Sunday, November 18, 2012

Thanksgiving. . . with a slight revision.

We are approaching Thanksgiving and you can read the posts on FaceBook listing all the things different people are thankful for and the great things in their lives they are blessed with.  Some, are minor yet life fulfilling, such a love of a pet or a winning sports team.  Others are more profound and life altering, like cancer is still in remission, one more holiday with a family member.  No one item is more important than another, as all make us who we are and influence our lives, thus warrant acknowledgement.  In that light, I felt it was appropriate to shine some light on our blessings, please remember these are not trivial or to be taken lightly for our family, as they really are true blessings. . .

1. Our daughter, Annette, has proven beyond a doubt that she is happy and well living on her own.  My heart is both relieved and sad that we seem to have successfully fostered a sense of independence and one hell of a "I can do it!" attitude in our eldest.  She truly is an inspiration and could teach many an able-bodied young person out there a thing or two about how to persist, in the darkest of times and when everyone around you is saying "you can't"; she proves you most certainly "can". We give thanks for Annette's example in living life to it's fullest.

2.  Our youngest son, Sergio, is still with us.  This blessing can't be understated.  This exact time last year we brought our baby home on an unprecedented 3 IV anti-fungals to combat the evil thriving in his body despite the best efforts of modern medicine.  We were warned, this is not a cure, hell, it's not even a Band-Aid.  There was no hope from the medical field that we'd make it more than a few weeks before the yeast figured out a way to beat the meds.  But. . . that never happened.  Sergio has only been inpatient once in the entire past year.  He is thriving.  In fact, we have even started feeding him via his J-tube!!  With persistence and patience We hope to wean him down off of his TPN.  He is inquisitive, comedic and very much alive.   So we give enormous thanks for Sergio still being with us. 

3.  Our youngest, daughter, Marriela is growing and has had far more stable days than unstable.   Her days of needing a full restraint in school are fewer now than ever before.  We are profoundly grateful for the staff that love her and want her to succeed.  She is a challenge, but has made us better parents, more patient parents and more supportive parents than we would have ever been without her.  We are thankful for amazing teachers and the lessons she teaches us.  She has a heart full of love that gets muddied by her "swiss cheese" brain (as she refers to it) that makes it hard for her to remain in full control, but is devastated by her actions afterwards.  We are thankful that we were honored with task of being her parents.   We accept it with whole heartedly!
4.  Our eldest son, Joshua, has made it to 17 years old.  In his lifetime he has suffered from illnesses since his birth, then conquered a brain tumor he shouldn't have beat, has had thousands seizures and taken meds that have both helped and poisoned him.  He has undergone 4 major brain surgeries and still receives high doses of IV meds to help him not succumb to the awful effects of seizures.  However, he has no idea he has done all of this and so much more.  He's a happy, easygoing, sports loving, family dedicated child.  He's our forever 7 year old in an aging body.  And for this we are so very grateful.  If he had any inclination of his true situation, I don't know how he, nor we would be able to help him live life with joy.  But, it's effortless with his sweet innocence.  We worry for him, and he even makes that easy.  So with grateful hearts we embrace Joshua's cognitive deficits, as it is allowing him to live a happy, fulfilling life. 

5. One of our middle sons, Trayvon, I now just 3 months shy of his one year anniversary of his heart transplant.  So many blessings are wrapped into this event and this child.  He is creative, funny and forever sweet.  He has surpassed all expectations of those who provided him this life altering event.  Despite some emotional difficulties adjusting to his new "healthy" life, he has been an inspiration to so many.  We are profoundly honored to be his parents and hope one day he truly understands the amazingness of being who he is.  With are eternally grateful for modern medicine and the remarkable gift another family gave our family.   May they know how very blessed we are because of them.

6.  Our other middle son, Cody provides us with our daily infusion of craziness and normalcy.  Cody is thriving and has truly come into his own personality.  He is sensitive and kind to a fault.  He feels the pain of others and this can come with some heart wrenching life lessons.  But, he is also infectiously sweet, kind, and polite (or so his teachers tell me :-) ).  We are thankful to have the joy of raising a child with so much potential and desire to be great.   It's been very difficult to accept the fate of our other children in regards to their potential in life as independent adults.  .  . but not with Cody.  We are sitting back and watching how childhood should have looked like for all of them.  Thanks is not a strong enough word. 

 So we enter the new year with so much to be thankful for.  The world is a big scary place, but with our children around us, we are grounded and know our purpose.  I have no fear that we will survive many more Thanksgivings and will have our 6 amazing kids to thank for it. 

I felt as though I had left out some very important things that needed to be mentioned.  There are so many things to be thankful that sometimes the most obvious ones are the ones we miss.  So. . . .here is my list of those that I failed the first time to properly pay homage to.

1.  Our nurses.  Throughout our lives together, Peter and I have worked with nurses from all walks of life who come together for the common goal of helping our children, not just survive, but thrive.  Nettie had some amazing nurses in her lifetime when she was getting nursing.  Joshua was saved numerous times thanks to the ever observant nurses in the PICU.  And Sergio is cared for like a family member by his nurses.  We are thankful for them all.

2.  Our friends.  Both Peter and I have some crazy ass friends.  They make us laugh, they make us cry and all the emotions in between.  Peter and I can pick up the phone and feel like we only saw the friend the day before when, in reality, it's been years.  We are thankful for our new friends who understand where we have come from and never doubt where we are going. 

3.  Our family.  Without them we wouldn't even be here.  My dad is gone 3 years now.  Peter's mom, 6 years.  I miss them both every single day.  We are blessed to have family to call our own.  It's a blessing so many are not able to say that.  That's an awesome blessing. 

Well, I think that's it for now. 
Hugs to all and Happy Thanksgiving.