Christmas was so special this year. I can't even begin to imagine facing a Christmas after losing a child, and I thank God that we didn't have to experience that. Instead, our Christmas was filled with more joy than any other in the past. I think each Christmas with Tru gets better and better. He was so excited about it this year. He asked me over and over if it was Christmas Eve yet. It was so cute to listen to him talk about baby Jesus, too. He's really into babies right now, so it was right up his alley to celebrate one being born.
Of course, I have to mention that it was James' birthday as well as Jesus'. When we woke up Christmas morning, I told Tru that it was Christmas. Then I said, "It's also Daddy's birthday. Tru poked James and said, "Did you hear that, Daddy? It's your birthday!" It was precious.
Of course, I think everything he does now is precious. Even when he whines, it doesn't phase me. After coming so close to losing a child, you appreciate everything about him...the good, the bad, even the annoying. I'm sure with time, that appreciation will fade, I'll begin to get irritated, I won't kiss him and hug him a million times each day. But for now, I'll see him in the same light I would have if I had lost him...a perfect angel!
Sunday, December 14, 2008
I resigned from my job on Friday. It was a very difficult decision, but after much consideration, I felt like it is what I had to do. I've never thought of myself as a stay-at-home mom type. After Truman was born, James and I agreed that I would not go back to work until Truman was at least old enough to talk so he could tell us if anything was going wrong at daycare. Well, I made it 11 months and had to throw in the towel. I only worked part-time, but at least I felt like a "somebody" for a few hours a day. I had to resign from that job when we moved to Missouri. Once again, I didn't feel like I had "worth" staying home. I was lonely, bored, missed talking to adults -without kids around, missed challenging myself mentally, was jealous of my husband when he left for work every day. So, I signed another contract -this time full-time. I had regrets immediately. I wanted to work, but full-time? I wasn't sure how I could handle it all. Apparently, I couldn't. So, here I am, once again, just a mom. Only this time around, I will cherish it rather than begrudge it. I'm hoping I won't feel the need to explain myself to others -somehow let them know that I once had a career, that I really do have a brain that extends beyond nursery rhymes and coloring, but I'm sure I will. I'm hoping I can find worth in being just a mom and realize that it is the most important job in the world. God has called me to be home with this child. He's made it very clear that my only job right now should be taking care of Tru. I'm obliged to follow that calling and see where it leads.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
The accident. That's what I call it. Truman's accident. Time now has a new dimension for us...instead of BC and AD, everything is before "the accident" or after "the accident". Although I know that this was an accident, it seems as if it should have a different name because so many aspects of it could have been easily prevented. It's as if everything had to line up the wrong way that day in order for this to happen. I am so thankful to God for healing my son, but I have to question Him. Why did this have to happen?
Today I took Truman back to the scene of "the accident". I thought it would be good for him to see his friends and his preschool teachers, and to have them see him looking so much better. It made me so sad. Not in the way that you might expect -picturing "the accident", the chaos, my little boy's rescue, etc. While those things definitely went through my mind, what sadden me the most was the fact that Truman doesn't get to go there anymore. He was so happy with his babysitter and her family. Her daughter and Truman were basically like siblings. He had his own room at her house with his name on the door. He loved playing with all the kids at preschool, reading books, learning, making crafts to bring home for the refrigerator. I feel like all of that happiness and peace has been ripped from us. As much as I would like to rewind and live in the BA (before "the accident") era, I'll never be able to do that. Everything has changed. Everything! And that makes me sad...in fact, it makes me angry.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Thanksgiving. It has new meaning for us this year. In the past, there had been Thanksgivings in my life when I actually had a difficult time finding things to be thankful for. That seems ridiculous to me now.
My mom has always had an attitude of gratitude based on the old adage, "It could always be worse." I never liked that saying. It seemed like a crummy way of being grateful. "I'm glad I'm only 20 pounds overweight instead of 200...I'm glad I'm staying in this nasty hotel instead of sleeping on the streets", etc. etc. In fact, I think there is even an email that circulates every year around this time spreading that same type of message. I prefer to just be thankful.
However, this year, when I look at my son, I can't help but think of that saying. As much as I dislike it, I find myself adopting it as my motto...although I vow it will be for this Thanksgiving only! :)
I'm thankful that I'm struggling to keep my son calm rather than struggling to get him walking.
I'm thankful that he's whiney because it means he can still talk.
I'm thankful he's irritable because it means his brain is comprehending his feelings.
I'm thankful I'm being pushed to the very corner of the bed because it means he can roll around now.
One thing I'm so thankful for this year that has nothing to do with that pessimistic saying is the love and support we have received from all of our friends and family through this difficult time. It has been amazing, and for that I feel blessed...with no strings attached!
Sunday, November 23, 2008
I'm trying very hard to focus on the positive this week and get out of this funk I've been in. Every moment I look at Tru, I wonder how we got so lucky. When the accident first happened, people would tell me how "lucky" or "blessed" we were that he was alive. I didn't feel lucky or blessed at all. I saw my baby in pain with his bottom lip stuck out in a permanent pout. Nothing felt lucky about that.
