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Our People in the Waiting Room

These are our people.

My son toddles around the surgical waiting room, and my shoulders are down, my posture is relaxed and it hits me… these are our people, this is where we feel comfortable.

Surround by the anxious and forced calm, friendly faced, tired, medical families. People, who just like us, “know the routine,” enter a waiting room at a hospital or doctor’s office, wipe down an area, drop our stuff or ourselves into hardback chairs, with the same ease some toss keys on the counter when they return home. We know these sounds, these smells, this feeling as well as we know our own homes. Our children know the routine as well. They dash to their favorite waiting room toy, say hello to fish they have named in the token tank. No one even looks twice at the wheelchair, the trach, the feeding tube backpack. The kids and parents move with ease around the crowded room. Quick friendships are made, commonalities are found and laughed about, resources are shared, the dirt is dished… This is our safe place, and these are our people.

When the dollar-store pregnancy test read positive on that hot summer day nearly four years ago, this is not what I pictured. When that fancy name-brand third pregnancy test came back positive almost 20 months ago, this still wasn’t what I pictured. But here we are. The fearsome foursome. Diagnoses being added like items to a grocery list. This isn’t just something we move through. This is our life. These are our people.

This is where we feel comfortable. Not at family gatherings, playgrounds, or even our own kitchen but here. Here, where don’t have to explain why we are tired, why we carry our own baby wipes and look like a broke-ass cleaning service when we enter a room, why our kids look adorable and we look disheveled, why our kid is wearing sunglasses, what all those tubes are for or how we manage to do it all.

This life is not what I dreamed of. Most days I hate it just as much as I love my children and husband. Most days it sucks every bit of me dry. Most days I cry once or snap once. Most days I’m faced with a medical challenge. But every day, when my head finally hits the pillow, I am unbelievably overwhelmed with the pure wonderfulness of my children and my love for them.

Every time we enter a medical waiting room I let all that tension and armor I have been carrying go. I greet our people with warm smiles, knowing looks, unconditional acceptance, love. Our people look up from their phones, medical binders, surgical monitoring boards, crying children, and genuinely smile back.

Getty image by artisticco.