and told me that I shouldn't be taking time for such frivolity. I have been ignoring the joys that have been so obvious in front of me. I have fallen headlong into the tyranny of the urgent.
That was before Tuesday morning, when I saw my daughter lying on my kitchen floor, unconscious, white as a sheet, lips quivering. I heard the commotion as I lay in my bed in that space between awake and asleep. I heard Charlie yelling Caris' name and I thought that he was upset because she had overslept again. But when I heard him scream her name a second time, I knew it was more than just that. When he burst through our bedroom door shouting at me that Caris had just passed out on the kitchen floor, I bolted into the NOW and ran. There I found him, kneeling over her and trying to keep Ellie from jumping on her (she thought we were all playing a game). I got down on the floor next to her and felt her face. She was pale and she felt clammy. Charlie and I were both calling her name and she finally came to, asking what happened. Charlie told me that they were just standing in the kitchen talking to each other when he saw her eyes roll back and she staggered backward into the fridge, then bounced off of that, and while going down, hitting her head on the corner of the oven. He ran and caught her by the belt of her bathrobe, just before she hit the floor.
She had been complaining the day before about a headache and so I let her stay home from school. Since I'd been sick too, I thought maybe she was coming down with the flu-like symptoms I was experiencing and decided to play it safe. There's been a lot of stress in our home with school finals, activities, etc. I know Averie and Caris have both been burning the candle at both ends, but unlike her sister, Caris doesn't take as good a care of herself as she should. So, we let her slowly get herself together and we went to the Urgent Care Center of our local hospital. There, through the course of the day, they performed every imagineable diagnostic test on her; blood panels for diabetes, anemia, blood pressure, ecg, x-rays, checking for dehydration, etc. They found nothing, but put us on "concussion watch" since she hit her head, and referred us to a cardiologist. She's not permitted to drive, or be alone, or attend school, until she is cleared by this cardiologist. The only problem is, the cardiologist couldn't fit her in until this morning. So she's spent the week at home, resting.
While my daughter rested on the couch, under my watchful eye, I reflected. I found that in my worry to get all things done, I missed the very things that bring me joy. I sat and wrote Averie a note telling her how proud I am of her for all her hard work and how much I love her. I talked with Caris about how much she means to me, how I adore her, and how she needs to take better care of herself because she is so important to Daddy and me. I hugged Bry when he got home from school. I met my husband at the door with a kiss. In our forced convelescence, I finished decorating the poor Christmas tree, finished our Christmas cards, and I lovingly woke Caris from her naps every hour, on the hour, as instructed. I quietly wished to myself that I weren't so prone to complain and sighed at the reason that I was allowed this opportunity to get these things done...at my daughter's expense. I worried, and worry still. There is no definitive answer, but I've been made aware of an important lesson. One I knew, but I needed a reminder.
Today, while I hold my daughter's hand as we visit this next doctor, I will remember how precious this life is and how blessed I am. There is no thing or "to do" list that is important enough to ignore the small joys. Don't let any opportunity pass to tell someone you love that you love them.
I love you all. Thank you for your love and friendship. Now and always.