Today, I held my baby in a hospital bed for the third time.
The first, she was so small and new and the room was filled with joy.
The second, we were introduced to our new normal, a life we never planned for or expected, a casual, sanitized, oversimplified introduction, like high-fiving the person you are about to marry. I wanted to put her back inside of my body, repair the parts that needed to be fixed and birth her again into that room filled with joy. Somehow, we knew this wasn't all of it. The room was filled with fear.
The third, today, we knew was inevitable. It was the third in what will be a lifetime of hospital beds I will hold her in. I will hold her as long and as tight as she will let me. Today, this perfect creature, that I put into this imperfect world, with a body that has betrayed her, laid her head on my breast, closed her eyes and told me she wanted to go home. I couldn't take her home so I just held her and made my arms a home. It wasn't enough, but it was a beginning. The room was filled with love.
I know more now than I did the first time or the second time, more about joy, more about fear, more about love, certainly more about pancreases. My priorities have shifted and shattered a thousand times since that first hospital bed. I now know that there is joy to find even in unexpected places, if you take the time to look. I know that fear is generally a place holder that knowledge and experience can start to fill. Now, I know that love can make your arms a home, even when home seems far away.