Despite being raised Catholic, I do not believe in Angels. At least, not in the “people in the sky with wings and halos” sense of the word. Much to my Mother’s dismay, I don’t even believe in God. At least not in the traditional “bearded man sipping gin and tonic in the clouds” sort of way. (Doesn’t everyone’s God sip G&T? Or is that just me?)
Maybe I believe in miracles. Maybe I believe good will always triumph over evil in the end. And maybe I believe God uses Starbucks baristas with moppy blond hair and a dopey grin just when you need it most.
We received a stack of discharge instructions about Baby O’s homecoming, most of which scare the ever-living-shit out of me making me a germ-a-phobe hypochondriac, specifically stating that HE CAN NOT GET SICK OR IT’S YOUR HEAD ON A PLATTER AT THE MOM-OF-THE-YEAR AWARD. At least, that’s the “cliff’s notes” version. So Friday night when I hear our little
8lb 9oz tiny bald man grunting and struggling to breathe, I did what any rational mom of a four week old would do: I lost my shit, totally. Three hours and two phone calls to Children’s Hospital later, I lightly slept the only hour and a half with Baby O on my chest. We were instructed to watch him closely and go directly to the ER should he dvelope a fever or show signs of distress when breathing, so closely watch, I did.
Seven sleepless hours later I arrived at the doctor with my stuffy infant and was declared officially paranoid. We were sent home with the same ER instructions, patted on the back back with a “he looks ok for now, just watch him closely” as we were shoved out of the door. Obviously treatment like that calls for a strong coffee.
We stopped at the local drive thru Starbucks to order my usual Grande White Chocolate Americano (light ice, half calf with a splash of nonfat milk, if you must know). The girl at the window tried to make small talk. I started with a “we’re doing well, thank you” and tried to ignore her staring gaze. She asked what we were up to. She asked if we had plans and was having a lovely day. At this point I almost started crying from sheer exhaustion and the fact that where-the-hell-is-my-coffee-and-why-are-you-being-so-inquisitive-and-nice. (I was in a wonderful mood, what with the hour of sleep and hours of worry.) I told her my baby is sick, he was born early, and I’m scared. She looked at me, muttered something and went to go find the drinks. A few minutes later, the blonde nice boy who’s helped our family before walked over to see if we were waiting on a drink. As the girl hands me the Americano, he peaks around her out the window and in the most sincere way I’ve ever heard a stranger say, “it’s going to be ok.” I smiled at him, took my drink, drove around the corner and bawled.
Maybe I don’t believe in people flying around with harps and wings, but I do believe in community. I believe heaven and hell are what you create in your life by the choices you make. I believe we can be angels to each other or daemons to the people we encounter. I believe we posses the power to change, not only ourselves but the lives of people around us, even those we encounter for three minutes or less.
I believe people encourage us with just the right words when we need them most. I believe in the power of the Internet and found your comments during Baby O’s birth and NICU stay repeating in my brain during the long nights away from him and the hours watching his Oxygen monitor.* I believe that just by uttering the words, you can pray through intention and I believe the barista prayed “it will all be ok.”
And the biggest miracle of all, is that I believe him.
OK, you made ME cry! And yes, I think that little bit of comfort from a stranger can do wonders. We need those moments and need to remember to share them with others. I still remember the time a pregnant young woman broke down in a Target dressing room and I had to talk her down. I didn’t know her from Adam but at that moment I knew I had only one purpose in the world and it was to assure her that everything would be OK, that she wasn’t fat, that her baby will forgive her and the world would settle, pinky swear.
So yes. I believe him too. He’s so not wrong.
By Elaine on 2007 06 24
I remember the feeling well…I know you don’t need another piece of advice, but if he gets a bit grunty again, take him out in the night air, or in a steamy bathroom…makes it so much easier for them to breathe…having gone thru it with 2, I wouldn’t know what to do with a full term baby!
If you need any other help or talking down, let me know mama!! I owe you one or two!
By Deanna(domestic chicky) on 2007 06 24
I absolutely believe God uses regular people as his “angels”... I’ve had those kinds of experiences myself.
By Erin on 2007 06 24
I, too, believe in angels here on earth. I’d believe that nice young man, 100%.
Take good care. You have many here who are thinking of you and wishing you and your little pumpkin all the best. xoxo
By Mamalee on 2007 06 24
That barista…that’s the kind of angels I believe exist, too.
