I had a friend in Tampa who got a nursing gig at a nursing home that was especially for children. She had done some of her school work there, and had a huge heart and felt it would be rewarding to work there. These were the "second twin" of twin to twin transfusion cases - the ones where it all goes so wrong and one baby has brain damage etc, or other causes of the same. Mostly, as I recall, it was twin to twin transfusion cases.
When she had worked there as a student, it had been rather clinical to her, check their stats, record numbers, change their diapers - do the sort of things students do so that the RNs can do their jobs.
But when she graduated and went back as a nurse, she told how it had all changed for her the first week - when her duties were more personal and involved with these children who were babies that would never change. Because when she opened a dresser and saw neatly folded little Disney T-shirts, and shorts, and underoos that this child would never even be able to wear - that some parent had lovingly and hopefully deposited there, it had struck her deep in her heart.
These were someone's children.
They weren't just patients, or bed numbers, or duties to check off. Someone loved them. Someone had hopes and dreams for them that had been smashed by mother nature and cruel fate. And that someone had folded underoos for a child who would never sit up on their own, much less be potty trained.
Tonight as I bathed my own children, I sat on the edge of the tub crying, remembering this story. My oldest boy asked me I was crying "because of the brothers?" and I said yes, that I was just sad and that everything was OK.
But I took a little longer washing their hair, and smoothing in conditioner, then carefully rinsing it out. And I slathered them with peppermint candy scented lotion - hoping that when someone tomorrow was near them they would catch the scent and think they were sweet - as I think they are sweet.
Because they are my children.
Tomorrow they start school in their special class for autism.
And I am scared to death.