Friday, December 26, 2008

The Year

I've never been a very consistent journal writer. I've abandoned at least a dozen leather-bound beauties over the years. In fact, this blog is as close as I've come to having something tangible (is cyberspace tangible?) to look back on as some sort of personal chronicle. And as this time of year does, my chronicle is begging for a "best of" look back at 2008.

As I think back on the way my life, our lives, have changed over the past year, the me of just a year ago seems almost unrecognizable. Here's what I consider my top life-changing days of the past year:

January 19, 2008: Ran my fastest half-marathon time! What a fun race--great friends, gorgeous sunshine, fast feet. That day set a standard for what my body can do and how good I can feel. Note for 2009: Get there again.

April 8, 2008: We learn about McKay's heart. There is nothing that can prepare you for the way a new baby changes your life. And I don't think it matters if it's new baby number one, two, three, or more--they all bring magic of their own. Unsure whether or not this would be Ty's last opportunity to "meet" a sibling via ultrasound, we took him to our 20-week peek at McKay (not yet then named, of course). As the room got far too quiet and the technician spent far too long looking at McKay's heart, the only thing that helped me keep it together in that initial panic was Ty. His sweet face and many, many questions helped to keep his mom aware that now was not the time to lose it. Be calm I kept telling myself. It's all going to work out. Just be calm.

I remember shaking as I tried to dial my girlfriend who was watching Preston and asking her if Matt could run Ty over so we could meet with the doctor to get a clearer scoop on the reality and gravity of the situation. As good friends do, she said of course and told me to breathe. Good advice. I smiled at Ty as he and dad trotted to the car. Of the whole ordeal that morning, I pray he will only remember the words, "It's another brother!" He was so excited.

April 24, 2008: Preston goes in for wrist surgery. As our first experience at having to turn your child over to another person and trust them with their medical well being, it was a bit traumatic! Of course, looking back this seemed to have been the warm up act for our relationship with Primary Children's Hospital and meeting out of pocket expenses. Preston's minor, outpatient cyst removal came before we truly understood the gravity of McKay's situation. I remember walking Preston out to the car and saying to Matt, "Let's never come back here for real, okay?"

May 21, 2008: We found Lu. Our hunger for details about McKay's condition was nearly insatiable at first. We Googled, we referenced, we interviewed any and all medical professionals we knew. We wanted to find, hear, read the words, "Everything will be fine." We never did. But we did find little Luna and her amazing momma.

I felt hope wash over me and spill into our life in steady waves when I found little Luna's blog. Despite the rarity of the combination of McKay's conditions, we discovered he was not alone on the planet. That was HUGE for me. Someone had seen this before. Someone had blazed a trail. Someone was holding a baby that looked as right as rain despite it all.

Luna and her mom have been kind enough to humor our questions, pray, and cheer us through McKay's delivery and all that's followed. Kind enough to tell us that no matter what the doctors said these babies can be nursed, enjoy being cuddled, grow, and lead fairly normal lives. Kind enough to create a vision of health and happiness despite all that we were being prepared for and shown otherwise. Oh how I craved those early emails. Thank you, thank you, thank you Lu & Co. You have become the best we've-never-met-you-but-adore-you friends we will ever know. Note for 2009: Correct the never met you part.

August 20, 2008: McKay makes a memorable debut. I could write so much about the events of this day. But honestly, there are things so sacred about this experience that I must keep them to myself now and always. McKay, just know that I am honored to be your mother and would have given anything to have traded places with you in those early hours, today, and always. I can't take this trial away, but I can help you carry it. I will always help you carry it.

August 25, 2008: Ty starts kindergarten. You were so ready for this day, Ty. I know I cried just this morning as I helped get you dressed, but you're getting so big, so quickly. Slow down just a bit for me, okay? You are a force in this world. A small, powerful little ray of sunshine ready to spread your light a little further everyday. I am amazed by your focus and your progress. I cannot wait to see what you'll do next. Thanks for giving me a front row seat as you reveal pockets full of possibilities.

October 27, 2008: Darling baby Cooper returns to our Heavenly Father. As we watched Matt's cousin Cassie and her sweet husband say goodbye to their little fighter we felt the mortality of our situation return. These little guys are so strong, but so much can go so terribly wrong. Cassie and Tyson seem to be finding their way through it all. We just spoke again last week after a silence that lasted far too long. We talked about how the world looks different now. How this experience changes you. How there is never the right thing to say, but how you need people to just say something. I love you Cassie.

November 24, 2008: Preparing for the Glenn. This may have been the longest night of my life. I have never felt such heaviness. I watched you sleep this night McKay and prayed God would let me bring you home again. I wanted to prepare you, to warn you, to say I'm sorry--I'm so very, very sorry. But you would have none of it. Even in the near darkness of your room I could see and feel you smiling at me. You and your brave little soul breezed through surgery the next day and we were home within the week. And you were just so matter of fact about it. God is merciful and you are a miracle.

December 16, 2008: Celebrated ten years with my split apart. My feelings on this subject have been chronicled fairly recently, so no need to rehash how unbelievably blessed I am to have the most patient, most loving, most amazing father, husband, and friend as my eternal partner. No need to tell him how much his love means to me and our boys. No, definitely no need for that. :)

December 25, 2008: A day of gratitude. For all the triumph and trauma of the past 12 months, we were together, awesome in love and number, and we were happy. I have a house full of noise, crowded with toys, and overflowing with blessings. McKay has found his voice this month and chimes in with a laugh-inducing stream of babble that melts hearts. Another talker! What will I do? Oh well. Silence is overrated. Note for 2009: Let the wild rumpus continue.


Sabrina said...

Ohhhhhh Mindi, what can I say? I am crying! These are good tears though. You actually just gave me an idea for the book...will e-mail you on FB about it. All I can say is, wow, just don't know what to say. Maybe a simple 'thanks' will do:)

brees said...

Thank you for sharing a little piece of your life with us. As always, you continue to amaze me with your spirit, attitude and love!

Jenny said...

This brought tears to my eyes. I really can't imagine what the night before the surgery was like for you. I am so glad McKay is doing so well. You deserve many peace filled nights! Thanks for lifting me all of the time.