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This morning I found my rhythm. I laid out the children’s clothes last night so I could quietly dress them one at a time when they rise and then usher them out to the playroom where, hopefully, no children would be watching television. They come Saturday and leave Monday. It is never long enough. There are some moments on Sunday when it feels never short enough. But it is always worth it. I see how weak the virtue of patience has grown in me. I remember how parenting three active children did not feel difficult until after the first hospitalization when I was reminded how peaceful and quiet life can be. Even though I snap at them, it is wonderful to be with them.

When they leave, my heart feels empty. The world goes from color to black-and-white; and the only thing that really helps…is to walk. To walk and walk and walk until the emotions and the emptiness fade into the distance, the scenery begins to brighten with color and after long enough, my feet hurt and I am eager to get back to sit down and rest. Then I finish the day as I started, just moving forward.

I do not know if the children know they leave today. They usually leave on Monday, after two nights, but I cannot bear to say the words. I will have to. No, I will have my husband do it. I do not want to see their sad faces. Even if they know, they will be sad. They do not want to leave. The hospital is a place with a wonderful playroom and nurses who are just so interested in them. Family House is a place with new bed, new pictures and a living room of toys and books they have not seen before. It is even better this time, there is a play kitchen. But most of all, we are today, and that hurts the eldest when it is time to leave. And that breaks my heart.

No news came yesterday. No news is very good news. No news means nothing new has grown in the blood cultures. If nothing new continues to grow, the infection may be cleared. If nothing new continues to grow it means I can start counting the days. I will keep counting since the last blood culture, five days…one…two…three…four…five. That would mean Tuesday. Give it an extra day so I do not get too excited. That makes it Wednesday. But I would not usually tell anyone I am hoping for Wednesday because then I will have to tell them when Wednesday comes that it is not Wednesday and they are more disappointed than I can handle. I was just hoping after all. Today is Monday.

Today is Labor Day. My family and I used to go camping on Labor Day. My husband, children and I never really do anything special for Labor Day. They will have a barbecue here at Family House in the afternoon. I hope to eat a hot dog. I have written up my holiday season plans, as I do each year for the fall and winter. For each holiday or birthday I have written a back-up plan, a San Francisco plan, because Easter was just too heartbreaking to be away from home. And I do not want that to happen again.

The last time I saw the saw the ocean here in San Francisco, I felt hope again. B knew it would have that effect so he took me. We went yesterday. God, it was good to see the children enjoy themselves, good to sit with the littlest after the waves scared her, good to not worry about the sand. The sun was beautiful. The walk was beautiful. The waves were magnificent. We sat at a restaurant, paid for too expensive milk and walked back. The best moments with kids are the moments when you do nothing, when you sit and just let them be, watch them, stop them from picking their noses, and break up the fights with a teaching moment.

The goodness of the moment overwhelms me. My husband is making steak and eggs for me. It is overwhelming to be so loved. Everyone has their crosses. I suppose God gave us the grace in our relationships so that we could face what the outside world would throw us. We just take what comes; embrace the chaos; wish we had worn sunscreen and cope with it when its gone.