Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Surgery Numero Three


So here we are.  Surgery number three.  I kinda hoped by this point we'd be pros at this.  Our skins would be thicker, we'd be braver.  More prepared for the stress.  But I guess, when it comes to surgery on your child, it is NEVER easy. For some reason this third surgery is bothering me more.  I guess I'm just drained at this point.  I've tried to hold it together each time (I don't know that I've been great at it, but I've tried!), and I guess I'm officially tired of trying.  Im just stressed, dangit.

Last night, of course, our power went out around 1am from a crazy storm outside.  So Charlie was up and I brought her to bed with me.  That was actually kind of a plus.  But the power never came back on and we found ourselves rushing to get all of our stuff packed and together in the dark, by candlelight.  Awesome.  Parking was a nightmare when we got here.  It took Joe an hour and a half to find a spot.  We had to wait 3 hours for Charlie to finally go back for surgery.  We're already fried and it's just the beginning.

But she's back in surgery now.  It's the beginning of the last (fingers crossed) major surgery for her.  And all of the craziness leading up to it will be a funny story years from now.  It's always those stories with bad thing after bad thing happening, that make the best stories to tell over Thanksgiving dinner: "...and just when it couldnt get any more stressful, the power goes out..."

Charlie bird is one brave toaster:

They're currently putting her right leg into her hip socket.  This will require them to shorten her femur, shave down the ball joint so that it will fit in the socket, and then attach a metal plate to help keep it in place.  Essentially the same process as last time.  This leg is a little more stubborn in movement so the doctor estimates that it will be well into the evening before he's done.  We're thinking about 8 hours.  Could be less, could be more.  Hopefully she won't have a fever like she did last time and we'll be heading home on Thursday.  Crossing all fingers and toes for that.

It's stressful and it's sad and we're on edge and are completely beside ourselves knowing we just sent our little girl off to have this painful procedure done...but...and there is a really great "but" here...this is the surgery that should get her up and walking.  Running, even.

As parents, we just do what it takes.  It's not about us anymore.  If its hard, if its tiring, if it feels like its just too much - oh well.  Suck it up.  Do what it takes. 

We'll always do what it takes for our little babies. 
Anything for a baby like this:


Last Easter was so tense for me.  The kids were still pretty young, Charlie still had colic, it was cold and rainy and we were still in that waking up to eat in the middle of the night phase. And while the kids are older, bigger, more balanced, I still had my apprehension about a big family Easter.  Would it be overwhelming?  How would we squeeze a nap in with all these people around?  What if we get there, they immediately have a melt down, and we have to leave? 

One of my favorite things about having kids is how much they surprise you.  Everyday with the surprises.  And Easter was one of the best surprise days.  They were perfection.  Played nicely, ate nicely, were super low maintanence.  Just enjoyed the back yard and the family time.  I couldn't have asked for a better day with my kids and my family.  And after the hard week my husband had the week before, it was nice the he had a day to just play  bag-o with my cousins in the backyard, without stress or concern.  I could see the tension in his shoulders start to release.  It was great.

I've always loved that I have the big, loving family that I do.  But I love it even more now that I know my kids will have that too.  The traditions will continue.  New life on Easter.  That's pretty perfect.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Can we talk?

Let's talk. I was watching the today show this morning while I ate breakfast. They were doing a story on a recent J. Crew ad. This is what it looks like:

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It's sweet right? A mother and her child just laughing while they spend time together. Except apparently there's a problem because that child is a boy and the mother is painting his toes. WHAT?! Have things gotten this bad? I honestly wouldve never noticed anything "weird" about this ad at all had they not run this story this morning. The Today show had a child specialist on and a mother of a 7 year old boy who likes to wear dresses. I really appreciated what the mother said about how at first she didn't want her son to wear dresses because she didn't want him to be teased. But then she said she realized it's not about her. Man, that's it, isn't it? I have been trying to focus on this fact for some time now. I want my kids to be happy and healthy. And I want them to be who they want to be.

But that's giving J. Crew a lot of credit isn't it. I love that they ran this ad. But I love it because it's just a cute family picture. I dont think it was an intentional social message. When did things get this way? I remember on one of my first dates with Joe he pointed out that his toes were painted because his 6 year old niece asked if she could paint them. It wasn't a social message Joe was trying to make by letting her do that. He was just having a fun moment with a 6 year old.

