January is birthday mania around here. Moise kicks it off in late December, followed by Jade on the sixth, Grant and Brock on the 20th and today is sweet Laynee's special day. No, the boy's birthday is not a typo. They were born on the same day, four years apart. Almost without fail, when I fill out documents for insurance or taxes or whoever else needs to know all the details of the family, someone will say, "I think you made a mistake on the birthdates. You listed two boys with the same date." And always, because birthdates usually don't change, I say, "No mistake. They share a birthday."
We celebrated birthdays simple style. Favorite meals, cake or, in Jade's case, a big cookie, a few gifts, breakfast out and waa laa.......birthday month is done. Everyone is older and more grown up. Jade decided that 19 isn't all that exciting. Suddenly I have a 21 year old son that was born, just yesterday, I think. And 17? 17 is so old when it's the last baby that came from your womb. That same baby has a job now and he had to work the evening of his birthday. I'm fairly certain this bothered me a whole lot more than it bothered him.
I visited Laynee's grave today. I cleaned up leaves and debris that had been blown in by winter's winds. Her grave is adorned with purples and pinks and all things girl. I stood there for a long time, just looking. Disbelieving. Six times we've celebrated her birthday without her. My heart can't fully grasp this. I made a cake and Jim lit her "8" candle. A lump formed in my throat because there was no one there to blow it out. No one to lick the frosting off of the bottom of the candle. I can't help wondering, are there birthday cakes in heaven? Are there even birthdays in heaven?
I miss my girl. I miss her so much. But we're going on. We're pausing for a time, feeling the pain. Touching it. Breathing it. Allowing it to be exactly what it is, deep and raw and old and fresh. And then we're going on with living. We're not staying stuck in that grief, that wretched pain. Because she is with God and God is with us and he still has work for us to do here.
"The tragedy of life is not death, but what we let die inside of us while we live." -Norman Cousin
Aside from birthdays, January has been eaten up by living. Normal, plain old, regular living. Good days and not so good days. Appointments and meetings and grocery shopping and cooking and cleaning and playing. And taxes. January loses it's appeal quickly when we start thinking taxes. It seems we always have people coming and going from our house. Jamee went and then Jade went and all the guys come in and out and in and out. I can't keep track of schedules anymore. They overload my brain.
Today Moise had, what I thought would be, the final surgery on his eyes. His team of doctors decided awhile back the cataracts that formed as a result of all the trauma to his eyes needed to be removed. We arrived at the hospital before sunrise. You know you spend way too much time in a hospital when everyone, from those in admitting to those in the OR, knows you on a first name basis and you hear "hey, Moise is back" as you walk down the corridors. Let's just say things didn't exactly go as planned. The right eye went great. Cataract gone. New lens installed. But that left eye of his!!! Doctor decided he could not safely remove the cataract without causing further damage. Apparently the lens needs to have some clarity in order to see well enough to perform the very precise procedure of cataract removal. Moise's lens was so cloudy that light could not penetrate enough to dilate the pupil. If I understand correctly there was a very high likelihood that, without being able to see through the lens, the cataract or fragments of the cataract would be "dropped" to the back of the eye. This would cause devastating and irrevocable damage. So....... the cataract remains. The clouded lens remains. The saga continues. Next up? Corneal transplant. Doctor mentioned as a potentially viable option for the first time today. The very thought scares me and I don't know enough about it to elaborate any more on that subject, so I won't. But I was under the impression that we will soon be referred to a corneal transplant specialist. At least that left eye keeps life interesting. Because we wouldn't want things to be dull or routine now would we?
We've had bitter cold days and some very nice days this month. We snuggle in for the cold ones and head out for the nice ones. We're braving the winter, like we always do. It's just a season. It will pass. And just like that, Janauary is done. Life is good and hard and painful and beautiful and God.... he's right there through it all.
Some of January's sweetest real life moments..........
|Lots of warm sweetness on cold winter nights.|
|Kruz is making huge strides in speech and occupational therapy. This is his speech pathologist, Sarah.|
|We brave the cold as often as we can, even if it's just a walk to the mailbox. Fresh air goes a long way toward making his days go better.|
|Surgery day for Kruzer. His eyes no longer drift outward like in this picture.|
|I may or may not put things out of his reach so he has to stand up to get them.|
|Play dates with the littles. Kruz adores them.|
|A road trip to watch Jamee race. She's wrapping up her last season of racing. Craziness.|
|This little boy did not want to see his big sissy go back to college.|
|Kruz is so very intrigued by his brother. Their interactions melt my heart.|