I was planning on writing this morning about how much Ez has grown.
I had planned out a chipper blog post about the piles of pants I’ve begun pulling out of Esmé’s drawers because they no longer fit–some that had that fit her for over two years. I planned on telling all of you about the pleasure of going out fall shopping with Esmé and my mom to buy new fall clothes…I wanted to share this simple pleasure of knowing that my daughter has been growing (finally). This wonderful little ritual of taking out last year’s seasonal clothes only to find them all too short in the midsection, too tight in the waist, too high at the ankles…it is not something we’ve really ever experienced. I mean, obviously she’s grown before, but never in that “Holy smokes what happened?” kind of way.
Instead, I find myself a day after having been awake with Ez since 3am. And I find myself in this position on the first shift that a newly hired nurse was supposed to work–But she called in. And, while, I am still super excited about all of Esmé amazing growth, I can’t seem to make myself put on that voice and write to all of you about the joy of needing to do fall shopping for Ez for the first time. I can’t find the way toward writing about finding surprising joy in something so tiny, a matter of an inch and a handful of ounces.
And that is a bummer, because I do find so much joy there. And, also, I swear, I had something really adorable lined up about the way my hubby looked at the clothing we brought home and said “Oh, no…that’s all way too big, isn’t it?” and how he shook his head in disbelief when he saw that these big girl clothes fit our tiny peanut.
However, I just don’t feel up to it today.
It feels a bit like I’d be lying.
Because, this is how I feel:
And I suppose I could choose not to write anything at all. But, the truth is, I sort of feel like I need to write now, perhaps more than usual.
Part of me wants to write something about the difficulty finding good home care nurses…and how terribly frustrating it is to know that there are so very many professional, reliable, hard-working, talented nurses out there, but so apparently few of who are interested in doing home care. Part of me wants to write that searching for them draws to mind all the clichés about diamonds in the rough, kissing frogs, gift horses, and needles in haystacks. I want to go back through in obsessive detail about the bizarre happenings of bringing strangers into our home. At night. To watch over the most important person we’ve ever known. While we sleep. And I also want to cover the moments of hope that happen when that works–when I see someone else connect with and comfort my daughter. But I already chronicled most of that for you two weeks ago…and although I have oh so much more to add to that story from the last two weeks, I’ll save us all the trouble.
Well, so far I have managed only to write about what I don’t want to write about…a glitch of my over-explaining over-tired mind, I suppose. So, let me start again…because I can only guess that this whole nursing thing must be pretty hard for some of you to imagine at many levels. First, it might be hard to imagine needing someone to come into your home at night to help keep your child safe so you can sleep (and it is pretty weird). It may also be surprising that home care nursing is legitimately hard to find–but, believe me, we’ve been very lucky compared to many of our friends. And then there is the level that once you find a nurse, they may not be reliable…as the lack of supervision and structure in home care can attract either super organized and self-motivating people (–>who we are looking for!) or people who want to get away with something (–> who we’ve found at least half the time).
For families like mine nursing is a a service that, in theory, makes life doable. It is something we need to rely on so that we can make plans–time my hubby’s trips home, plan my writing deadlines, consider longer-term choices. I mean–if your child’s school canceled 50% of the time, what would you do? Go somewhere else? If your pediatrician didn’t show for half of your sick visits (….Hell, if your Starbucks barista got your coffee order wrong one out of two times) what would you do? Go somewhere else!
But what if you didn’t know if there was somewhere else…if it would ever change?
It has been awhile since I have had a night like the other night with Ez–a night where there seems to be absolutely nothing to be done to get her to sleep. She woke up at 3am. By 4:30 Ez was clearly not going back to sleep. Not. At. All. So my hubby helped us get settled as Ez and I climbed into the guest bed. She alternated between yammering on about something very important, crying out of fatigue, frustration, and, I assume, pain, retching, giggling, wiggling…staring into my eyes.
On one level I know that these sleepless nights are not good for her. I know that night nursing has helped her establish a predictable routine that has helped her health balance out significantly. (It is no accident that Esmé’s longest run of very good health has corresponded with our most stable period of night nursing). Nursing has helped her be comfortable with other people and gain some independence from me. And I know that night nursing has given me the chance to sleep enough so that I can do more than just get by…so I can be a better mom to Esmé, so I can do things that are meaningful to me and that I think are important.
But, at the same time, if I am being honest, I have missed these moments of holding Ez in the dark in the middle of the night. Before we had regular night nursing, I spent a lot of nights like the other night, loving her, holding her, getting frustrated, learning more about her, learning more about me. Being with her. Having our own secret time without distraction.
When I stop and think about it, it is actually painful to hand off this aspect of her care…Or, perhaps more precisely, it is painful (and terrifying) to hand over this aspect of her care to someone that I don’t know very well, someone that hasn’t been with us for an extended period of time. I want to be able to hand over her care to someone who’s decision making I’ve observed for some time, someone who I feel appreciates their great fortune to hang out with someone as fun and sweet and amazing as Esmé. It is why we don’t need just anyone…we need someone amazing.
I know I need to be patient. I know that we will grown into these changes…that it will bring other new people into Esmé’s life. I know we will find more nurses that will connect with Esmé and offer her careful and loving care. I know that they will need time to grow into caring for Ez.
It just might all take a bit more time.
Just like it took some time for her to grow into that next size of pants.