The other day, I was in Target picking up some essentials and I walked past an older woman talking on her phone. She had it on speaker and she told the female voice on the other end of the line "I love you" before she hung up. Just like that, grief sucker punched me in the gut and I had to duck behind a display and collect myself. Two years later, I'm reminded of the void left by my mom. It's those little things that don't even faze you at the time - a brief phone call ending in a declaration of love, as every phone call did - they leave a gaping hole.
An email arrived in my inbox from one of mom's friends; she was seeking an update. The update is that we're doing quite well, all things considered. May was quite traumatic with Leanne's choking incident, and we've had many subsequent appointments, tests, procedures, and feeding therapy to try and get to the root cause of the issue and to improve matters. After Leanne's recent esophageal manometry showed very little muscle motility and pressure in her lower esophagus, and given the backdrop of her esophageal atresia surgery during infancy, the dilations, scar tissue, and imaging they have to date, the GI doctor made a referral to Mayo. In the meantime, Leanne still struggles to eat slowly and carefully so we're erring on the side of softer foods to keep her safe. A consequence of her condition is weight loss and we're actively trying to boost her calories to prevent further weight loss.
While the aforementioned circumstances have been stressful, Leanne continues to demonstrate an enviable resiliency! She maintains a positive outlook and she rejoices in the smallest victories. Her daily commitment to faith and prayer are inspiring. She prays for an end to Coronavirus. She is desperate to return to her daily activities of work, volunteering, and socializing.
The pandemic has devastated so many families and our hearts go out to everyone who is struggling. The kids deserve to be commended for how well they've adapted to disruptions in school and other activities. A certain carefree childhood innocence is purloined in having to explain the gravity of the situation to them. As parents, we have tried to brainstorm ways to safely have adventures (fishing, anyone?).
The girls were rightfully disappointed when we postponed plans to unite with Travis' family for Thanksgiving. With Christmas around the corner, sitting on Santa's lap has been replaced by a drive-by wave to Santa. But when it comes right down to it, we are grateful for our health and I believe hindsight will illuminate the creative ways we adapted and made the most of this unprecedented time.
We still have Christmas cookies and Hallmark movies and car rides through the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights. Not to mention a whole lot of family togetherness, which, during its finer moments enhances our bond, and during its challenging moments, builds character (trying to be positive here - ha!).