[Donald brought Elisabeth in to give me goodbye snuggles before her school bus arrived.]
I've been so, so sick. The kind of sick where you are quite sure you aren't going to survive; running a temperature, endless vomiting.
And at the most inopportune time. I have a concert to perform in on Saturday night and I really need to be at rehearsals. But there shall be no rehearsing. At least not tonight. Perhaps with a little luck I will be back to my normal self tomorrow.
The girls recently came home with a jar full of tadpoles that they collected from a nearby pond. After several days on my kitchen counter it became apparent that they were going to need a more suitable place to live. So Donald made a small pond in the back corner of our yard to transfer them to.
How excited Alexandra and Lorelai were to release the tadpoles into their new home!
Mother's Day at our house was spent teaching the children the fine art of playing Monopoly. They took an immediate liking and understanding to it (my children have a deep love of money).
It's a good thing that the weather is warm now and that we can eat our meals outdoors...because I have a feeling that my kitchen table is going to be occupied with the Monopoly board for quite some time.
(You know how these games can go on and on and on...)
What an honor it is to mother them each and every day.
And to my own mother...
I wish you a warm, sunny, and happy day. Thank you for all that you have given me in life. As I raise my own children I reflect back on the way in which you raised me and try to follow in your footsteps.
Soon she will share it with our new little one. It was easy to decide that they would share - Lorelai has the largest bedroom + she is closest in age to the new little one. (I can't wait until the day that I am legally allowed to share her name. But for now she just has to be known as the new little one.)
Anyways, I have been brainstorming all week as to the transformation that I want to make happen; online shopping and using a decorating app to try different furniture placement possibilities. I think I finally have the complete vision in my head. Now to turn it into a reality! She still won't be here for a while, but I want to bring photographs of her new room to leave with her on our first trip to Ethiopia. I want her to see her home, see her room, know that there is a little place on the other side of the world that is ready and waiting to welcome her.
But first things first. I need to sell that bed up there. Any takers?
It's May the 9th. It just occurred to me that April 24th came and went and I didn't give thought to the significance it held - the day in 2007 that we heard the word hydrocephalus for the first time; the day our lives changed.
For the first five years I thought about that day often and would watch the calendar as it would creep closer and closer. And then when the day would arrive I would ceremoniously reflect back on the journey that we have been on thus far. The challenges, the joys, the things we have learned, the people we have met.
There is no doubt that April 24th, 2007 was one of the most significant days in my life. Which is why I am shocked that it passed unnoticed. In my mind, I had considered that a date like unto a birthday or anniversary...one that could never be forgotten...yet it was.
So, while my initial instinct was sadness that I forgot to recognize
such an important date, I quickly realized that it's a good thing. It means that I am moving on. Hydrocephalus has definitely changed our lives, but it does not define our lives. We don't let it consume our every thought and action. Indeed, hydrocephalus and the consequential handicaps that accompanied it (cortical blindness, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, etc...) have become a normal part of everyday life. We don't dwell on them, we just deal with them.
And Elisabeth...well, she is just Elisabeth. When I look at her I don't see her handicaps...I just see her. I forget at times that she differs from others. The fact that she can't see or walk or talk or even eat, it doesn't matter. Those are just details. What matters is her sweet and lovely spirit. What matters is the joy and love that shines from her. What matters is that she is here and she is living and she is happy.
And that is why I have moved on.
My thoughts and words on the first five anniversaries:
Some of my happiest moments come when I am playing piano and listening to Alexandra sing. On Sunday, she and I were doing a little arrangement of Moon River, which - in my opinion - is one of the most beautiful songs ever written.
P.s. Please pardon my bobble there towards the end.
P.p.s. Bobble is another word for mistake, but sounds so much more pleasant.
I didn't make a mistake...twas just a bobble!
(Because coordinating the hitting-of-the-record-button with the beginning-of-the-song is more complicated than you think.)
To be perfectly honest, I never thought it would work. The new back brace, that is. Truth be told, the surgeon didn't think it would work either. It simply wasn't likely that Elisabeth would tolerate her new brace. Nor was it likely that she would learn to find balance in it; to be able to sit upright and play.
But over the past month Elisabeth has started growing more accustom to being braced up. She doesn't cry when we put it on her and she can - in fact - sit up and play with toys.
With her spine at a 75 degree curve, and still five years away from being able to surgically correct it, this back brace was really our only option. If she didn't tolerate it Elisabeth's spine would continue to fall over and her vital organs would be threatened.
Needless to say...I am over the moon. Elisabeth is such a trooper and I am so very proud of her.
When Alexandra saw this picture she started laughing. She said it looks like Elisabeth is at a Justin Bieber concert, looking up at the stage and saying, "Touch my hand, touch my hand!"
[This is what I look like at 1/3-of-a-century-old.]
Yesterday I hit a milestone:
1/3 of a century old.
That is 33.33333333 years.
In my mailbox was a card from my mom,
"Happy 1/3 of a century!"she wrote.
Is she not the best?!
I feel pretty good about this first third; I feel like I've accomplished quite a bit. Especially considering the fact that the first half of my fist third was simply spent growing up!
Now it's time to start on the next third. That'll take me up to 66.66667. Which will be in September of 2046.
A few things to do between now and then:
~ Finish raising my children.
~ Start writing professionally.
~ Buy a cello.
~ Return to Salzburg.
I think I can get those things done in the next 33 years...don't you?
p.s. It seems like yesterday that I wrote my 30th birthday post and wondered what the decade ahead of me would bring. And now I realize that not only am I 1/3 of the way through a century, but I am 1/3 of the way through this fourth decade of mine...already! Holy smokes!