The hardest part of the surgery is watching those little eyes close.
When the banks along those two blue, blue pools of water fall and close in, I know he's off to see another shore for a while.
Then comes the sigh of relief. He's resting in capable hands.
This youngest boy, taking on the world every day, is the gregarious one. And today the bravest; never dragged feet, hesitated, shivered a bottom lip. He breathed the gas, squeezed the arm, solid as a rock when the needle entered. Just a poke. A nervous giggle. He took his peace into the chair and under the knife. I wished him good sleep and left to my chair in waiting.
These words wanted to come in those minutes, as they ticked by, because its a story that reveals strength and vulnerability. In the back of the mind of every mother who sits in this chair is the fear that she may never swim in those blue pools again. Each time I reassured a brother about today's work, I reassured myself. But when those eyes closed, it as as if the sun went dark. This waiting place is the dim.
Both are here: dark and light, faith and relief. Because I think that faith comes alive when the unknown seizes upon it. I doubt my own reassurances and yet I still believe. Assuming that belief is knowledge cheats us from really making it the trust that it is -- like looking at the darkness and calling it a presence instead of an absence. It's still darkness, but it's still connected to light.
He walked into the darkness with mettle and nerve. He lay down and trusted my direction; me who wears his name on my heart. If he, boy of six, can peacefully contend with the unknown by placing himself in capable hands, then so can I.
Strapped safely in his seat belt, groggy from the procedure he says to me, limp upper lip, gauze in his mouth: "Mom, do I have to come back here?"
"Just once," I guarantee.
He doesn't fight. He doesn't groan. He just accepts his new sense of things unknowing that it's exactly what we say when we call it faith.