We laced our hands together at bedtime and she asked, as she does so often, about “the baby hospital.”
Where was your bed Mommy? Did you only sleep when I sleeped?
I realized something I never had before.
She thought I never left.
Those agonizing months of saying goodnight to my babies in the NICU and driving home, only to get up the next morning and make the drive to see them again, she had no idea.
I sat day after day feeling helpless and slightly delusional, not quite sure that my babies would ever come home. Wondering if that one hour sitting in front of their incubators, folding and refolding my empty hands, was not actually five hours, or ten or two days.
Every motherly task I was given felt like a gift. As I bathed them or changed their bandages or started their next feed I hoped that I could make up for this, all of this. I hoped our proximity for those short moments could make up for our distance during the following hours.
Near the end of our NICU stay I thought I might go mad with the longing to bring them home. I was as desperate for them to be home as I had been for them to survive in the early days after their birth.
I have thought of those days so often as I struggle to drop my kids off for even an hour away and I’m the first to pick them up from anywhere I manage to drop them off. They may climb walls and scale the stairs and challenge the window glass with their noise but I like them here. I like them home.
I tried to explain to my daughter that I didn’t stay at “the baby hospital” as she did. I had to come and go but I was with her every minute I could be, but she didn’t understand.
There was never a moment in her world when I wasn’t there.
Just as I always hoped it would be.
A sweet friend of mine has a baby in the NICU with a story very similar to McKenna’s, they are selling hair bows on Etsy to help pay for her care. You can click here to buy one or on the image in my sidebar.
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