Sunday, September 10, 2006

Bear in the Big Blue House

Welcome, welcome welcome to our big blue house,
Welcome, welcome, welcome to our big blue house,
Door is open, come on in!
It's 6am and I am up. Up and watching "Bear and the Big Blue House". Ninety-nine per cent of our childrens' television watching occurs between 6 and 7 in the morning because the short people are evil, subversive, communist beings who enjoy torturing their parents. Once I can pry my eyes open and stagger to the kitchen for coffee I usually hit the computer for something a little more stimulating than Miffy or, god forbid, the Wiggles.
This morning we are being entertained by "Bear in the Big Blue House". This is a perfectly fine show in the tradition of Jim Henson, but it's difficult for me to watch because I always recall the first time I ever saw this program.
It was December 7, 2003, 6:00am. I was laying on a child-sized hospital bed holding India tightly as she finally gave in to exhaustion and slept for the first time in almost 24 hours. She was 6 months and one day old and had to be held all night to keep her from tearing out her nasogastric tubing and IV. The day before, on her six month birthday, she was admitted to the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters (CHKD) for "failure to thrive".
What got her there is a long complicated tale involving misdiagnosis, dismissal of me as a hysterical first-time mother, and several treatment wrong turns that worsened India's symptoms. Finally, during this week at CHKD after an exploratory surgery, steps were begun to help India become a healthy, normal baby.
So December 7 I'm laying there in this bed, exhausted beyond words and so emotionally over-the-top that this therapist lacks a pat phrase to neatly package the feelings, the tv in our room is showing "Bear" and, helpless to move or change the channel, I watch.
The episode was a Christmas one, in which the characters find a homeless dog alone and cold in the woods and take him in. Bear tries to explain homelessness to his friends and one of them sings a song that, at the time, was so heartbreaking I could not tolerate it. The floodgates opened, and I cried.
"Cried" is probably not the most appropriate wrd choice. "Racked with sobbing", "quietly wailing", or even "hysterical" are better descriptors. That show...that SONG (oh, it was soooo sad in my memory) had allowed me to finally break down.
So now I stiffen a little whenever "Bear" is on. And at Christmastime I fervently hope to never see that episode.
About 3 months after India's week-long hospitalization she was almost completely healthy and now is just like any other four year old girl. It is easier, most of the time, to let go of some of those darker memories and be so, so thankful for this beautiful, healthy creature that we almost didn't have at all and then almost didn't get to keep. And ultimately it is this beautiful gift that I remember whenever I think about the darkest point of our lives. My sweet, smart, funny, four year old India.
But I still don't like to watch "Bear".


Clare said...

I love that picture of India! Sometimes I can't belive she ever used to look that way, she is such a big girl now! We miss you and hope we can plan a weekend to come up there soon!