However, now, today, I feel lucky and definitely blessed. The old Tru is slowly coming back. It's getting harder every day to keep him calm, and I'm seeing more and more of his old personality replacing the angry, scared one with each passing day. I can't begin to tell you how happy it makes me to see his smile, and I count my blessings for the little things -like the fact that he still has all of his teeth in that smile!
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
We had our follow up appointment yesterday. They took the last stitch out of Tru's chest tube wound and answered a bunch of questions we had. It was pretty uneventful...not even a blood test. His next ultrasound is scheduled for Jan 13th. I asked the doctor if he thought his liver would be healed by then. He said he would be surprised because it was a pretty deep "crack". I am really hoping Tru surprises the doctors once again, and we can all breathe a little easier after the 13th.
I also turned in my FMLA paperwork yesterday. I put Jan 26th as my expected return date. We'll see....
Sunday, November 16, 2008
My favorite time with Tru since the accident is bedtime. Before I worried about starting a "bad habit" by falling asleep by his side. In fact, I had worked so hard to slowly ease myself out of his room, first lying by the side of the bed, then by the door, then with my feet in and head out of the door, and finally all the way out of the room. I will have to start that whole process over again, but for now, I'm enjoying the closeness that snuggle time allows. Now I have an excuse, so the guilt is gone. I can just relish the time with my child without judgements.
Last night, he snuggled up close, wrapped his arms around me, and said, "I saved you Mommy!". When I asked him what he saved me from, he told me "monsters". Then he said, "I will always protect you, Mommy." It was a bittersweet moment -a touching sentiment from my only son laced with guilt that I didn't always protect him.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
I keep wondering when that will begin. It's been so difficult for all of us. Tru still has nightmares, and wants to fall asleep holding my hand. He says this is so we will "be safe." It breaks my heart. He is whiney and grumpy most of the time now. James went back to work, but calls several times a day to check on us. As for me, well, I can't stop thinking about it. It runs through my head over and over again -tormenting me. I can't escape it...even when I sleep, I dream about it. The sleeping pills aren't even helping anymore. I know I should be overjoyed that my boy is alive, but for some reason, I still feel sad. My sadness is mixed with other emotions, too -anger, guilt, fear. It's overwhelming.
We later found out that Truman had been run over by an SUV while standing behind the babysitter's van. A woman actually ran over him with both the front and back tires, stopping on him with her back tire until people yelled at her to pull forward. She had no idea what she had hit. I still can't believe he survived that. He had a fractured collar bone, a collapsed lung, a lacerated liver, a very swollen black eye, and lots of what they call "road rash". He had to have 2 units of blood, but surprisingly no surgeries. We spent four days in the PICU and two more on the pediatric floor. We were sent home less than a week later! I know people prayed for Truman all over the country -even in other countries, but his physical healing continues to amaze me. He still has a wound from the chest tube that needs to heal, and he still can't get up from a lying down position, but he looks amazing.
About two years ago, when we lived in Wichita, I read a horrible story about a three year old who was killed in the drive thru at a McDonald's we frequented. It really shook me up. After that, I told Truman repeatedly to watch for cars, never cross the street without an adult, etc. To the point where he would tell other kids to get out of the street, even when he was as young as 18 months old! We had a "one hand on the car" rule if I was ever getting something out or putting something in the car and couldn't hold his hand. I put a chain lock on my front door and door knob covers on the door to the garage, just to make sure he never left the house without me. Him being hit by a car was my worst nightmare.
That's why on October 31st, 2008, I couldn't even believe it when my husband called me at work to tell me Truman had been hit by a car. I rushed to the emergency room the whole time praying and hoping that he had just been bumped, maybe a broken bone or two, but nothing serious. It's what I wanted so badly to believe. When I arrived, there was woman waiting for me outside of the ER entrance. I told her I was there to see my son, Truman. She said, " I know who you are." This is when my heart sank. She ushered me into a little room where a chaplain was waiting with my husband. I couldn't bear the thought that my boy was not going to be ok. How could God take him away from me after all it took to get him here? We tried for several years, spent thousands on infertility treatments, suffered through several ectopic pregnancies, and finally gave up hope when Truman surprised us all -even the doctors! Now, I was facing the possibility of losing him. I thought this is all I have, this can't really be happening. The next 30 minutes were impossible. I was not allowed to see him. Police, volunteers, witnesses, his babysitter and preschool teacher came in and out of the room. All I wanted to do was see my baby. They told me they were flying him to a hospital in Springfield with a pediatric intensive care unit, but I would not be able to go with him. I finally got to see him a few minutes before he left on the helicopter. His bloody face, swollen eye, a chest tube keeping him alive. He wouldn't squeeze my hand or talk to me. A nurse handed me his little shoes in a bag. I signed some papers, and they took him away.