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Merry Christmas!

This is a long one, and it’s a couple of posts I didn’t get to finish tied together.  Sorry if it’s confusing.

I stumbled on this clip earlier Thursday morning and I think I must have watched it 100 times throughout the day.

That’s my Anissa.  She’s intelligent, beautiful, vibrant, quick witted, well spoken and funny.  She’s a writer.  She’s the life of any party.  She can thrive in any situation not requiring heavy math.

My kids just call her mom though.

Yeah, last night, I was definitely missing my wife.  We generally finish up the wrapping on Christmas Eve, together, munching cookies and watching Randy Quaid and Chevy Chase ramble off some of the all time best lines ever on the TV.

It just wouldn’t be a Mayhew Christmas without the phrase, “Can I refill your eggnog for you? Get you something to eat? Drive you out to the middle of nowhere and leave you for dead?”

Because that’s how we roll:  Generally inappropriate and built to stay that way.  🙂

At times throughout this journey, I’ve felt like the last idiot who refused to admit that the ship was sinking.

Other times, most of the time really, I know, without a doubt, that we’re going to do this.

Because, that too, is how we roll…and we don’t roll alone.

Friends and strangers alike have been helping my family throughout our time of need.  Team Anissa is in full swing, evident by the mound of freshly wrapped presents under our tree.  I only picked out a few.  The majority were provided by great friends and family, both old and new.  The kids helped me wrap them.  There was enough that we can open some presents here at the house, and some up with mom.  I made sure to tell the kids where the presents came from.

The gifts were dropped off late Wednesday, and my mom, niece and I went through them to see who was getting what and making sure things were balanced.  The girls were asleep, but the cats (yes, we named them Puppy and Kitty) were bugging Nathaniel while he was trying to get to sleep, so he came down for a drink of water.  I was in “sort mode” and asked him what was the big thing he wanted for Christmas, worried that a late night Walmart run would be necessary.  His reply was simple, “Dad, the presents are great, but I just want mom home”.

Thursday morning I got the kids in the car and asked them what they wanted most for Christmas.

All of them just wanted the one thing I couldn’t do…yet.

Get mom home.

Today, we celebrate the birth of Christ.  I think I saw once on the history channel where they figure that it probably didn’t happen at this time of year.  That’s fine.  The important thing is that we celebrate his birth.  Not just one time a year either.  I try to teach my kids to be Christian not just on Sundays, but to live it Monday through Saturday too.  It’s not always easy, and we fail.  But the cool thing about Christ is that’s why he was sent here.  Because He knew we would stumble and need to be picked up occasionally.

So, the dry run went well.

After 35 days of separation, the Mayhew’s were reunited once more as a family.

I got my hug.

That’s the goal in all of this really:  The reunification of my family.

When we got to the rehab center Tuesday, Anissa was sitting up in a chair out in the hall way.  She could see us coming down the hall.  The kids approached her cautiously at first, but just couldn’t help but run up to her and assault her with hugs and kisses.  It was a little much for Anissa, so we wheeled her into the room and that’s where we got our hug.

Anissa again put on her mommy game face.  She held her head up for as long as we were in there.  Talking to the kids some, and interacting with each of them.  Towards the end, she was too exhausted to speak, but kept trying to keep her head up.

What we didn’t know at the time was that they had stood her up for the first time earlier that day.

Wednesday, the girls got their hair cut and Nathaniel got some awesome boy time with some great friends passing through:  The Williams’.  These were Nathaniel’s best buds in kindergarten, and he still talks about them.  They took him to see Avatar.  He needed it.  Didn’t stop talking about it all day.  While the kids were occupied, Traci Williams and I headed up to spend a few hours with Anissa.  Anissa struggled mightily to keep her head up for the whole 3 hours we were there.  While Traci was there, I slipped out and went to talk to the therapist team.  Apparently they had worked her pretty hard earlier and had actually been impressed by her.  One of the therapists said something that caused me to break down a little.  “She’s doing very well.  She’s in good hands Mr. Peter.  We’ve got her covered.”

After 30+ days of being in that hospital where it felt like the doctors and therapists were working against us, giving us such horrible reviews that we were being turned down for nursing/rehab centers, she’s with a team that actually believes in what they’re doing and, more importantly in her.  I now know I’ve got her in the right place for this stage.

Christmas Eve morning was interrupted twice.  First off, the girls went to the walk-in clinic.  Rachael has some infection and got some antibiotics.  Peyton had leg cramps the night before.  That one scared me.  This is why.  That’s how this whole thing started:  leg cramps.  Her color is good.  It was only one leg.  There is no bruising.  A warm soak in a bath made the pain go away.  It still terrified me to no end.  I’ll set up an appointment with her oncologist Monday or Tuesday for a cbc.

Wednesday night, I had a heart to heart with the Lord and told Him I could handle a war on one front, but historically speaking, wars on two fronts rarely end well.

The other interruption we got on Christmas Eve was a car sick Rachael.  Yep.  It was all over the place.  Good times.  We waited in the parking lot of a Chick-Fil-A for my mom to bring us up a change of clothes for Rachael.  She handled it well, and barely mentioned it the rest of the day.

We got up to the rehab facility and hung out in the room for a good 2 hours.  The kids and Anissa got to open up some gifts.  I told them the gifts were from mommy.  Nathaniel put together the Legos he got, the girls squealed with delight at the make up/spa stuffs they got.  Anissa got some flowers, and a Yoda, her favorite Star Wars character.  Basically we turned her room into a little hotel room for a few hours.  The nurses and techs graciously worked around us.  Anissa was pretty talkative the whole time.  Toward the end, she was again too tired to speak.

