Monday, July 15, 2013

Adventures and memory-making

There are only two groups of people who get to have a private concert performed for them by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra: either you are super rich, or super pitiful and someone wants to do something special for your sick kid.  We fall into the second category, and this was one of those times it was good to live in a hospital!  As a total surprise to us, one of our cardiologists, Dr. Farrell, with the help and input of a few other lovely hospital staff, pulled some strings and got a group from the ISO to come to our floor, set up their equipment in the lounge, and perform a private concert just for our family.  Dr. Farrell called us a couple weeks ago and said she had a surprise for Friday morning at 10 and we "might want to invite our parents, too".  So we did.  And when we walked into the lounge that morning, there was a violin, a double bass, a keyboard, a saxophone and a clarinet, which was played by the conductor himself.  They gave each of my boys a real conducting wand (Caleb's new most valued treasure) and allowed the boys to actually "conduct" them while they played their songs.  The nurse had snagged Caleb's conductor stand and he and Jonah took turns conducting an actual orchestra.  It was amazing.  I was too awestruck and fully enjoying the moment to take any pictures, but my father-in-law videoed the whole thing.  Needless to say, it is something we will never forget!  Wow, how amazing to have doctors who care about us so much to do something like this for us!

The previous night had been July 4, and it had been a special day too.  Another wonderful staff member, our nurse Tanya, allowed us to take Caleb over to the top of a parking garage near here where he could see the downtown Indy fireworks.  It was about a 10 minute walk, with the pole and all his gear, but we put the boys in a wagon with some blankets and it was an adventure.  At about 9:00 we were getting ready to leave, and it was the strangest feeling; we were actually GOING somewhere.  With Caleb.  Out of the hospital.  I was packing blankets and getting their wagon ready and the boys were giddy with excitement, with Jonah giving Caleb a very thorough explanation of what fireworks were like.  We eventually made it to the roof of that parking garage and there were lots of people up there; a smattering of other patients and their nurses, some doctors, and lots of random families who apparently just choose to watch the fireworks from that location.  There was music playing and at one point the Lifeline helicopter landed and took off again right beside us all, and lots of children were clapping and cheering for the added excitement.  (Clearly the purpose of that helicopter was lost on them; they just loved the up-close experience!)  Caleb absolutely loved the whole thing.  I can't imagine how much he is going to enjoy discovering the world outside this hospital when the time comes.

This was the boys' response when I said, "Raise your hand if you're excited for the fireworks".  Caleb couldn't get his hand high enough.

We started out in chairs, but they couldn't sit still for long and eventually just stood right at the edge, looking out over the city, to get as close as they could.

This is one happy little boy!

It was just a sweet little taste of what it will be like to see Caleb get out into the world.  He has no idea what awaits him!  It gave me hope to see how much he enjoyed himself and immediately seemed comfortable outside his little hospital room.  He has talked constantly about fireworks since then, and I think it's mainly because he just loved going somewhere. 

Then this past weekend was a much-needed retreat.  Daniel and I took Jonah to Turkey Run State Park for Saturday and Sunday while my mom stayed with Caleb.  It's hard to get completely excited about a trip like this when Caleb can't go with us, but the effect that being outside in a beautiful park for 2 days was obvious on the rest of us.  We desperately needed fresh air and sunshine.  Fortunately for us, our boys are great little outdoorsmen and like to do the kind of stuff we like to do.  We hiked, swam, took a canoe trip, explored and just enjoyed the outdoors.  On our 5-mile canoe trip, Jonah sat in our canoe in the middle, and at one point we just picked up our oars and let the boat drift.  There was absolutely no noise but the water and birds and bugs.  There were no other people in sight and none of us even talked for a bit, we just enjoyed the quiet.  We all returned to the hospital refreshed and ready for another week.

Personally I have been spending more time praying and of course the effects are immediate when I have meaningful time with God.  I feel better, and stronger, and I feel His presence.  Daniel actually just started a month-long fast from computer and video games, which he is already noticing the effects of. We have been spending our evenings with no screens in our faces, and instead just talking or reading.  Good stuff.  Don't get me wrong, we think there is absolutely nothing wrong with unwinding sometimes with some internet or tv or whatever.  Those things just need to be in proper balance.  And we've found that without clear boundaries of how much time we're going to give for media, they too quickly crowd out much more important things.  And honestly, I NEVER find myself thinking, man, I really wish I had watched more tv or spent more time on facebook today.

We're praying for a peaceful week, for our family to have joy and fun together while we keep waiting for the time when the next part of our life begins!

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