Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's all relative...

The other day it rained. We don't get much rain here in Utah...so when it does rain, you notice it. It's funny the conversation that ensues after someone makes a comment like that. The people from Arizona tell you about how dry and hot it is there. The people from Seattle tell you not to get them started on rain. The Californians just start talking about how great California is ;)... etc, etc, etc. You talk about this rain storm, and how the rain is here in Utah...and people's minds begin to search their personal databases of experience, and relate to you through the extremes in their past. We humans....we want to connect with each other.

So yea... you might come from somewhere where a 5 minute storm was considered a downpour...or it might not be a storm in your mind if it doesn't last a few hours. I remember our first spring in Oklahoma... it rained for a week straight. The road in front of our house turned into a stream...and I learned that "rolling thunder" wasn't just an expression. I saw it all through my 12 year old, Utah-desert boy eyes...and I was fascinated. What a thrill it was whenever they turned on the tornado sirens in town...and the skies turned an eerie shade of green.... Yet, with all the drama, and the excitement of the Oklahoma storms... I missed how it smelled back in Utah after each 5 minute shower and how the dry thunder echoes off the mountains.

So, when my Oklahoma friends would talk about the wild weather...I would tell them about the smell of a mountain rain. And when my friends here comment on how bad a storm was...or how long the rain lasted ... I tell them about tornado season in Tornado Alley. While that seems to be what we all tend to do... somehow, there's something we're missing...

The past two months have brought out many different reactions about our "adventure"...from people around us and from ourselves. A common thread to most of them is the need to somehow quantify and qualify the situation...and usually to measure it against some other experience. People who have gone through something similar can easily get their footing by asking some basic questions, and measuring it against their own experience. Those who haven't gone through it, usually end up with something like "I can't even imagine how it is for you"... But then, I just want to shake them... Yes, you can!!

You see... we all have our bad days! Just like the rainstorms in Oklahoma aren't the mountain showers in Utah... I'm pretty sure people in both states know what it feels like to be frightened by a storm! You might not have a baby in the NICU... or yours might not be as little as ours...there are many who we know whose babies have been through much more...who have spent more time in the NICU... But I don't think that's the point... we all still relate to each other... I'm sure you know what it's like to be shocked... to be on pins and needles... to be exhausted... to have the smallest things brighten your day...to feel like time could not pass any slower, while it still flies by... That's just a small idea of how it feels... and you've been there. Some way, somehow...you've had your dark days... you've had your storms...and because of that, you know how it feels...

This next Friday will be our 8 week mark in the NICU. Countless times, we've come into the NICU, only to see a car-seat sitting next to the crib of another couple we've seen just come in... in the beginning, we thought to ourselves "Boy...if they ONLY knew!!"... But that's not right. They DO know... they had their shock...their scare...they know what it's like to worry. Time is relative, isn't it?? That couple went through the scariest, hardest thing they've ever been through...and that's just it. And what a blessed day it is when the clouds part on anyone's storm...Who are we to qualify the difficulty of someone else's trials, just because of the difficulty of our own?? We have found some of our best friends in the NICU...and they have been at this a month longer than we have... and now here we are, weathering the storm together....


I guess my point in writing this is to try to get my head around what I've felt lately. There is no such thing as a "worst bad-day"...and if there were, the person who had it wouldn't be happy to be able to "one-up" everyone else's bad-day stories! I'll forever be grateful for those of you who have reached out to us during our "rainstorm"...and have been able to relate...not because they have had our exact experience (though surprisingly...some have come pretty close, I've found out !)...but because they are living life too... There are easier things than having a micro-preemie baby...and there are harder things... but a storm is a storm...

Some of my favorite days...are right after the storm ends...the rains fade...and you can see more clearly then, than at any other time... I swear sometimes I can see the individual leaves on the trees in the moutains. The storm actually clears the air...and gives you a vision like at no other time...It's a limited time thing... things will get murky again...but thank heaven for storms... for great friends and family to weather them.... and especially for the perspective they bring...

8 comments:

Waggoner Family said...

When did you live in Oklahoma? and where? Your blog "stalker" :) RObyn from Oklahoma

Brianne said...

Hi guys,
I really loved this post. It is so neat when you when find a friend that just listens without the comparisions. It is a rare quality to find. I am so glad that Avery is doing so well. Talk to you soon. SORRY about the car seats. Really I did think about you. :) So much for not making comparisions.

Ry and Steph said...

Brianne- haha :) no apologies needed!! We were so glad to have you all as NICU buddies...but couldn't be happier for you to be home together as a family!!

kattmcd said...

Thanks Ry...this is pretty awesome:)

I love you guys!!

Layla said...

Ryan to read this post was such a blessing to me! I really needed to read that. Thanks, you are making an amazing dad...

kristen kathleen said...

ryan! - thanks so much for this post, it was really great to read it and gain some perspective. i hope you both continue to see progress with avery as time goes on. i actually need you to send me your mailing address. i have a very belated wedding present for you and steph since i was in texas when it all happened. =)

Amanda Green Englund said...

well said Ryan

Honey said...

I'm sorry to intrude - you don't actually know me, but you do know my cousin, Maggie G. I wasn't going to leave a comment, but I LOVED your post. It reminded me of a quote I read shortly after one of our family's "storms" that has since become one of my favorites. I don't know who said it exactly, but it's "Life is not waiting for the storm to pass, but is learning to dance in the rain." Wishing you the very best for your family and little Avery.