And then, while I am missing my love and my angels are fast asleep, I start looking back at pictures.
Jesse’s new big girl bed…or as she calls it, her “princess bed”. How excited I am about this stage in life and just imagining her sitting there…eventually with a telephone in hand and chatting with her girls. Giggle and laughter coming from her room while I remind her to finish her homework for sure.
How much she is growing and how every day I see more and more of my Mom in her. Looks and personality. All of it. Realizing she is with me after all.
How much excitement she gets from a simple trip to the ice cream shop.
When Jonah was a baby, I had a conversation with a lady I will never forget. She was a wonderful lady on the management team at his daycare. But, before I go into that...I should give you a little bit of background.
Jonah was a good baby...and I'm not just saying that. He went through a lot though. At one point he was very, very sick. Just after he turned one...just when he should be walking...that's when we realized. One morning, he wouldn't sit up in his crib. He was in so much pain. My poor baby. We just couldn't figure it out...doctor after doctor...he hadn't been feeling well for a while. Finally, we found a doctor who would listen. I remember standing in her office with him with tears in my eyes. It's not his stomach! Something is wrong! He will not sit up anymore! It took her seconds to examine him, determine he wouldn’t put wait on his legs and then, agree with me. She looked at me with an expression I will not ever forget as long as I live. She said there can be a number of things that could be causing this. She said, but I need to rule something out. She said she wanted me to go home and gather a few things and she would call me with instructions. And she did, she called me not long after we got home. She said she spoke with Scottish Rite and she wanted me to take Jonah immediately for an emergency MRI. I still do not know how she swung that one. Even the radiologists there were surprised when we walked in with a same day appointment.
Dr. Fearing...that's her name. She said that we needed to rule out the possibility of a tumor on his spine. That word. She said that word. It literally took the breath out of me. For a moment, I was paralyzed. Then, my eyes were flooded. My love rushed home and we got our selves together and left.
To accomplish the MRI, they had to put our little boy to sleep. I get the need. But, this added to the fear of what he may have was nearly unbearable. It was one of the worst moments of my life.
Then, we had to leave the room. We waited in an isolated recovery room. Just the two of us. Just waiting. Scared out of our minds. Then, a nurse or tech leaned his head in and said the Radiologist would like to speak to us. What? Is this normal? Why? Where is my baby? I followed my love....or actually, I held on to him as he sort of carried me to the telephone behind him. He picked up. I stared at his face. I couldn't breathe...please, please don't say it. Please don't say it!
My love hung up the phone and held me and told me what was wrong. What Jonah has is not very common. He might need surgery. It will take time to heal. But he will be OK. He will be OK. Then, the relief tears. Very hard relief tears.
Breathe. Oh thank you God. Thank you God.
He had what is called Osteomyelitis. One of those...what the hell is that ha? To define it briefly, he had an infection that was eating away the base of his spine. We will never know how he got it. Maybe a staph infection that set up shop there? We will never know for sure.
He was in the hospital for a while. He had a picc line placed in his chest...a central catheter leading to his heart. Tubes running everywhere. They were pumping some heavy duty antibiotics and meds in him to fight the infection. Then, here come the bone doctors...the pediatric orthopedic surgeons. They were great. More tests. Then, more happy relief. He doesn't need surgery. The antibiotics are working!
But we took him home with that picc line in his chest. We had home health care. Nurses coming in. I gave him antibiotics through a syringe directly into his picc line...directly to his heart. We became our very own children's hospital.
Wow, I still can't believe all this happened. But something came over me when they said he was going to be OK. Then, I could do anything. All the sudden, I wasn't an engineer, I was a nurse. A strong nurse. I knew it all. I took a month off of work...or longer? It was a long time I know that. I barely left his side. My love and I probably held him for a month straight.
And we continued to see our bone doctors for several years to monitor his progress. X-rays periodically. And at each visit, his spine was simply growing back. Amazing. Proof of a miracle in progress.
Soon, he was running and jumping and playing. And I cannot tell you how incredible it was to see some of his first steps. Its one thing to watch your child walk for the first time, but compound it with all this. It's just a damn miracle.
The bone doctors let us go. We are done with all that. Haven't been for a while. He's 100%. You would never ever know. Like it never happened. And he will not have a single memory of it. And I am so glad. But, I do want him to know about this when he is older. I want him to know what a miracle he is. I want him to know that there were angels all around him. Protecting him. Healing him. And I do know this for sure. A friend of mine helped confirm this.
This leads me back to my friend at the daycare. She's the one that helped me see it for sure. She confirmed something that I saw so often and never told anyone but my love. See, when Jonah was a baby, he looked away from me a lot. He would look up at corners of my bedroom and laugh. Just giggle and smile and well, get cracked up. He did this all the time. I always asked him what he was looking at. At times, I thought about my Mama...but no way right?
Then one day, I went to pick up Jonah after work. I can't even remember if it was before or after the Osteomyelitis. A lady…no, I should say my friend, who knew us from there, but none of our background history, came up to me. She said something like, "I don't want to sound crazy, but I just have to tell you this." I said, of course. Please tell me. She continued, "I've noticed that Jonah seems to look away from us and smile and laugh and we usually can't figure out at what." She said, "I know it sounds crazy, but I feel like someone is with him."
