The coming of the New Year in Peru means weekends at the beach.
I remember Gaby commenting, more than once, how boring she thought Denver was compared to Lima.
“There’s nothing to do here,” she would complain.
I’d ask her what we’d be doing if we were in Peru.
“We’d be at the beach,” she’d respond, with a smile on her face.
“Yeah, but doing what?” I’d ask.
“Nothing, we’d just be at the beach.”
I’d give her my customary eye roll……..after she turned her back to me, of course.
Now, Peru does have some beautiful beaches. But the Pacific is a bit cold for my taste, and the waves are quite strong compared to, say, Miami or Fort Lauderdale. At least that’s been my experience.
But going to the beach is what they do in Lima, so the best thing I can do is suck it up and get used to having sand in every part of the car, house, etc. for the next three or four months.
This past weekend, we went to a beach called Asia. Some friends of the family were throwing a birthday party at their condo, and we were invited.
The waves at this particular beach are really too strong for the kids, but luckily the complex had a nice swimming pool.
Santiago slipped on his inflatable vest and had a ball with his cousin and with a new friend he made at the pool.
I’ve mentioned before how Adriana loves the water. So, we’re thankful for any pool time we can get. She doesn’t even realize what wonderful therapy she’s getting as she moves her arms and legs, free from the constraints of gravity.
It was idyllic.
After swimming with the kids, we went to the party.
I knew many of the guests because we often get invited by the same group to their social activities, which are pretty much non-stop.
It’s a wonderful group of people, quick to laugh and genuinely concerned for each other’s well being.
My drink of choice for the evening was a chilcano, which is ginger ale, a twist of lime and Pisco, a common Peruvian liquor made from grapes…..kind of like what tequila is to Mexico.
The Pacific Ocean: Our New West
After a while, I found myself – off by myself – looking out at the Pacific Ocean, just out the window.
I looked at the sand, then the water, then the waves coming in, again and again, and then out into the gray vastness that was (and is) the Pacific.
I was in a Pisco-induced awe!
I mean, we used to live in Denver, Colorado, so the mountains out there to the west were pretty impressive.
But, with the mountains, there was a finality to them, in my mind.
You could see the tops. And, if you drove west for five or so hours, you reached the other side.
With the Pacific, there was no end.
I mean, of course there’s an end somewhere out there with a piece of land or another ocean, but this sucker’s huge.
[Just for reference, I’m about three drinks into the evening at this point.]
Then, the enormity of the world started to weigh on me.
As we drove back to Lima, I noticed the hillsides lined with dilapidated homes (if you can call them homes).
They’ve always been there; I just happened to fixate on them this time.
There are millions of people in Lima…..a great many of them are poor.
There are billions of people in this world….a great many of them are poor!
And, who knows how many are praying for their miracle to come true, just like we are with Adriana….the miracle that she’ll walk soon.
What makes us so special that God would grant us our miracle?
I have no answer.
Then I started to question: have we already been granted our miracle – or miracles?
Gaby was diagnosed with breast cancer almost at the same time Adriana was conceived.
One of the first tests the doctors wanted to perform was a PET scan, where they would have injected radioactive material into her body.
The nurse who was going to perform the test asked Gaby if she might be pregnant. We had been trying for a second child, but Gaby didn’t think she was pregnant and told the nurse that.
Gaby was really only thinking about the cancer diagnosis she had just received.
The nurse refused to do the PET scan without confirming that Gaby was not pregnant.
So, Gaby went to Walgreens, bought a pregnancy test, went back to her office and – shortly thereafter – found out she was pregnant with Adriana.
What would have happened had the nurse gone through with the PET scan? What damage would the radiation have done?
Was God watching over Gaby when our nurse refused to give her the scan?
Of course, you might say the nurse was just doing her job….confirming a young woman is not pregnant before giving her a PET scan.
I will always feel that God had a hand in it.
Or, did God grant us a miracle when Gaby had the dream that caused her to check for the lump in the first place? The dream that something was wrong and she better visit the doctor?
With a Stage 1B diagnosis, Gaby caught it early enough and she’s now cancer free.
Was that the miracle we get in this lifetime?
Or, is it the fact that Adriana survived Gaby’s chemotherapy while in her mama’s belly?
Or, the fact that Adriana has SMA, Type 2 with enough copies of the SMN 2 gene that allow her to breath on her own, or eat through her mouth instead of through a tube in her stomach?
So many beautiful, innocent Type 1 babies never make it to their 2nd birthday.
Is that our miracle?
Or is the miracle being able to see Adriana crawl, if only for a short time, before the disease took that away?
Adri at about a year old, when she could still crawl.
Or, did the miracle happen this week when, for a few seconds, she stood by herself with the help of leg braces?
I guess in the end, it doesn’t really matter if these were miracles or not.
We’ll continue to pray to God for a miracle because, the way I see it, he’s the only one in the business.
Adri standing on a treadmill with the help of leg braces.
Only now, I’ll try to be a little more open to what form the miracle may take.
It’s amazing what a little Pisco and a lot of ocean can do.
Adriana working with her therapist