This was originally posted to The Chicago Moms. Since this was written, my father is now out of the hospital. I write this blog as a virtual scrapbook for the girls, so I am still reposting it here.
My father is in the hospital. For more than a week now we’ve been on a roller coaster of days that often start with the phrase “Are you kidding me?” We also seem to say, “How did that happen?” a lot these days. There’s no end in sight right now.
Even with this all swirling around us, we have a simple rule regarding our girls. No matter what is happening, their world stays the same. They go to school. They go to Girl Scouts. They do their homework at the breakfast bar. They play with their friends. We all walk the dog after dinner. They go to bed at the same time. For as long as we can make it happen, their world doesn’t change.
I discovered that this might be an unusual response while at Brookfield Zoo Friday night. One of the other moms chaperoning the Girl Scout field trip said, “There’s no way I could be here. I’d have to be at the hospital.”
I certainly understand her feelings. I have often felt like just stopping what I was doing and going to the hospital. Still, it’s not all about me. Right now I have to find a balance where I can be mom, daughter, wife, co-worker, volunteer, etc. Most of those roles can flex a bit, but not mom. If nothing else, the girls will have as much stability as possible while we deal with my Dad’s health problems.
They do know Grampa’s in the hospital. We went to visit him on Halloween. The girls paraded through the hallways in costume, delighting the staff and patients. They understand that Grampa is very sick, but don’t know all the details. They are, after all, just seven years old. They don’t need to know every detail about his condition. They wouldn’t understand everything and most of it would just frighten them. We answer the questions they ask without giving too many inappropriate details. We think age-appropriate and simple seems to be the best way to go right now.
I’m starting to wonder how long we can keep up this pace. Of course, the answer is that we’ll do it as long as we have to. No matter what else is happening, we’ll keep the girls world as stable as possible for as long as possible.