August was a month of recovery.
For all but five days in July, I was gone. Gone to Mexico to spend time at Miracle Ranch, one of my favorite places. Gone beach camping. Gone to Minneapolis, MN to work at Redeemer Lutheran, and then to Wisconsin to paddle the Namekagan River in canoes while cleaning it. It was busy, it was fun, it was fulfilling, and then BAM!!! Home on Sunday, tests on Monday, and then on July 30 they cut my girl open and inserted two titanium rods and thirteen screws into her spine. And just like that, things got serious.
Of course, we knew this was coming. We were very good at distracting ourselves from the reality of what was about to happen. Because if we thought too hard about it, we might freak her out. We might even freak ourselves out. So we kept her busy. She even took an additional trip to Alaska with her grandparents between school letting out and the trip to Mexico. She had NO down time this summer. And since July 30, that's all we've had.
She's doing extremely well. I was worried about the surgery (of course), the pain (of course), and the attitude I would get from someone who was miserable with pain (because, you know, she's seventeen). But everything went beautifully, and we've even had minimal attitude! And now that she is four weeks post-op, she can bathe herself, dress herself, wear real clothes, and even stay home alone again. In four short weeks, she went from completely helpless and unable to walk to a near-normal teen who is a little stiff but is ready to try driving around the block for practice and spent two hours at the mall with her friends. My brain, which was the consistency of oatmeal for about three weeks from what I could surmise, is slowly reviving. So now that we are getting back to normal, it is time to go back to school.
We are so, so blessed to have the summers off with our kids, and most especially this summer so that we could be there for every step of Nikki's recovery. Soon we will be back to homework, and grading, and late nights, and ridiculously early mornings. Normally, the the loss of the lazy, unstructured days of summer stings. But because of everything that happened in August, I am grateful for normalcy, and that even includes the return to school. Perhaps it is because I visited with a friend whose daughter spends a great deal of her time in the same hospital we inhabited for five days because she has cystic fibrosis. Perhaps it is because a family at our church just lost their not-quite-two-year-old son to cancer at that same hospital. I have the luxury of looking forward to being a normal family with normal gripes. Our brief foray into the world of Children's hospital was just enough to ground me, to make me so grateful for awesome healthcare, for healthy children, for our brand of normal.
We're almost all better now. Time to get back to work.