on tuesday, i went home in the morning and jack went home in the afternoon.
i think the general thought, and reaction, to the realization of what this trip turned out to be is, "oh, that's a bummer." jack, in the hospital for the entirety of my trip, meant split time between the hospital and home, between jack and luca. it meant stepping up instead of tagging along. and after all of that, i missed jack's homecoming by only a handful of hours. but i can't help but think, "oh, that was perfect."
i arrived four days in, as i mentioned, and i think the timing was perfect. wednesday was the only day that week with anything on the calendar, and i was tempted to call the mom i babysit for and tell her i couldn't come; she would understand. but i chose to wait, to keep my commitment, to be still.
arriving on day four meant i came with my whole self, ready to fill in their gaps. by day four, there were gaps. there was unraveling. by day four, extra hands were helpful.
jack switched hospitals on day seven, and i think the timing was perfect. it didn't feel perfect. it made the previous six days at the old hospital feel like wasted time, like they should have gone to the second hospital first. the fact that he was drinking, sucking ounce after ounce, out of a sippy cup within 24 hours at the new hospital, and discharged the following day, only added extra weight to that should-have feeling.
those eight days were draining, frustrating, challenging, tiring, heavy. the waiting was almost unbearable. i don't have any reason to call them perfect, except i know that god is good, that he works all things for good, that he's in the waiting. maybe we will never know exactly why the timing worked out the way it did, but i know it's not because we were forgotten.
as i pulled away to leave, to drive back to nashville, i got the text that jack would be going home that day––in just a few hours, and i think the timing was perfect. i came and helped out and filled in the gaps. i put in the work and poured myself out. i didn't get to see the end results, the turned page, after all the effort, but that's not really what i did it for.
my trips to charlotte are not for fun, they are for love. when i started making regular trips after luca was born, the thought wasn't to get more baby snuggles or more face time so i'd be his favorite auntie. it was never about what i could get, but what i could give. the thing that kept me going back was the need to make sure he (and now jack) knew my love. the only way i knew to do that was to show up. for diaper changes, for bottle feedings, for holidays, for birthdays, for soccer practices, for high fives, for back-and-forth trips to the hospital and bringing luca to school.
this trip was for celebrating jack's birthday, sure. but it was always just for jack. so what if it meant watching him eat blueberry muffins in the hospital instead of smashing cake in his face at home? i am always thankful for each time i get to show up.