Today was a big day. It was supposed to be a big day. Today was Leo’s dedication Sunday. So the plan was that Kim, Amanda, Tyler, Jordan, Ben, Jonathan and I would stand in front of the congregation at Calvary Chapel, Philadelphia and watch and pray while Pastor Joe held Leo and asked for God’s blessing on his life. (And yes, Leo’s brothers were all well schooled in what not to do while standing in the center of public attention!)
So we expected all the joy and anxiety that goes with a day like this. The order of the day was family, photographs, food, and that dash of uncertainty that comes with being on center stage. What we didn’t expect was a minor medical emergency!
It played out like this: We had just gotten to that critical point of transition on a Sunday morning where you tell the children, “OK, put on your shoes and go climb in the van.” Leo was in his high chair, taking a feed through his G-tube, and I proceeded to lift him out of his chair, like I had a hundred times before.
Then it happened. His feeding tube got tangled in the chair, there was a gentle tug, and then POP, I’m looking at the end of the G-tube “button” that is supposed to be INSIDE Leo.
My first thoughts went like this: “How did I do that? Why now?! We are going to the Emergency Room. What will we say to everyone?! We are going to the Emergency Room, NOW.” … and … “I just ruined Leo’s big day.”
Kim was much more together. She was, in fact, amazingly calm. She got out her big medical binder, her emergency stash of medical supplies, and shooed everybody but Leo and me out of the kitchen.
Now mind you, Kim and I both knew that parents are supposed to be able to switch these tubes out once every 6 months or so, and I am sure that someone will read this and ask themselves “So what? What’s the big deal?”
The big deal was that neither Kim nor I had done this before. The big deal is that this tube is what makes it possible for Leo to eat. The big deal is that to solve this problem you have to act like you know what you are doing and do something you’d much rather leave to a doctor or a nurse!
Well, there’s a first time for everything. I got the replacement tube back in (all the while worrying that I was hurting the poor little guy, or making matters worse.) We followed the directions.
It was just like putting together a model, “insert tab A into slot B” except of course that “slot B” was a little living, feeling being that you love and are sworn to protect!
So, Leo had his big day after all. He smiled and charmed everybody, and all the Shafers are doing just fine. It ended up being a good day; a really good day; a really good day that I won’t forget any time soon!