There are days that you anticipate for so long — look forward to, but dread at the same time. And it’s hard leading up to those kinds of days. Wanting them to hurry up and arrive and also never to happen at all.
Since The Who was about two and I knew for sure that his cute little outie belly button was in fact a hernia, I’ve been waiting for the day to come where it had to be repaired — mostly because I like neat bundles. I like concrete solutions. And I don’t like waiting. So, as soon as he turned 6 and his pediatrician confirmed that it wasn’t going to close on his own, we started the process that led us to this day.
Here is where I give the disclaimer that I know that this surgery was incredibly easy, incredibly mild, incredibly short, and incredibly low-risk. I know there are children and parents all over the world that contend with much bigger medical issues. We don’t. And don’t think for a second that I am not acutely aware of that all the time or that I’m not incredibly grateful for our good fortune.
With that said, as today approached, I sort of came undone. Last night, I believe I actually made myself sick with worry, as I sat under blankets on the couch, shivering and sniffling, certain I had a fever. (By morning, I was completely fine. Astounding what the subconscious can manifest.)
The thing that had me most in a tailspin was The Who’s fear and how the best I could do to assuage it was to stroke his hair and remind him of the doctor’s credentials and confidence (The Who, being The Who, is pretty comforted by those sorts of things.) But I know what it feels like to be rolled away from your people, alone into a cold operating room, and I did not want him to have to feel that. (All the things about understanding that life is about experiencing a range of emotions can be inserted here. I get it. But my heart hurt for him. If I could have gone in his place, I gladly would have.)
He woke up in the middle of the night last night, slurring that he was scared. And then again this morning, as we leaned in for our last kisses, he whispered it again: “I’m scared. I’m so scared.”
As it turned out, and as we all suspected when we were thinking rationally, it went off beautifully. He felt no pain, he lost no blood, he didn’t wake up nauseated (though later he did develop a migraine, classically accompanied by vomit) and we couldn’t have been treated more kindly or respectfully by the doctors, nurses, and staff. They all spoke directly to The Who, explaining everything, they let him move at his own pace, and they were incredibly mindful of his “queerspawn” status, referring often to his “moms” and never once asking to whom he belonged biologically and giving us both equal regard when it came to authority and consent.
While this was certainly one of the hardest lead-ups, it actually turned out to be one of the best days we have all had together in a long time, reminding me of how well we often function as a family unit and how lucky we all are, individually and as a team.