And the answer to that question is, she seems fine. Quite herself, in fact -- maybe just the teensiest bit more clingy, but otherwise firing on all cylinders. Thanking God for the beautiful flower she found in the backyard. Trying to Jimmy-Carter me into buying her a brand new tea set. Drawing herself to sleep.
Then sometimes people ask, "How are YOU?"
And the answer to THAT question is a bit more complicated. Let us review. In about 48 hours' time, we went from this:
When you're in the hospital with your child, the world stands still. It's like a self-contained bubble in which you're barely aware of the passage of day to night and back again. You're completely focused on the crisis at hand and maybe even faintly convinced that the rest of the world is too, lacking evidence to the contrary. "GOING HOME" seems like magical finish line, the goal toward which you press, whereas going home turns out to be only the beginning of a complex process. Rather like pregnancy and childbirth, I suppose.
Once you come home, though, you have to plow ahead with something resembling a normal life. Part of you wants to disappear from the world at large and sit at home staring at your child, but life does not allow. In the past few days, as we've resumed normal activities and even been crazy enough to participate in all-day Cub Scout camp in 99-degree weather, I've felt torn between two urges. Urge #1: wanting to tell everyone around me, total strangers included, about what happened because I can't look at my kiddo without doing a tiny double-take inside and thinking, "I can't believe we got to keep you! YOU ARE A MIRACLE!" Urge #2: not wanting to keep retelling the story, especially in my children's hearing.
Then stuff happens, like the Professor shows me the picture Ian drew with the therapists at the hospital, or I watch Caroline climb hesitantly into a wading pool with her camp helper, and I'm blubbering like a malfunctioning sprinkler system.
So. Moving on. Two steps forward, one step back.
And part of today's Two Steps was Eliza's promised birthday outing. I took her, her friend Rhynn, and her little sister for tea and scones at The Steeping Room. Clotted cream made an appearance and received its due applause.
Okay, it was clotted cream. We'll call that a giant step forward.