It’s nice to open the day with a brisk run and a peak at the sunrise from the beach. Having so much to be extra thankful for this morning, my thoughts drifted to this early Spring…rather…Summer…weather, and how it makes waiting for Cedar Point to open as agonizing for me as it is for my kids. Staring at it across the water from the end of my street…I feel if I just gaze hard enough they’ll decide to open early.
Cedar Point is the best amusement park in the world. No really. It is…officially and stuff. But, to me, it’s so much more than that. More even, than all the childhood memories spent wandering within the confines of the beautiful peninsula it resides on, becoming a part of it’s every breath as an employee one summer in college, and now sharing laughs with my own kids there. It’s a living analogy of my life.
My favorite? ‘The Stomach Drop.’
CP has built two rides that instill fear in me. The Top Thrill Dragster. Sitting on it, you’re about to go 120 mph but don’t know when. And, Power Tower. Legs dangling at a ridiculously high height with no warning of the drop.
In that moment before take off, or drop down, I find myself so nervous and terrified…despite the fact that I’ve come out alive hundreds of times before. Then, BAM! My stomach drops…I swear I can feel it seeping out of my toenails…and down-or up- I go. The ride goes by in a screaming blur, and I exit with wobbling legs.
At ‘the park,’ I’m expecting to face some fear when I enter the line to ride. In life, fear has a tendency to smack me in the face without warning.
Every parent knows that challenges don’t happen one at a time. They have lots of friends, and they crash the party all at once. On the cusp of three bouts of stomach flu this week… it felt like it should be Saturday…but the calendar said Wednesday. Add also, that after days of wondering why there was dried blood in my one-year-olds ears, the quest to unfold the mystery began with phone calls, a doctor visit, meds and ear drops. The way things had gone this week, collided with my parental instincts at full speed Already sleep deprived…I still felt like I was waiting for the ride to start.
I was right.
That night in conversations amongst family, we remembered Lo Lo pulling an end table down on herself a few days ago when we were away visiting family in Findlay. Driving to pick up dinner, a natural wave of panic rushed through me.
My stomach dropped.
It was a bad fall but yielded no bumps or bruises, so we wrote it off. I had little time to take solace in the conversation from the pediatrician, who so graciously had patience with my obviously freaked out tone. Just hour later, Lo Lo’s turn with the stomach flu began.
With a call back from the doctor in the morning, we began a day what should have been spent outside in 80 degree March weather inside doctor’s offices… and eventually… a hospital CT scan room. Lo Lo had been sick with the stomach flu through the night, and we were both riding on two hours of sleep.
Through it all…my sweet little Lo giggled and bounced around as if nothing was wrong, even though she had been throwing up to the point of exhaustion just hours before, and had blood mysteriously making it’s way out of her ears.
I nervously but graciously awaited the ear specialist to make a diagnosis, juggling both of my daughter’s lack of compliance to sit still…and my oldest warning me she was about to poop. Trying to piece together, in angst, what the conclusion my daughter’s symptoms were leading the doctor’s conclude…I heard “….recent fall…possible base skull fracture…CT scan…put her to sleep for the test….” The words ‘skull fracture’ began to ring in my ears, and then I got lost in the blur of my own tears welling up. All I could manage was an “I need you now” text to my husband.
As the four of us walked into the hospital to face Lo’s test together, the power of prayer began to take over, shielding me from my own worst case scenario’s and thoughts on what it ‘could’ be. It was a grim circumstance to hold my Lo Lo’s hand as she’s strapped down and sent through a huge machine for a CT. But when the test was over, I felt an odd sense of calm, which was confirmed by a positive call from the doctor an hour later. “Weird,” he said, that Lo Lo was acting like her complete happy self with her symptoms.
No skull fracture. No ear damage. Lots of deep breaths.
“Weird.” I’d rather a weird mystery than the terrifying news other families in similar circumstances have to digest.
As a kid, it’s fun to push that boundary of fear on roller coasters and thrill rides. Real life fears are much harder to look in the eye, especially with a happy temperament like Lo. But when we prevail, God-willing, it is simultaneously empowering and humbling.
Finally having the chance to think clearly as I write this, I just remembered something my older daughter had said to me before bed the night before in response to her little sister’s ears (we had seen the doc for the first time that day)….
“I will pray for an angel to come spend the night with Lo Lo, Mommy. I will pray that God will send an angel to stay with her aaaaallllll night long and ‘pertect’ her.”