Being a parent certainly brings its joys and frustrations. We want so much for our children and we want to be able to give them all that they want and deserve with as little obstacles as possible. It doesn’t mean we will just give them everything on a silver platter; it’s just that we want them to try their best and make the best effort possible to achieve their goals no matter what they are. However, with that come frustrations and feelings of helplessness, at least for me. If you have ever had that feeling you understand what I am talking about…it’s that feeling of wanting to help your child(ren) with every situation but knowing deep down that there really is nothing you can do to help. Of course, you can talk to them, provide encouragement and just plain support them in every way possible. But ultimately it is up to your child specifically to overcome whatever obstacle to achieve that goal. That goal can be anything from getting good grades to recovering from an illness.
By now, I am sure you are all wondering and asking where this little schpeal is going. Well let me tell you. It is no surprise to anyone and everyone the trials and tribulations my family has been facing the last few weeks with Ian being sick and in the PICU at Johns Hopkins hospital. Tonight, Wednesday, I had those feelings of helplessness earlier this evening when, at one point, I look in to Ian’s eyes and could see the sadness and despair in them. As he just stared off in to space or at the television, I could tell he was not in a good and happy place. I immediately tried talking to him, telling him that everything was going to be ok of course but he had every right to be sad and upset. I mean come on; the boy has been an absolute trooper lying in bed for close to three weeks straight 24/7. However, I made sure that he was aware that both mommy and I, among all our friends and family, were with him every step of the way. I could tell he heard me and knew what I was saying but that look in his eyes wasn’t going away. So with that I had that feeling of helplessness and I just sat in the chair next to his bed, rubbed his leg and watched television with him in silence. To help maybe better his mood or give him something else to focus on I started reading his Stink book to him. With that he fell asleep for maybe 15-20 minutes which was good. So I just continued to sit with him while he slept but my helpless feeling remained.
After a couple of hours, Ian pointed out that he needed his “pants” (aka diaper) changed. So his nurse was in the room and we started to change him. During the process I noticed the vial connected to Ian’s G-tube for drainage seemed to be full and in need of emptying. So I looked at Ian and asked him flat out (jokingly of course), ‘Why didn’t you tell us it needed to be emptied?’ He raised his left hand, eyes wide and clearly looked at me as in ‘DUH, how am I supposed to tell you.’ When I saw his “answer” I then asked him, ‘What’s wrong, you have a tube in your throat or something?’ Which, in a way only Ian can do, he once again raised his left hand, eyes wide and appeared to point to his tube as in ‘Well as a matter of fact I do!’
Just seeing how big and wide his eyes were made those feelings of helplessness for my son begin to dissipate. It only got better when I gently pinched his nose and Ian raising his hand to pinch mine back. The feeling completely vanished when I would start laughing and I saw a genuine smile upon my little boys face for the first time in weeks without asking him to smile. Only thing that made it better was having him also stick his tongue out at me.
Just seeing this total mood transformation from Ian, even if for a short time, once again makes it all worthwhile to sit here with him day in and day out no matter how long it takes for him to recover as best he can so we can bring him home.
Therefore, as a parent, no matter how much those feelings of helplessness overcome you just remember who it is all for. It’s for all those smiles, bright eyes and, yes, even tongues being stuck out at you.