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!