Long ago there was a girl and a boy. They had no food and money. They asked people. They tried to understand them, but it didn't work. Sara said why? Jack said well Sara, maybe it's because of our clothes. That must be it! But how can we get clothes? Well we can disguise as grownups. But how said Jack. Maybe we can go to the lost treasure. Well how can we do that? I know how to get there. Oh no I don't like that look on you. Come on maybe we can find treasure! How? I know someone that can help us. Maybe that person can help us. She said, come on Scaredy Cat.
Clearly I am not the best at keeping this blog updated anymore. It's been a good year for our immediate family. The big kids started at a new school where they have thrived, while Paul and I both took on new jobs that have been positive moves for us and our family.
As you can tell, I acquired a bit of writer's block sometime last summer. We moved, life marched ahead, my blogging fell behind, and suddenly I didn't even know where or how to start again. I thought about writing some sort of ending for the blog and officially announcing that I was done with it. However, there were two big reasons that I put off doing that. Most importantly, Atticus and Norah are now old enough that they love looking at blog posts from when they were babies and they've made it clear they like the record I've been keeping. Additionally, both of the grandparents I grew up knowing developed dementia in their later years. I can't help feeling like I should write down memories just in case.
In some ways this year for us has been a lesson in Murphy's Law. We had two sales of our old house fall through within days of closing. Someone broke into the old house and gutted the air conditioner and copper plumbing. The refrigerator at the new house leaked water through the basement ceiling resulting in another home owner's insurance deductible before later dying altogether and needing to be replaced. There were several thousand dollars worth of car repairs needed. The garbage disposal died and its removal revealed that the wiring and plumbing in that part of the kitchen (which had been concealed by the disposal and dishwasher) both needed to be replaced. My teaching job has been particularly challenging this year. Norah had to have her tonsils removed. The snowblower died midway through the longest, coldest, snowiest winter we've seen in 35 years.
The final kicker in this string of inconveniences was that I somehow acquired sepsis in February. I went to sleep on Wednesday, February 12th feeling perfectly healthy and woke up on the 13th with abdominal pain bad enough that my doctor sent me to the emergency room where I was monitored and discharged. Paul and I returned to the doctor the next day where I was diagnosed with a virus in my abdominal lymph nodes ("nothing to worry about") and sent home. I spent a painful weekend in bed and returned to the doctor on Monday. That doctor took a look at me and directed us back the ER where they discovered my blood pressure to be forty-five over something, my kidneys shut down, my heart started to fail, and I spent the next eight days in a coma in the ICU. Surprise! What a long, strange trip it's been.
There were several days during my coma that the doctors weren't sure I would make it. As the person who got to sleep through this, it's completely surreal to contemplate. I'm grateful NOT to be among the dead. It takes my breath away to think about what could have happened. Out of the wreckage of this terror there are so many things to be thankful for. I had a husband and parents who stayed at my bedside around the clock. My heroic mother-in-law hosted the kids at her house overnight for nearly two weeks and kept their routine so beautifully that they, my children who all have histories that include early childhood trauma, emerged as unscathed as anyone could possibly hope. Coworkers picked up the slack and let me off the hook at work. I had friends who emailed me or sent letters to me daily while I was in a coma. People we hardly know sent offers of help and good wishes. Friends arrived to clean the house before my return. There were cards, texts, Facebook messages, emails, casseroles, twelve-pound hams, visits, lengthy phone conversations, flowers, and other countless ways that people let us know we are loved and not alone.
I've been back from the dead now for a little over a month - time that has flown by while I've been on leave from work, administering IV antibiotics to myself, and submitting to lots of tests as the doctors attempt to figure out why I contracted sepsis in the first place. Many of them have told us that we may never know, but that hasn't stopped them from trying. Overall, I'm gobsmacked by how fortunate I've been. I love my husband, children, family, and friends so much and I know I'm lucky to have more time with them.
My baby turned three last week and the word tenacious was made to describe her:
readily letting go of, giving up, or separated from an object that one
holds, a position, or a principle: "a tenacious grip".
Not easily dispelled or discouraged; persisting in existence or in a course of action: "a tenacious legend".
This little girl possesses the strongest spirit. Those who know our children can attest that the others are no wallflowers and certainly have their own convictions. Miss Zelda Tiruye is in a league of her own, however, and how we all love her. Her ability to persevere in the face of discouragement will serve her well as she grows into a confident young woman. One of the most endearing aspects of Tiruye is her insistence on getting the cuddles and care that she needs. I often think she's taken it upon herself to make up for all the bonding and affection she missed out on during her months of institutional care. She has the entire family wrapped around her tiny little finger and I'm delighted that the baby of our family is so dedicated to getting rocked and held as much as possible.
Tiruye loves playing Mommy and Daddy with Tegegn. She adores her baby dolls and any real babies we come across. She thinks her older siblings are awesome. She likes to pretend to steal peoples' noses and eat them. She is completely and utterly enamored with the youngest Peep-Eye kiddo and has asked for her room to be decorated with pictures of A. She has taken to swimming lessons with great joy and fearlessness.
Tiruye, our sweet baby, you and Atticus form the perfect bookends of our family with your twinned iron wills and hearts of gold. We love you so much and our lives are better because of your presence. Thanks for being in our family, little girl!
[NB: Please note that I can't take the credit for either of the cakes pictured above. The awesome squid was made by my sister-in-law to celebrate Tiruye and her cousin's shared birthday and the ladybug cake was made by Mama Peep-Eye for her own new three-year-old. That didn't stop Tiruye from blowing out the candles on A's cake though.]