Yesterday our family had the opportunity to create special memories together. What I love most about our home care program is that they have so many resources. Resources that I have been desperate for until now. Early on when I spoke with their wonderful social worker I was so impressed with the kind of services that they want to offer our entire family, including the redheads. I was so thankful that they understood my need to really put them first in every decision we make for Mabel and for all of us.
They suggested a few activities that they could bring for us to do together and I chose hand print stones. What I'm learning is that families with sick children should not be the only families involving themselves in these kind of activities. It is special because of our circumstances, sure. But it would be in any situation I believe. Our children were excited and anxious to do something together that would be lasting. What was extra nice about it was that they brought it to me. There was little work involved.
The idea of having all of our hand prints together in one place that would dry and stay that way forever excited Nora! When asked what she wanted the stone to say she thought of this phrase,
"Love is in this home."
We waited several hours for the concrete to set. Late last night we finally gathered in the kitchen and let the kids create whatever they wanted to create.
Nora is so helpful with Mabel. She told daddy that 'we'd have to use her other hand since that one won't open all the way.' She was right. We used the other hand.
Mabel, shockingly, loved the way that it felt. This was after her nightly seizure meds so she was a little extra happy but it made for really great, calm moments.
I'm so proud of these big kids.
Nora and Braden have the greatest perspectives. They are able to be little and yet able to talk about really big, heavy things. We have kept an open dialogue and I believe they feel safe enough to talk to us about anything. Weeks go by when all we talk about is super heroes and princesses. And then there are days when talk of Heaven is real and often. All the while, I believe Daniel and I are doing a good job of giving them a healthy environment to share their thoughts, hearts and lives with us.
It's hard because Nora and Braden are going to go through things that most kids will never have to. Their lives are very different than most. But I don't think they realize that. I hope that we have structured enough of our life around them to help them feel normal.
What I know now, more than ever, is that this family is strong. We are bound by courage and acceptance. We have grown together; not just Daniel and I but with these kids. Our parenting has evolved and we are better. Our love for each other has deepened. Our adoration for the roles that we play in this unit has escalated. I am so thankful for these blessings in the midst of a journey that has been so very hard.
The kids went a little crazy with the glitter. We let them.
We let them do a lot these days. Having a sick child really helps put things in perspective. Again, I believe we're better parents because of it.
Daddy's hand has the red heart in the center because that's his favorite color.
Mommy's hand has the yellow heart. Nora's hand has a blue butterfly. Braden's hand has a blue heart.
And we all agreed that there was nothing more perfect than Mabel's hand having her yellow button.
To 'button' means to fasten or hold together.
This little girl does that.
So thankful for these opportunities to make memories and to be present with our children in the here and now. I will never forget doing this with them. They are so genuine and each moment was really sweet and special. There is always background chaos and I am still in love with it. Without it, we wouldn't be who we are. But more than ever I appreciate each part of each moment.
I hope they always know how greatly I'm trying to make this life uniquely theirs.
I hope they always feel how deeply they're loved.
In the summer time when I see this stone sitting among my freshly planted flowers I will remember the way that we have all grown together and bloomed in a time when we could have withered away.
What a special reminder for each of us.
-Special thanks to OSF home care for this moment and for your support through these hard days. I already know that I will be forever grateful for your love and kindness.