Thursday, March 22, 2012

20 Minutes

The longest twenty-minutes are the twenty-minutes that your child is in surgery.

You watch the clock melt into the wall as seconds become hours.  Tick, tock, tick, tock.  The clock gets louder and louder - mocking you for staring at it.

Your throbbing heart has moved into your throat making it more difficult to swallow your concern.  You look back at the clock.  That stupid, dumb clock.  Only three-minutes have passed?

You watch the door like a trained royal guard waiting for someone to enter the room.  Someone who will tell you that the procedure went well and your child will be just fine.

Your mind replays all the statistics that dump water onto the flame of your fear.  This is a simple procedure.  He's going to be okay!  And then time begins to move at a pace of sixty-seconds per minute once again.

But then doubt, just like a vulture sitting on your left shoulder, whispers worry back into your head.  And time creeps again just like before.

You are reminded that you are not invincible.  You know that nothing will make this more apparent than if something happens to your child today.  And you cannot imagine a world without him in it.  Even in your fragile state, your mind won't allow you to consider this as a possible outcome.

And you PRAY.  You pray because God is the only one who loves your child as much as you do.  And you know that He is in that operating room right now - guiding the surgeon's hands and protecting your baby.

And then you wait.  And you wait.  And you wait some more.

Twenty-minutes feels like hours when you're sitting in that recovery room.

The shortest twenty-minutes are the twenty-minutes after your child has had surgery.

The surgeon walks in and she's smiling.  Her smile punches your fear right in the gut, and it quietly exits the room as if it were never there in the first place.  Her happy disposition silently says that everything is okay, but it still feels good to hear the words.  The procedure went well and your child will be just fine.

They wheel your sleeping son into the recovery room.  You see his peaceful face and your eyes overflow with oceans of relief.  You watch him open his heavy eyes and look into yours, and you wish that it was you in that bed instead.  Twenty-minutes flies by as you stroke his hair just to feel closer to him.

The shortest twenty-minutes are the car ride home when your child is watching Finding Nemo in the backseat.  Or the time that you spend rubbing his back to help him get comfortable.  Or the time that you spend spoon-feeding him bites of jello. Or the time that you spend watching Peppa Pig just one more time.  Or the time that you spend reading his favorite book over and over before turning out the light.  Because now, twenty-minutes feels like no time at all.

Last week, some of these tasks might have felt inconvenient.  But today, you don't consider them a responsibility.  Today, you consider them a privilege.

The shortest twenty-minutes are the twenty-minutes when you're standing beside his bed that night and watching him sleep.  You praise God for keeping him safe today.  And you thank God for the honor of being this child's mother.


Twenty-minutes can teach you a lot.

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  1. Wonderfully written. Unless you have been there as a parent you have no idea how the fear is in every cell of your body. The statistics don't matter. It is really 0% or 100% because it is all about YOUR child. I hope each person who reads this, spends 20 great minutes with their child today. I tried to raise my children like they would live forever and die today. Everyone told me they would be spoiled. I didn't care. Spoiled was long as they were not rotten. So cookies at 3 AM? I did it! We had lots of wonderful 20 minutes. But now, I realize that there were still not enough of them.

  2. Your 3 am cookies are legendary! I loved every minute in our house. :)

  3. This is so true! I found your blog on Pinterest and have been lurking. I hope all is well with your son. The only thing I can add to this post is the longest hour of my life was when my daughter was in open heart surgery, and the nurse didn't call to update like she was supposed to. For the first few hours she did, then it stopped. I held it together for a little bit, then the tears involuntarily came down and wouldn't stop. Just a constant stream. It turned out that they discovered another problem after they took her off the bypass machine, so they put her back on and fixed it. She was fine, and is thriving today, but those days were hard. I can say that the one part of it that I am thankful for is that I don't take these moments for granted. I am so thankful for all my kids, and while I wish my daughter was born with a healthy heart, I am thankful to God for carrying us through and giving me the opportunity to see all my blessings for what they are.
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Karen, thank you for sharing your story! It brought tears to my eyes. I cannot imagine what you must have been going through. It reminds us to be thankful for each and every minute that we get to spend with these precious little people. Glad to hear that your daughter is doing so well now!

  4. SO crazy I stummbled upon this because as I speak... type.... my 7 week old is resting in a hospital bed recouping from surgery earlier today. Praise the Lord that it went well! It was certainly the LONGEST hour and a half. Thank you for your blog! I found it on Pinterest tonight and love it.

    1. Just now seeing this comment! So glad everything went well and I hope that sweet baby of yours is doing great now. :)

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