I will never forget this moment for as long as I live. I looked at her and it hit me like a brick. That feeling in my gut. Then, I started working really hard to hold back tears. She didn't know anything, and she noticed too. With tears in my eyes, I looked at her and said, "I know. It's my mother." She simply smiled. Confirmation. She knew it.
It was a great moment. Her name is Robin. My sweet, perceptive friend. I will never forget her for that. She was wonderful and a good example of what a tremendous daycare it was.
But it wasn't just Mama. See, my love's amazing grandmother passed the day I went into labor with Jonah. We missed her funeral. We were so sad. So many mixed emotions. She was a tremendous woman as well. You know what's funny? She worked with my Mom at the hospital in the small town we grew up in. Amazing ha? My mother loved her. Mom had parties often and invited her friends from work. She was into that. I will never forget the time my love's grandmother told me that one night, when I was little, she was at my house for one of these parties. She told me that she put me to bed that night, actually tucked me in. Little did she know that I would one day marry her grandson. I love that she told me this. I don't remember that night, but I can just picture it in my mind. She was so loving to me. I can just picture her tucking me in and telling me goodnight. I do miss her so very much.
Angels...more than one. All around my Jonah. He had angels. He had my Mama and his Great Grandmother for sure and maybe more. He had angels walking amongst us like Dr. Fearing and Robin. How wonderful is that?
So, that's one more chapter in our blessed life. I used to think...why does everything happen to me…to us? Why? You name it; we've seemed to have been through it. But now, I realize that it's all just to make me appreciate everything even more. Soak it all in. Hold them so much tighter. What if this is our last day? Don't let it just pass us by. Don't ever just let it pass us by. And don’t ever forget to tell them you love them.
The stars shine for you…my sweet Jonah. You are such a special gift from above. You should always know I love you so…so much.
And how else do we celebrate her birthday but simply, Mexican and Margaritas. That works for anything. Of course, she deserves so much more, but this we can do. We had a fabulous night celebrating with her.
And Jesse got to sing to her 10 times at least. Funny how for every celebration we have to continue relighting candles so she can “do it again”. Ok Jesse.
And there were 16 candles. Perfect. Happy Birthday Aunt Kelly. We love you.
I've been waiting, patiently. Waiting for the moment to whisk Jonah away and introduce him to the story. He's seen part of the old one, but this new one will probably do it for him. I really wonder if it will impact him in a way it did me? He's sort of young, probably not. But I've already said this entire experience was probably more for me, didn't I?
Sunday, 1:00, we'll be there. There we were. Jonah notices the poster, "There it is!" Yeah! He's into it. I can't wait. Get to the window and it was like...well, like rain on an outdoor birthday party. "I'm sorry Mam, the reel is broken. Karate Kid will not be playing today." Blank stare. What? No freaking way, right? Then she continued, "You can choose from any of these for free...Despicable Me, The Last Airbender, etc." I decided at that moment to let go. Let go of Karate Kid for now and just ask Jonah...ok, I can do this. "Jonah, would you like to see one of these instead?" "No mama, I want to see Karate Kid!" That's my boy. Silent cheer on the inside. Backup plan in action. And yes, this is how I think. Right now, I'm just re-thinking out loud...on paper...whatever this is!
Hello iPhone. See, this is the good thing about living outside of a big city. Every little town on the way in has a movie theater.
Finally! We are loaded with Popcorn, Hershey's chocolate, Skittles, Diet Coke and Water. We are the first ones there. So cool! We get to practice karate moves while Jonah picks out a seat. And he did, the very top. Ok, wherever you want. Secretly thankful he didn't pick the front row.
And I will never forget this moment with Jonah for as long as I live. Because he totally got it. And he walked out doing more Kung Fu and asking when we could buy it. Oh honey, as soon as it comes out, as soon as it comes out. In the mean time, we'll find the one I loved when I was little.
Jackie Chan was incredible, beautiful. And he said this and it hit me hard. That good kind of hard. I get it. Gave me chills. And yes, more tears.
"Life will knock you down, but you can choose whether or not to get back up."
Oh good grief, I need to stop. Just go see it...it you like this sort of thing.
Rewind a little bit...She came to visit and brought one of her own little angels with her, Ansley. And it was like old times. And watching our children play together was the absolute best.
And MY best friend was the coolest too. Not only was she gorgeous and popular, but so damn funny and genuine. So, I latched on and loved to make her laugh. She is so much a part of me...a part of who I've become. And I will always be thankful to her.
Now a days, we differ a little. I love that child in her still. The child that would rather have a bowl of ice cream than a glass of wine. And yes, we have a difference here. There is always a time for ice cream...and there is always a time for wine...my dear friend.
And then there's this. I remember how it took her seconds to be at my house on that April day. I don't know who called her. I just know it took her seconds. I remember sitting in the room...holding her hand. I couldn't let go. I knew I would never see her again. I didn't want to let go. And then I looked up and there she was. My best friend standing in the doorway to my Mama's bedroom. And she kneeled with me and we cried and she helped me...she helped me let go.
It's hard going back there. Hurts all over again. But now I can understand how beautiful it was. I think I do.
And we continued living. And then having babies. Trips to the beach and even
And Ansley, I'm so in love with her. Because she is her Mama and I'm going to get to see her grow up all over again.
And that's really cool.