I used to spend my days counting down... days still summer, days till school began, till I graduated, till my wedding... and then one day my pastor's wife reminded me that I was discounting today, that all my anticipation was robbing me of the gift of today. Or, maybe even more eloquently, what a salty roommate told one of my brother-in-laws as they worked their way through rehab, "If you got one foot in yesterday, and one foot in tomorrow, you're gonna end up peeing on today."
And then I had a baby no one expected to live, and the countdowns came from everywhere. 24 weeks, they said, 72 hours, the first month, the next hour is crucial. I learned quickly to live in the moment, to let today's worries be enough. The future was an unknown, but today had enough work to keep me busy. So I learned. It served me well, through more babies and bedrests and developmental delays and tours and now it is crucial.
Because now I spend my days and nights in a waiting room. There is no urgency to attend to normal tasks, everything routine seems extraneous and maybe even silly. It seems very important to be in the same room with my baby, to be able to see him breathing and eating and crying and smiling. Sometimes it seems normal in the waiting room, like everything is not wrong, and we live out our days and we talk and we forget for a moment that we are waiting, until we are reminded that everything, everything is temporary. Sometimes that reality hits like solid punch to the stomach, other times it is a tiny gasp of surprise, a bittersweet heartache.
All I know is, without a miracle, my son is on a course to leave this waiting room, this lobby, to be born into what is real. Months, years, we don't know. Today, tomorrow, what will be, we don't know. Somehow he, with his broken body and his damaged brain, understands far deeper realities than I do. On his worst days, talk of heaven will bring out bright eyes from him and his infectious smile, even as we cry.
We're asking for a miracle, or at least for more time. Please, more time. What is becoming increasingly real is our surroundings, our waiting room for the real world. It is undeniable. So for now, for today, we cling to what we know, to love, to waiting, together.