Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Have I told you lately that I love them?

SO, I'm in the kitchen cooking dinner,
which means that we are settled in back at home.
There is just something about hospital food to get you barefoot in the kitchen,
if you know what I mean.
Its that home-ness that you miss so much when you're...
not home.
And especially when you're not home because your in a hospital.

This reminds me that I have yet to make Pioneer Woman's Whiskey BBQ chicken I swore I'd make when I got home.
Note to self.
I am making a simplemeal that I found here.
It's not a typical meal for us, but looks good regardless and uses stuff I already have, which is key.
(It WAS good. I made mine into fajitas by sauteing some bell peppers and onions and adding avocados and sour cream in a tortilla, which was all stuff I happened to have around.)
I was planning on linguine and clam sauce but opened the fridge and saw chicken I had thawed out,
which made me have a "Either I cook something with chicken TONIGHT or we all gettin' Ecoli" tomorrow night" moment.

Not at all a valid thing to write about.

So back to what I was saying about HOME.
You miss it terribly when you're gone.
And hospital food makes you want risk Ecoli and another hospital stay just to get good, home- cooked food.

When Shep was hospitalized for the first two months of his life, we were remarkably blessed to stay at the Ronald McDonald house of Chapel Hill.
This "house that love built" fed us night after night, served up McDonald's coffee every morning, and had volunteers who made it their week's joy to make homemade peanut butter cookies that bring tears to my eyes.
Not because I'm feeling emotional.
Simply because they were THAT good.
And food is an idol of mine.
I could literally go on AND on AND on about my love affair with the Ronald McDonald house.
Which is why I get so excited every time they call us and ask us to share our story with a group of people in hopes that people will give towards their work.
Over the past 2 years, we have continued to stay involved with the RMH and coming up this weekend we get to attend one of their largest fundraisers for the second time.
While there, we will have the opportunity to not only get up and share our story with the group of donors invited, but also to be present when the RMH shows the video they recently put together to kick off their big renovation/building campaign.
They asked us if we'd be willing to be in the video.
I asked them if I could throw a Kate Gosselin style tantrum for drama's sake.
They said no.
But they did follow our family around a local park last week with cameras and boom mics, causing many poor people to believe there is a reality show being taped in the triangle area, and we are the stars.
But seeing as we are neither famous, drug addicted,rich, or parents to 20+ children, I don't see a reality TV show in our future.
At least not yet.
As soon as I get the OK, I'll post the video up here.
It really is beautiful and you'll get to meet two beautiful families, willing to share their beautiful stories and beautiful children with the world, in the midst of their suffering.
And yes, you should get your kleenex out for the occasion.

And since I doubt you will be attending the event this weekend,
just in case you wanna know what I tell people interested in giving to the RMH...
here ya go.
Try to pretend you are dressed up all fancy like...
(this speech was for a luminary lighting Xmas event, so context will be a bit different this weekend, but you get the point)

Good evening. We appreciate you folks inviting our

family here tonight to share about an experience very

precious to us.

Almost 2 years ago, our third son was born with a

heart defect we had not previously known about,

requiring heart surgery at a mere 4 days old. Being

only 5 pounds at the time and with a number of

anatomical abnormalities, his recovery went much

worse than expected- resulting in a 2 month stay at the

RMH of Chapel Hill. It was then that it was no longer

just the place McDonalds collects coins for . In large

part, because of their remarkable service to families,

the worst 2 months of this families life was also the

most remarkable 2 months of our lives. You see, no

one notified us before our son was born, that we

would need to prepare to fight for his life upon his

arrival into this world. But at the RMH, they knew.

Sure they didn’t know the Joyners by name…yet. But

they knew there would be families just like us. It’s

what they live and breath there…Families.

And so while I was home preparing nursery bedding,

they were busy preparing for us.

They were preparing a place where instead of leaving

our then 2 and 3 year old boys in another town with

family for 2 months, they could play cowboys and

indians with other children in the halls of the RMH.

Where they could greet us with their refreshing love

after a long day at the hospital. Where we could eat

dinner together in the evening (for free) and snuggle

together at night, before starting the fight again in the

morning. It is thanks to the RMH that our boys

remember those months with great fondness, not with

tears and loneliness. The folks at the RMH had

readied a place where a mother who thought she

would be cradling her newborn and nursing him,

could instead use their hospital grade pumps through

the night hours and store milk for my baby in a

special freezer…just for moms like me. A place

where I could do laundry like a normal mom, though

nothing in my life at the time seemed normal.

Massages on Thursday, peanut butter cookies on

Wednesday, therapy dogs for the siblings on

Monday, shuttles to and from the hospital

hourly…EVERYTHING I needed and nothing I’d

thought of. How could I have known what this little

family would need to get through the battle of a

lifetime? Gratefully, I didn’t need to know…because

they make it their job to.

The first night in Chapel Hill, we were dropped off at

a strange hotel, ushered to a non-smoking room that

smelled heavily like smoke, and we fell into bed,

numb, grief stricken and anxious…and it cost us far

too much.

This is a stark contrast to peanut butter cookies,living

rooms, and dinners. The rest of our stay those months

was in the RMH of CH. It doesn’t take a math wiz to

figure out that for the average family enduring a long

hospital stay, between the hotel and food and travel,

the financial burden can be crippling. And many

families are forced to make the impossible choice of

either leaving their sick child alone to struggle…or

drown trying. Because of the RMH, this family didn’t

have to make that decision.

You see, at the end of the day, for every family at the

RMH, there is only one thing that matters- the fight

for life. And as you wage the war- they are there, in

your corner, making sure we could do just that…

live. So that when you walk beyond the beeping

monitors, sounding alarms, and sullen faces, through

those hospital doors…and into the space where life

still goes on…there they are…making life possible in

an impossible time. Miraculously, my son survived

and is doing wonderfully, though for many families

the story will end differently. So when you light these

luminaries, please remember what it is you are

helping to make possible for families in their darkest

of days. You are making it possible for them to go on

hoping and living in a place where they make it their

primary goal to kindle hope in the midst of pain.

You wanna pull out your fat wallet and give, right?

Please say yes.

At least that's what I hope happens.

The boys carting each other out on the carts that are for luggage at the RMH in 2009
They felt right at home at the RMH
Easter Morning, getting ready for church at the RMH 2009

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