This month marks the 2nd anniversary of Little Hart's brush with death. We sat by her bedside watching the respirator take her every breath - wondering if she would ever tell another funny story that made us laugh uncontrollably, inform us she was not going to do this, that or the other (she's so damn stubborn!) or be able to say "I Love You Mom and Dad."
Greta, Raylan and I sat in a small ICU room for NINE days and nights - all unified in praying for a miracle. One arrived on day six when she the turned a corner. A lot of things in our Blended Family Life were forever changed after those nine days.
The biggest change was Little Hart's schedule. Long gone is Dad or Mom's "equal" time. A trust level was established between both families that allowed Little Hart to have a huge say in her living arrangements with an unwritten agreement that neither parent would lobby or guilt her into spending more time at one house or the other.
When it was time for Little Hart to leave the hospital she asked to stay with Dad - an extremely difficult thing for Greta to hear. She agreed knowing it was what Little Hart needed at the time. It was initially intended to last a few weeks, but ultimately turned into most of a year. To keep the focus on Little Hart needs, Raylan continued to pay child support to Greta - every month - on time.
This past year the schedule morphed into Little Hart spending most weekends with Greta. And recently, Little Hart requested that her schedule resemble the 50/50 split we shared for nine years.
With the new trust level came a change in Raylan and Greta's relationship still in place today. Instead of two islands functioning independent of one another, they have morphed into two sister islands - coordinating on the big things; school expectations, curfews and age appropriate activities for Little Hart. Each home still has their own rules, mostly because we are so very different in our makeup and how we function as families.
A temporary change was my relationship with Greta. Our relationship had been severely strained for many years before Little Hart went into the hospital. In less than 24 hours those reasons seemed to disappear as we bonded over the child we thought we might lose. Since that time life has moved on and our bond has seemed to lose steam. Unresolved issues have slowly crept back in, but not at the level or intensity they once were.
Hopefully, another temporary change has been the distance in my relationship with Little Hart. We were extremely close for the 11 years before she went into the hospital. Since that time our closeness has been replaced with distance. My Hubby says Little Hart feels secure in my unconditional love for her and knows I will be waiting with open arms when she is ready. I have chosen to hold on tight to that thought and give Little Hart the time an space she needs.
Raylan and I both had legal documents outlining "everything" that had to do with our shared kids - schedules, holidays, financial obligations and expenses - all the typical areas of agreement. What neither of us had in our decrees were the "What If''s? clause. In large part because we hoped that the "What If's?" would never become our reality along with the fear - How in Hell could could we work together to solve the big things when we struggle over the simple things?
Little Hart's situation had the best of all possible outcomes - she survived a life threatening infection that very few kids survive. I truly believe that the unity of both families praying and working together gave Little Hart the strength to not only fight, but gave her the will to live!
Our unity stemmed from all four parents checking our own emotional baggage at the hospital doors - the only thing we brought in was our love for Little Hart. Nine days couldn't magically fix all of the Blended Family issues we continue to deal with.
The point is - WE STILL HAVE ISSUES BECAUSE OUR CHILD SURVIVED! And that's A GOOD THING no matter how you look at it!