This morning we got up early, got dressed quickly and headed out the door by eight twenty so we could make the forty minute drive down to the Loma Linda Children's Hospital in Loma Linda. This was a fun visit, no surgeries, no IVs, no over night stays, nothing. It was the fourth annual Sons of American Legion Christmas in July Motorcycle and Car Show. The girls were so excited that Santa would be coming to the children's hospital. I was glad to have time there that wasn't scary for the girls.
As we waited we ran into some old neighbors. Both their boys were born with a heart defect and both had their surgeries at Loma Linda. Both boys looked happy and healthy and had recovered well. Aside from yearly check-up's they've recovered and moved on. In some ways I envied them; I wish that Amaya's birth defect (did I mention that I hate calling it that. Even though I know that, that is what it is. A random birth defect. I still don't care for the term) was something to quickly correct and then move on from. I know that her condition is something that has and will affect her for quite sometime. I know it's not devastating, or debilitating, but I wish I could spare her from it all. But, as I sat stood there with these thoughts, I noticed the other families. I saw other children who had other, more severe illnesses, defects. Each child, and family has their own struggle. So I accepted ours for what it is; grateful that it isn't worse.
We waited patiently for Santa to be brought in on the back off a pick-up truck filled with toys. He was led in, not by reindeer, but by several motorcycles. When we heard the roar from about a block away we were all excited. He was in his "summer gear;" a red hat, shorts, sandals and a red Hawaiian shirt.
As I watched Santa pull up, the motorcycles park, the classic cars park (some had hydraulics and "danced" and "hoped"). I was overcome with emotion and deeply touched by the kindness and generosity of strangers. None of these people knew Amaya or any of the other patients, yet they gave up their Sunday morning, shared their cars and donated gifts. I hope they know how much they brightened the day for so many kids and their families.
Both girls chose Barbie's and were so excited to have them opened up right away. Amaya and Lidie both went back and thanked Santa again for their gifts. Josh also made it a point to thank one of the women who helped coordinate the event. We were both so grateful for an opportunity to take some of the fear out of the hospital. Amaya's next surgery is about eight months away and she sometimes mentions, being nervous or scared. I can't say that I blame her, but we want to help her be as calm, relaxed, and unafraid as possible. That's why events like this are so great.
It was interesting to me that both girls really wanted to go into the hospital. We did and had some snacks at the cafeteria. Amaya led me to the table where Josh and I sat about seven months ago while we waited for her to get out of surgery. That was such an emotional time. I remember not really being able to eat, starring off and crying. We had a pager that the hospital provided to us give us updates from the operating room, and we both looked at it so often.
And now here we were seven months post surgery. Grateful that the superknee procedure was so successful and gearing up for the next surgery (where she'll have her femur lengthened, her hip corrected, as well as the knockedness of her femur corrected). We feel a bit anxious, nervous, scared and hopeful. Very hopeful.