If ... If ... if.
If we ever needed knowledge that we made the right decision- we have it. No thanks to the house. My parents went to Mexico at the end of June. Husband and Wife were not in our home yet, and had gone out to dinner. SIL calls us and asks us to come over- Brother has had "a twitch." "A twitch" is something that has worked it's way into our vocabulary instead of that dreaded word, seizure.
Husband and Wife arrived at their home to find Brother laying on the ground in the garage and the children under Niece's bed. This was the plan. Weeks prior, they met with a friend who is a child-life specialist and she gave the children tools to help them and to answer any question they had. They made a plan for when Daddy had a seizure. When they heard "red light" their job was to run back to Niece's room and get under the bed. Under there are crayons, coloring books, a blanket and a plethora of stuffed animals. The seizure was mild, but they still needed an MRI to get a base level of [insert something they said that I wasn't paying attention to here]. I took the children to my parent's home where we were staying and Husband went with Brother and SIL to the ER, by car for a change, to see the inside.
Having his children was a surreal experience; they didn't know what to do, what to say, or really even -- how to act. They wanted to see their Daddy. Can you blame them? I would want to see mine to. Hell-- I wanted to see mine, too. And my mom for that matter. Mostly, I wanted my husband, but wanted more for my husband to be with my brother and his wife. Husband brings a placidity that is welcomed and needed. I could care for these kids and get them to bed.
As we said our prayers in our pajamas, I looked at the crying Niece and the crying Nephew and saw those big tears stream down their little cheeks and I knew I had no idea what their pain was. What could I do to help them?
I am just an aunt.
I am not their mother.
I am not their grandmother.
And I have only been back in their lives on a daily basis for about a week. Not a stranger-- but still, a stranger.
I love these children as my own, I always have- even before I had my own, and yet- I was helpless to help them. Three tow heads laid on three pillows in my parents' large bed and looked at me with innocent doe eyes in the dark.
What did I need them to know? What could I do to empower them in this time of being absolutely helpless in the helplessness?
I made them repeat after me--
I am strong.
I am strong.
I am brave.
I am brave.
I am loved.
I am loved.
Over and over we said it, as both a mantra and as a prayer. I needed to hear it as much as they did. I needed to know it as much as they did. Because they are-- they are strong, they are brave, they are loved.
So very loved.
And if love were enough, then they would know no pain and have no fear.
If love were enough, they would not have to be strong and wise beyond their years.
If love were enough, they would understand.
If love were enough, I would understand.
On one hand, I thought that the strong, brave, loved mantra would go in one ear and out the other. Little did I know...
Fast forward to this week and they saw their friend again, the child-life specialist. She held a ceremony for their bravery, act of valor, and following through with their plan. The three kids received a badge with an ant on it. Ants are small, but they are mighty. I don't know why I got choked up at this, but when she told me about the ceremony, she said that Niece and Nephew told her that they are strong, they are brave, and they are loved. They wore their ant badges on their little chests with pride. Quietly, I cried behind my sunglasses and was thankful that she was not a stranger, nor a stranger to emotion. Thankful that my sunglasses were dark and no tears streamed down my cheeks.
Love is enough. We can show these children that they are loved in this difficult chapter of their life and they will come through to the other side.
Brother will come through to the other side.
SIL will come through to the other side.
We will all come through to the other side.
There will be a day filled with sunshine, dry basements, a finished house, and a brother- seizure free, throwing his children in the air with two good arms and healed kidneys. This time will be a distant memory. We will look to that day and celebrate that goal. His wife will be by his side and we will all be there, showing him, too-- that love is enough.
It is. It absolutely is.