"I'm Hannah.", she said as she squeezed by Roa's wheelchair into the open space in front of the bead maze on the little table. She was a confident little girl, looking at Roa's IV stand attached to the crook of his small elbow inquisitively.
"I'm here visiting my grandpa. He's sick.", she said, in an questioning sort of way leading me only to believe she wanted the "What-are-you-in-for" answer.
"How old are you, Hannah?" I asked. I already knew the answer just by watching her. Also, by simply knowing that God puts these peers in our presence quite often.
"I'm three." she said. Same age, so very different abilities.
"Is she bothering you?" Her grandmother asked as she entered the tiny playroom next to Roa's hospital room. She gave Roa "the look"- nervous, sympathetic, questioning. "Come on, Hannah. Let him play."
"No," I said. "She is just chatting with us." Inside I was also saying PLEASE don't take her away! She is the first reason Roa has to give his contagious smile since before Christmas!
Roa did not have a quick recovery from the horrible flu as the rest of us did. Instead his vomiting and lack of fluid intake lead to a two night hospital stay. Reflux has a nasty way of making that gag reflex heighten.
Hannah was there at the hospital with us. So very typical- chattering away, bossing around her baby sister as she tottled into the room, playing with the puzzle, beads, and few books in the small hospital visitor's room. Oh how easy the typical child can interact with the world, appearing never to be weak and faltering.
It was nice to see my weak Roa smile again, so sweetly as Hannah, with her child-innocence, talked about her Christmas, Santa, and life as a three year old in Florida. She was a Christmas Angel to me. Friendly and open. A bright light in the sad Holiday Hospital.
That was the defining turn-around moment in Roa's hospital adventure. The next morning, he kept down his breakfast (for the most part) and was released in the afternoon.
Roa deserved a "Christmas do-over". On New Year's Eve before bed time, Daddy and Roa hit the local Target where Roa became the proud owner of a remote control, with flat-panel touch screen, monster truck! (monster trucks being his latest interest...God help us)
On January 4th, Roa returned to his school/therapy routine. Three pounds down but energetic none the less, he wheeled aboard that school bus with a grin. He was sad to see his Christmas tree put to the curb, even shed a tear, but seems to understand. Christmas will come again.
Hannah, we hope your trip back to Florida was a safe one. Thank you for being our light during a dark Christmas moment.
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