Praying for more angels to come your way…
By sarahgrace on 2007 06 24
That gave me chills and goosebumps. And also made me want to switch my drink from Venti iced white mocha to what you’re having.
By Kirdito on 2007 06 25
*hugz* I remember when J caught his first cold 3 days out of the hospital. He was miserable. Though he was a full-term babe, I was still seriously worried. We ended up at Urgent Care the next day to get strange looks from the doc and be told, “It’s a cold. Keep him warm and well fed. He’ll live.” As I told the doc, “I don’t “f” around with colds and newborns, thank you!” I hate how they tell you, “Watch out for this and that and blah blah blah…” and then when you call them on it, they act as though you’re the most parinoid parent in the world. Anne
By Anne on 2007 06 25
Best post ever…..seriously. After being there, telling the doctors my baby had stopped breathing, being sent home, it was in fact all ok (and I pray it stays that way).
Your spirit and your writing make you one of my angels.
By Skyzi on 2007 06 25
Just a note of comfort, my friend had a similar experience…many sleepless nights plagued with worry and panic.
prayers and love and support from friends and family got her through those times. I pray we can all help you cope and give you the quiet strength you need to get through it too. XXOO
By Little Miss on 2007 06 25
Beautiful thoughts. I hope you continue to draw strength and comfort from the encouragement of others. I do believe that God makes your path cross with others for a reason. (Don’t you wonder when you have been that bright spot in someone’s rough day?)
Keep using that mama’s intuition with your children!
By AmyM on 2007 06 25
YES, that’s exactly it! They freak you out and then when you go there they think you’re on crack. I was told he’d be in the NICU if he got a cold before 2 months and here we are with a cold. But apparently they meant “if he has a fever or a COUGH…” They really should specify these things.
By Mrs. Flinger on 2007 06 25
This is the best thing I’ve read online for a really long time. I love what you’re saying here. You are so eloquent on 2 hours of sleep!
By Laura on 2007 06 25
I do believe that sometimes the right person and the right words find us just in that moment we need them the most.
Lovely, lovely post.
By Jamie on 2007 06 25
I was going to send you yet another email, but I wanted to post this directly on this post.
We are kindred spirits. Our children are connected in so many ways and again, I find myself in tears as I read your post. I know so many people say that they understand, when they actually don’t, but Mrs. F- I TRULY DO UNDERSTAND. And I can tell you this: all will be well.
I am Agnostic in faith. I don’t know if there is a God. I don’t know about heaven, or hell, or angels, or miracles. What I do know is that when things get really bad, when life seems too much to handle- strength and hope come from the most unexpected places. And sometimes, that is all we need to help us exhale. Please know that I am exhaling with/for you because sometimes knowing that you are not alone works wonders.
Lot’s of love and hope,
By KristinaB on 2007 06 25
What KristinaBrooke said? Ditto. I, too, was raised Catholic and have the same outlook as you, but you say it so much better and more succinctly than I. Life is funny - you get what you need when you least expect it sometimes. Or, like when you’re in the market for a new car and suddenly all the cars on the road are the very car you covet. Or when you want to be pregnant, all the women around you seem to be pregnant. Or, when you really need some encouragement, it hits you smack between the eyes in the form of a barista. yep, life is funny. And that’s what makes it so cool most days!
I have every confidence that both you and Baby O will be just fine. You’ll eventually get some rest, and he’ll shake this cold or whatever, and then he can move on to growing into a exasperating 3 year old that will make you freak out all over again. It’s the circle of life.
By mp on 2007 06 25
It is so amazing when complete strangers can help like this and it always reminds me that there is also goodness within humanity.
I’m glad you found another good person especially when you needed one.
By texasbelle on 2007 06 25
Awwwww! Lovely story! Thank you for sharing that.
I think my son spent more time in the the ER in the first year of his life than most people will spend in their entire life. They probably thought I was the world’s most paranoid mom but I pretty much think it’s better to be safe than sorry. I hope your little one is feeling better very soon!
By Jen on 2007 06 25
I couldn’t agree more.
It’s a scary time. But you and Baby O will be okay.
And the sleep deprivation…when you start seeing the flying monkeys it’s time to take folks up on the offer to help and let them watch the baby while you sleep.
By MammaLoves on 2007 06 26
Beautifu; post. How wonderful that the right person was there when you needed it.
By Jennifer on 2007 06 26
Even if he wasn’t and angel, he sure was a great human being to be so sweet.
I believe him too.
By Tuesday on 2007 06 26