Today, some 200 days after my wife’s stroke first occurred, something special happened.
She was able to give all three of her kids a 2-armed hug. She couldn’t feel that it was happening with her right arm, but they could. She had to be able to see where to get her arm, but each of the kids still got to feel both arms around them for the first time.
Pretty monumental in my book.
So, let’s see, there’s been a ton of activities going on of late, that I wanted to update you all with, but honestly, life is still pretty full for me, and I just haven’t had the time. Apologies.
About 2 weeks ago, Rachael had a birthday. Due to schedules, the slumber party didn’t happen until last week. Anissa wrote about it here. I’d like to offer up a slightly differing explanation of the night.
Rachael LOVES to cook. So, we thought we’d do a birthday party where the kids got to make something. We picked personal pizzas and also got individual butterfly cupcake molds for the event. Invitations went out, folks RSVP’d and excitement started to build.
This was another one of those fairly monumental events. I get a little sad when I think of all the special events we’ve missed out on as a family the past 6 months. For me, this was a sign that we had hit a milestone. Once again, we were going to be a reason for the big smiles on our kids’ faces. Anissa was still in a coma when Peyton’s last birthday happened. Nathaniel’s happened while we were still in patient at Shepherd. Rachael’s was going to be special.
With that in mind, we shipped Nathaniel and Peyton off to my mom’s for the night, so that night could be all about Rachael.
At 5:00 I closed up my laptop as sweet little 9 year old girls started filtering in, one by one. We got to spend some time meeting the parents. There were 6 girls in total. I gave them 2 rules: No squealing unless they were hurt, and have fun. Throughout the night, they accomplished both very well.
Right around the time we got all the ingredients out in bowls, my phone rang. It was work, and it wasn’t a good call. It was one of those that fall under the “it’s going to be a while” category.
I stepped outside for quiet as Anissa started wrangling the girls together. Through my back porch window, I watched as she got the oven warming up and got the girls to get things out on the table.
I kept peeking in as the pizzas were in various states of completion. There were mounds of flour and ear to ear smiles everywhere. Anissa was rolling around, helping each little girl, making sure each one was involved. I came in and put the pizzas in the oven and took them out as needed. Thank God for the mute button on the phone.
When my call with work was finally over, and the girls had moved on to makeup and movies, I went back inside. Anissa was trying to clean up after the mess. Our table was covered in flour, pizza dough, sauce and toppings. The kitchen was a wreck. Anissa was rolling around trying to figure out where to start with the cleanup, one-handed….and she was crying.
I shuttled her in to the bedroom to find out what was wrong.
Through tears, she said she felt like she had failed because she wasn’t able to be as involved as she was pre-stroke. I let her cry for a minute, then told her how I saw it. I saw it through the eyes of our happy daughter….who was THRILLED that her mom was there to meet all her friends and have a good time. About that time, Rachael wandered in and gave Anissa the biggest hug of thanks I’ve seen.
We wound up having to make 2 sets of butterfly cupcakes, because the first one just didn’t turn out. Each little girl got to decorate their own cupcake. It was literally perfect. Each girl got to stamp their own individuality on the cupcake.
It took me a day to get the dining room and kitchen back to normal, but that’s a small price to pay.
As far as progress goes, we’re still improving daily. Not a day goes by that I haven’t seen something improve. Today it was that she was able to raise her arm at the shoulder high enough to give a slight hug. Yesterday it was that the double vision in certain areas is improving. The day before that, she was able to straighten her leg out fully while seated. Still not a whole lot of movement at the ankle or wrist yet, but we’re getting there daily.
I almost forgot. On Monday, I finally taught Peyton how to ride a 2-wheeler! She wants to show it off for everyone now! One more parenting thing I was able to reclaim.
On a different note, after what feels like an eternity. I FINALLY got the application mailed out to ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. It took forever because I simply don’t have much in the way of spare time these days. I included the videos you guys have made (the Glee one and the Helping Hands one), as well as our own little versions of humor. We had fun doing it, and I hope that shows through. If they pick us, GREAT! If they don’t, well, at least we tried, and it helped take my mind off of things for a while.
So, if our story has touched and/or helped you and you’d like to let them know, we’d greatly appreciate it. The address is:
Lock & Key Productions
C/O Family Casting
Los Angeles, CA 90038
(OH PLEASE!OH PLEASE!OH PLEASE!OH PLEASE!OH PLEASE!OH PLEASE!OH PLEASE!OH PLEASE!OH PLEASE!OH PLEASE!OH PLEASE!OH PLEASE!OH PLEASE!OH PLEASE!OH PLEASE!OH PLEASE!OH PLEASE!OH PLEASE!OH PLEASE!OH PLEASE!OH PLEASE!OH PLEASE!OH PLEASE!OH PLEASE!OH PLEASE!OH PLEASE!OH PLEASE!OH PLEASE!OH PLEASE!)