About: a woman, a child
Summary: rainbows: God's pretty gifts
Disclaimer: Sorry, but Iris is mine! And so am I.
“Look, mom, a rainbow.” Iris says. And I look between the buildings in the direction in which she points. Yes, there’s a rainbow. Clearly visible. But I have to keep my eye on the road. Traffic in Rotterdam is a bitch and as I no longer live there, I’m not used anymore to the incredible number of cars coming at me from all directions.
“Look, mom, there’s another rainbow.” Iris cheerfully points out. For a moment I consider telling her it’s the same rainbow, but that we changed lanes and took another turn, so she sees it from a different angle than she did before, but she looks at me so excitedly, her beautiful blue eyes filled with joy, that I don’t have the heart to do it.
“Yes, honey, and this one is just as pretty.” I smile. I bite my lip and my grip on the steering wheel is way too tight, but what can I do? That is my little four-year old daughter and we’re driving to the hospital, where she’ll have to undergo heart-surgery. I am terrified and I wonder how I will make it through the coming two days.
But she is not aware. It is not her first time, but her second time we drive up to the children’s hospital to see her undergo such a major operation. She is excited, because they are nice at the hospital. And there will be French fries, and a play-room with a lot of toys…
How wonderful must it sometimes be, to just be a child and just enjoy life, without having to worry what will happen in the next days or so. To just be in awe over a rainbow. And I smile. Yes, the rainbow is pretty and it’s only natural that Iris seeks them. Iris, in Greek mythology, is after all the personification of the rainbow.
It is always a shock to see your child in a hospital bed. The bed is so big, your child looks so small by comparison. And all these tubes, hissing machines and the constant alarms going off in the ER, where Iris recuperates from the operation, are frightening. Under the blanket that keeps her body warm I find her cold fingers.
I let them slip into mine. Large hands of a mother, tiny fingers of a child. They look so fragile, but I know how resilient a child can be, so sitting beside the bed, my hand is under the blanket and I hold her hand. I rub the cold fingers as if I’m trying to get her circulation going again.
I want her to wake up, because this motionless, quiet little creature that looks like my child is not my bubbly, lively little angel, who always has something to tell. I feel tears well up in my eyes, so I look away, out of the window, I look at a piece of the Rotterdam sky-line and it is a pretty sight.
Cooped up in this hospital you have no idea how things are in the ‘outside world’, I never even noticed it had rained, but now I notice the dark rainclouds leaving and the sun starting to shine. And sure enough, I cannot miss out on how a beautiful rainbow starts to form. And as I smile at the pretty sight, Iris’s tiny fingers squeeze my hand softly.
The red ladybird, the orange tail of the fox, the little yellow chicken, the green grasshopper, the blue feathers of the birds and the violet butterfly… they all pass by and as I turn to the last page, I see that Iris can barely keep her eyes open. I don’t know how many times I’ve read this little book that talks about the colors of the rainbow.
She loves it, although she can almost recite it herself by now. Normally I would start the last sentence and let her tell me the color, but she can’t talk. There are still tubes in her throat. I am not even sure is she can really hear me, she keeps drifting in and out of her sleep. Yes, the operation went well. Now, the healing starts.
Her eyes open again. She seems almost conscious.
"So, the mother rabbit says, now you know what you need to make a rainbow. Rain, colors – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple – and the sun.” I read. I can almost imagine I saw a smile on her face. Then she's asleep again.
“Mommy, can we play this game…” Iris holds up one box. “Or this one?” I really cannot care less. I don’t even like games, but I smile nonetheless.
“We played that one yesterday and you lost twice and got angry.” I remind her.
“But now I know how it works….” She pouts a bit, knowing that will make me change my mind.
“Alright, that one then.” I decide and she starts looking for the dice. As I wait, one of the nurses comes up to me.
“The doctor has said that you can take her home.” She tells me and I let out of sigh of relief. A this point, I know Iris is alright.
The wound is healing fine, she’s in good spirit, she’s careful with lifting things and I have to be careful when putting on her clothes. But she’ll be alright.
“Iris, honey, we can go home.” I say and she cheers. She misses her cats so badly…
We quickly pack our belongings, Iris puts everything on her bed to make sure we will not forget something. I am so happy when we are in the parking-lot. Fresh air, the wind in my hair, it’s not longer raining, thank God.
“Look mom! A rainbow!” Iris says. Leave it to her to see the only rainbow that, barely visible, start to form over Rotterdam.
A month later, I leave for work. Tomorrow we have to go back to Rotterdam, for a check up on the operation and I’m worried. Not that there is any reason to be so. She’s doing fine. But I am still worried. And I know I’m being foolish. I am not the most religious person in the world.
God and I have a ‘postcard-at-Christmas’ kind of relationship, but now I need God. So, I lean back and pray.
“Please, let everything be alright tomorrow.” I ask. I make a turn to drive up the high-way that will lead me to my work.
Coming out of the curve I see before me the biggest, brightest rainbow I ever saw. Every color seems to be so vivid, so clear, so sparkly, that it takes my breath away, while at the same time I feel as if something cups me up and keeps me warm and protected. The feeling is glorious.
It is odd that none of my three colleagues, who drive the same way I do, ever saw the rainbow, whereas I cannot believe it could have been overlooked. It is only when driving back the next day, with the assurance that Iris is alright and doing great, that I make the connection.
If Iris, in Greek mythology, is indeed the messenger of the gods, then it’s only natural that God would send me a rainbow.