A week ago, we returned from yet another voyage to Lucille Packard Children's Hospital. This trip was a bit different than those prior for two reasons. One, I had surgery 48 hours before we left, and two, Martin went with me (and mom caravaned down with us after helping with the girls during the surgery).
Our plan was to enjoy a vacation, of sorts, with a little clinic mixed in, thus hopefully distracting Bella from the main reason for our Bay Area visit.
And, how I wish I could say that it worked beautifully.
But - let's not get ahead of ourselves.
The good news is that Bella is thriving - and I do not ever get tired of saying that. Our nephrologist said, as we were preparing to leave, "it is extraordinary that we have not seen you a lot more frequently."
It is extraordinary. It is miraculous. It is a very real and tangible example of how present God is and how He never ceases to surprise us with joy if we allow Him to do so. And even as I type that previous sentence, I must admit to feeling a hint of doubt, which quite honestly, stems from a form of "survivor's guilt".
I have dear friends who lost their son to cancer in between Bella's birth and her kidney transplant. Whenever I look heavenward and and inhale thankfulness to God for Bella's life, for sparing her when there is nothing scientific that allows for her to still be with us, I also exhale remonstration as to why God took Zach home. It is a conundrum to me. It will most likely never be answered in this lifetime.
And yet, one thing of which I am certain, there is no better way to live than in the friction between the explicable and the inexplicable when it comes to faith. It is the perfect formula from which humility and courage, hope and contentment can take root.
So, back to our Bay Area visit and the expectation versus the reality. Because Bella has been so sick, we never experienced the "terrible twos", or "threes", or "fours"...
but we are IN it now.
There is no question that part of what we experienced with Bella that week was her way of working out all the tension, fear, and anxiety that comes with these clinic visits. And I am sure her highly intuitive self could pick up on her Mama's tension around it as well.
And yet, it did not totally subside once we returned home. In many ways, we are glad for this stage, as it proves to us once again that Bella is thriving - she is feeling well enough to be able to push back, vie for her independence.
And at the same time, having a child who goes through a stage meant for a younger age at an older age means Martin and I are in for a unique challenge. We are fortunate to have family friends whose professions are a perfect fit to come alongside us to teach us how to lovingly guide Bella.
We have said it before and I will say it again:
Thank you for being on this journey with us.
Thank you for showing us what Love looks like incarnate.
Thank you for holding up our precious Bella in prayer.
Please enjoy this video below of Bella being, well, unabashedly Bella.