It's out of control. We're so worried about bullying (and rightfully so) that we're letting the pendulum swing the other way to this other extreme. Kids, stay still, don't move, and no one will notice you to pick on you. Those bully kids out there are being bullies because they are so uncomfortable with themselves and differences they have withother kids that they're actually angry. That's what they're pushed to.

Just focusing on the reasonable perameters of right and wrong seems to be a better way to go about it. It's simple. It leaves more time for enjoying things. Like painting your kids toes.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Let the sun shine

Despite the looming sadness that's hanging over us right now, I can't help but truly enjoy this day. I wish you were all at my house right now, drinking peach tea on our front porch and listening to the peace that surrounds our house. I think that's the word that encompasses this day the best - peace.

It's definitely spring around here and despite all those April showers we've already had, there have been some sunny days like you wouldn't believe. I finally cleaned our porch off really well so that the kids could get outside and play. Our pediatrician said we should start letting the babies work with crayons and chalk because they developmentally have the dexterity. As an artist, this excites me no end. I don't want to wish that time would speed up, but I'd be lying if I said I'm not at the absolute edge of my seat, waiting for the days when Charlie wants to make fairy wands and draw cards for her grandmothers. I can't wait for Davey to make treasure maps of the holes he dug in the yard to bury goodies and to make him super hero capes to fly around the house in. My parents were so generous in sharing their love of creating and exploring. I'm just so thankful I'll get to do the same with these little ankle bitters.

In the meantime, we're just making little scribbles on the porch and running with wobbly knees through the grass. I enjoy every grass stained pair of pants and every scraped knee. They're evidence that my kids are just living a kids life. They're right on track. Just let the sun shine in.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Monday, April 11, 2011

Uncle George

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David Aubrey George and his namesake, his Great Uncle George.

It's weird when people pass away, to me. Weird is a poor choice of words...let me explain. Death is tragic. No matter how you slice it. Expected, unexpected; a person you loved or a person you had a terrible relationship with - it's all pretty tragic.

Joe's beloved Uncle George passed away earlier this evening after a scheduled surgery. He was in recovery when things took a bad turn that ended with the worst. Uncle George was a man who's company I enjoyed only a few times in my almost two years of marriage to Joe. But in that handful of times, he made an overwhelming, instantaneous impression. Upon our first meeting he was, quite comfortably to me, my Uncle George. He was a man full of happiness and warmth like I've never seen and may never see again. I'm grateful for the all too brief glimpse of this great man.

About three weeks before the babies were born, Joe and I had a conversation driving home one night. He told me he wanted to name David after Uncle George. Uncle George and his wife, Aunt Donna, didn't have kids of their own. Uncle George always joked to Joe and his sister Beth that if they ever had children the boy should be named George and the girl, Georgina. It took no time at all for me to happily agree to add Uncle George's name to the name we'd already chosen for our baby boy. We were going to tell Uncle George at Christmas as part of his gift. Of course, Davey and Charlie came much sooner than that, but I don't think it mattered that it was Christmas or not. I think it meant the world to him on November 27th.

Davey is a happy, loving baby. A hugger by nature. It's hard to know if he'd be that way were he not named after someone with the same nature.

Death is weird. It's so incredibly heartbreaking. But here's the weirdest part about death: It's amazing at bringing people together. Since I heard this tragic news, my husband and I have exchanged some of the kindest words to each other, my sister in law and I have joked and laughed like we never have before, and I've felt like part of this family more than I already did. Death, like birth, brings us together. It makes us stop and take notice. The birth of David Aubrey George and sweet Charlie, made this same family stop and take stock in each other. My mother in law sat next to me on my hospital bed as she held the new baby with her dear brother's name. Charlie was named after her mother who we lost earlier that year. We never get too far in this family without something stopping us and making us say "I love you". For that we are richly blessed.

Charlie has her surgery first thing Friday morning. It's hard not to think, if you believe in that sort of thing, that god called on Uncle George to watch closely over our little bird. To make sure she's in the best care. Watched by one of his best angels. For that, I am most thankful. Thank you Uncle George, for protecting Charlie and for giving our Davey a name to live up to.

You are tremendously loved.