Some surgeries were simple procedures while others could be the difference between life and death. Even so, everyone in that room anxiously waited, silently prayed for what they hoped would be good news.
There was a young boy sitting quietly in one corner. Compared to the other children there that day, he was a perfect angel. He held a small box of crayons in one hand and a tablet in the other. Every so often he'd place the pad on his lap and scribble something. Perhaps it was an inspired moment that called upon the creative juices of a child that age, or maybe it was just boredom.
As the hours passed I began to see the room empty.
"Mr. Jacobs?" a doctor would announce.
There would be a sudden rush of family toward the door. Most times I could hear a sigh of relief upon hearing the words, "She's doing just fine" or "It was very successful!"
Remembering the moment years ago when the doctor came out to tell us my son had cancer, I shared in the grief of one family that day who heard similar news.
The rest of us in the room looked nervously, helplessly toward the parents as they cried. Shortly afterwards there was an odd silence.
"Daddy, when is Mommy coming home?" the young boy said.
"Tomorrow," his father replied.
The boy picked up his crayons and drew something on the tablet.
I watched him as he wiggled his feet back and forth, looking up at the ceiling and then out toward the sunshine-filled window.
"When's tomorrow, Daddy?" he asked.
His father called him over to sit by him.
"Come, sit here next to me," he said with a gentle tone in his voice.
Gathering his things, the little boy slid off of the couch and walked slowly to his father's side.
As a parent I live for these inspired moments between parent and child. Saying the right thing at just the right time helps to lay a foundation for the future. Not only does it impact the child but if the lesson is powerful enough, it can strengthen the bond of trust for years to come.
I'll be the first to admit I have often blown those chances. But, then again, I have a few that will stay with me forever.
The man reached out and held his son by his shoulders.
"There are three days in life. Yesterday, today and tomorrow. One is over and done, one we live in, the other we look forward to. We can't live in yesterday, but if we are happy enough today, we will be even happier tomorrow," he said in an attempt to satisfy the boy.
The little boy looked at him for a moment and said, "If Mommy is coming home tomorrow I'll be happier. So, I want it to be tomorrow already, Daddy."
Now hanging on every word of this conversation I leaned forward to hear his response.
It was perfect.
"Son, the one great thing about today is once it starts, it is already 'almost tomorrow.'
I thought about how profound that was. Even in my adult life, I still live waiting for what tomorrow may bring. Now I know that it is always "almost tomorrow."