A Thousand Words

Sometimes looks can be deceiving.

Today was picture day at Grace’s school. She does remote school so picture day meant we had to go to the physical school building and have her picture taken.

Grace has been sick for about a week with a virus brought home and cultivated by her brothers. Thursday or Friday, I spent the day on the phone with various doctors’ offices because she had a fever, and with a PICC line you have to take every fever seriously. She is doing better now, but still very weak. She’s barely eating and has very little energy.

Also, Grace is still fighting the bacterial infection that landed her in the hospital a few weeks ago. Two steps forward, one step back. Or is it one step forward, two steps back? Either way, it is slow progress trying to heal this infection. She is very ill.

And today was picture day. Picture day meant that Grace had to get dressed and leave the house. Picture day meant that Grace couldn’t spend her day lounging in her pajamas as she’s been doing basically since she got home from the hospital. Picture day meant activity.

In addition to picture day, it was also the day of Grace’s weekly doctor’s appointment. That’s LOTS of activity for someone who has been down and out for basically weeks now. And school pictures were at the beginning of our busy day.

After picture day, we picked up Elliot from preschool and took him with us to the doctor’s appointment allllllll the way across town. It was a long drive, and the sun shone on Grace the whole time. It wasn’t a particularly hot day today, but the Colorado sun is merciless, and Grace overheated in the car. Her head lolled as we drove, and even after I turned the AC on she still looked very ill.

The doctor appointment was uneventful—quick, even. We were on our way back home in a third of the time it took us to get there. Thankfully, the sun was on the back of the car as we drove home, but by this time Grace was exhausted. She rested against the seat, closing her eyes. At some point she actually fell asleep. Her friend called her, though, and she woke up to engage in typical pre-teen activities for the rest of the drive.

After we got home, and after work, I saw Grace’s newly-printed student ID on the counter.

It scares me.

When I see this picture, I see a pale, sickly child. I see a girl with dark circles under her eyes and sunken cheeks. I see a child who has been sick for weeks and is still feeling very poorly. I see a child who I love so, so much, and whose life is less guaranteed than most of us.

I also see a beautiful girl who is growing into SUCH a gorgeous adult. I see a girl becoming a woman.

I only hope she really will become a woman. Times like these are scary, and Grace’s mortality is more apparent than that of most of us. None of us is guaranteed life, but some of us have a more tenuous hold on it than others.

Hang in there, Amazing Gracie. Get well and stay well and let’s leave these scary times behind.

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