Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Link

For me, there has always been a link between my hands and my heart. And in this difficult year the connection has been deep and apparent to me. For most of the year I was literally locked up in the hospital with Miss E. Away from Hub, away from Miss N. We were a family split in half.

During this time I tried to find ways to connect with Miss N. I tried to keep a connection between us. I tried to let her know I was still here... still thinking about her and loving her. It was hard. It was bitterly hard. She hurt. I hurt. We all hurt. We have been free of hospital stays for four months now. But the scars are there. After our initial stay (34 days/nights) I would leave a card, a note, a drawing... a little present for Miss N at home in my dresser. If we ended up in the hospital more than a few days Hub would sneak it out onto her pillow while she was brushing her teeth. It was a way for me to be at home with her. For the first eight months Miss E was inpatient over 50% of the time. That is a lot of time to live apart. Miss N now carries every single one of these notes and drawings with her every time she parts from me even if only for a few hours. On one hand, I love that she does this. I totally get it. The small gifts are forgotten, but the things made with my hands, the words written from my heart, are treasured by her. On the other hand... it is heart wrenching. I know the scars she has. I know the fears she has. And the fact that she clings to these things so dearly exposes them.

During much of this time I would have her blanket with me. I started it before Miss E was diagnosed... but it proved to be the perfect timing. Most nights after work Hub would pick up Miss N and they would come up to visit at the hospital. If I had been working on the blanket, she noticed. She would light up. She would go home for the night with a smile on her face and say "Now don't forget to work more on my blanket!". It was a connection between the two of us even when we were apart.

Now, it's certainly not as flashy as the new Nintendo DS she got spoiled with today. But I know that she will treasure it. I know that it spoke love into her heart far more than any other gift can.

She has had quite a fifth year our Miss N. Just ten days in she became a sibling survivor. In her 5th year she faced issues most adults have yet to face. She grew an astounding 4-1/4 inches! (and is in the midst of another fierce growth spurt) She ate a ton... there were many comedic moments when we'd be offering ANYTHING to Miss E... begging her to eat... and in the background you could hear Miss N "I'll eat it! Can I have some?! Please?!". She learned to read. And she made us so very proud. Life handed her a lot. But she handled most of it with more grace and understanding than most adults do. On this her sixth birthday... my hope and prayer is for a year entirely different from the last. For her to have a year of just being a kid! I love you Miss N!

Monday, November 16, 2009

What I CAN do

We are fast approaching the year mark from the date of Miss E's diagnosis. From the first moment I knew her life was entirely out of my hands. I've done my best to walk along side her, to comfort her, to assess her constantly and get her help when she needs it. But there is always that desire to do more. And yet, most of the time it feels like my hands are tied. I can't simply eliminate bad foods from her diet or from something she is allergic to. She needs help that is so big and complicated I don't even understand most of it. That's a hard place for a parent. You want to be the one to fix everything, to make everything ok, to protect and shelter your child from any and everything that could harm them. And in this circumstance I really can not. I must place her firmly in Gods hands and pray that he would let us keep her just a little longer. I know in my head that that is really the case with both of my children. They are His, not mine. They are only mine to care for for a little while. Living with a child with cancer really makes you face the reality of that.

A little over a week ago I became obsessed with knitting her a pair of socks for her to wear to her procedures last week. Procedure day isn't fun. Miss E hates being sedated and I hate to watch. There is something so utterly unnatural about it... it just goes against the grain of my being. Unfortunately it's a regular part of her treatment. So much so that I have lost count of the number of times we've been in that room. At a certain point I realized I'd sort of crossed the lines of sanity with the sock obsession. It doesn't take long to knit her a pair of socks, she has tiny feet. But my desire to have them done before procedure day was a little too fiery. I then realized that something inside of me felt like if I could do this, it would make us both feel better. That somehow having these socks on her feet would make me feel like I was able to do something to make her feel more at ease. And she adores her 'mommy socks'. She's always gotten cold but now is much more likely to do so. I think she loves her 'mommy socks' because they're all made of wool and keep her chilly feet warm. (Miss N on the other hand... strips off all her clothes any chance she gets. She is seriously hot blooded!) So knit away I did... and when I mentioned my crazy thinking that somehow these socks would make procedure day better for both of us my husband said "It will.". God bless him. He gets it.

I've finished up several other knits... much more interesting knitting-wise, but less attached to my heart... lace ribbon scarf for me, handspun baby sweater with some of my very earliest yarn, more socks for E, and another Nancy Bush pattern - this time for Hub. Miss N's blanket is also done... just two more days until I can give it to her! That project and it's recipient deserve their own post.