The key is that she held her head up and sat up in a chair the entire time we were there.

In other words, she’s getting stronger.

Today, she won’t get any therapy.  We’re going to go hang out all day with her.  I’m praying that the lack of therapy today means the kids get the best response yet from mom.

If I haven’t said it enough, thank you all for everything.

I pray you all have a Merry Christmas and laugh a little louder, love a little deeper and hug a little longer…just like what we’re going to be doing.

76 Comments on “Merry Christmas!”

  1. #1 Lisa
    on Dec 25th, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Peter, what a wonderful way to spend the holidays. Anissa must have been so happy to have the kids and you with her. Love and hugs to all of you. You are always in my prayers. Merry Christmas.

  2. #2 Elizabeth
    on Dec 25th, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    I am lifting up prayers for you and your kids today!

  3. #3 Lindsay
    on Dec 25th, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    Merry Christmas to all of you!!! Continuing to pray for your family, everyday!!!

  4. #4 Kathy
    on Dec 25th, 2009 at 10:18 pm

    Merry Christmas to all of you and you are in my thoughts on this holiday.

  5. #5 BlondeBlogger
    on Dec 25th, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    I have thought of your family so often throughout the day today. Thank you for this beautiful post to remind us all what Christmas is really all about. *prayers*

  6. #6 Julia
    on Dec 25th, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    wow, no one could possibly be doing more for your wife than you and your kids are. she is clearly a very special woman. I keep you all in my prayers for a smooth recovery and continued signs of progress.

  7. #7 Cindi Seidel
    on Dec 25th, 2009 at 10:49 pm

    God bless you all. Please give a hug to Anissa for me and know that you are never far from my thoughts and prayers. Love Cindi

  8. #8 The Stiletto Mom
    on Dec 25th, 2009 at 10:54 pm

    Fantastic news! My family just left and I couldn’t wait to log on to see if you had an update. I’m so glad you’ve gotten her out of the hospital and into a facility that seems to know they are dealing with “Anissa Freakin’ Mayhew”!!!!

    Keep on fighting Anissa, it would seem most of the free world is pulling for you!

    Love to all of you from Texas,
    Mary Anne

  9. #9 fidget
    on Dec 25th, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    <3 <3 <3 and happy tears

  10. #10 Two Makes Four
    on Dec 25th, 2009 at 11:29 pm

    I’m so excited by 1) your amazing outlook and attitude. I’m sure it’s far too easy to fall into despair, but I just get all kinds of good, strong gut feelings from your writing. You CAN do it. 2) the fact that you’ve got a team of doctors who believe in your wife and her recovery. The belief, the attitude, the love probably has more of an impact than anything else!

    Merry Christmas to your family. I don’t know you, but you’re frequently in my thoughts.

  11. #11 Nancy M.
    on Dec 25th, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    Merry Christmas to y’all! I’m so glad to hear Anissa is doing better!

  12. #12 Beth at I Should Be Folding Laundry
    on Dec 25th, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    Merry Christmas!

    I am praying for Anissa’s continued strength, YOUR continued strength and for the therapist to continue thinking and working so positively with Anissa.

    You are most definitely in the right place.

  13. #13 Beverly Atkins
    on Dec 25th, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    Amazing Anissa! She’s everything you say she is. I keep praying and it’s always heartwarming to know we’re getting there. God is good! He knows before we ask and he knows what’s going to happen. I believe with all my heart that he has amazing plans for our Anissa. Merry Christmas to all the Mayhews. We all love you!

  14. #14 kia
    on Dec 26th, 2009 at 2:29 am

    Merry Christmas to you and your family. I hope the day without rehab saw Anissa even stronger and more rested.

  15. #15 Lori (A Cowboy's Wife)
    on Dec 26th, 2009 at 10:39 am

    So happy to see the strength & good spirit in you guys!! Mostly thinking of Peyton at this moment so please do keep up updated with how her cbc goes Peter.

    Hugs to you all……

  16. #16 Sara@heartmychloe
    on Dec 26th, 2009 at 11:31 am

    You can do it Anissa!

  17. #17 Melissa
    on Dec 26th, 2009 at 11:36 am

    Keeping all of you in our thoughts, with hopes for the best Christmas gift to come.

  18. #18 Fran
    on Dec 26th, 2009 at 11:38 am

    Back in November I trusted that a miracle was coming. God is at work here. Bless you for keeping us posted on progress, allowing so many to witness these miracles as they come.

  19. #19 Mary @ Holy Mackerel
    on Dec 26th, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    I think about you guys all the time. I’m so glad to hear things are getting better, slowly but surely. Just remember, every day is a new day.

    Take care, and Merry Christmas!!

  20. #20 Kellee
    on Dec 26th, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Merry Christmas. Yay for the hug! And Oh My God standing! She is incredible. You all are.

  21. #21 crunchy domestic goddess (amy)
    on Dec 26th, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Merry Christmas to you all!

  22. #22 Sandy
    on Dec 26th, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Merry Christmas.
    I have told so many people Anissa’s amazing story already. What I think is cool is how it is going to keep progressing. I have to say that at least twice when I have told others about her reaction to her children and saying “I love you” for the first time…I cry…and the other several times I have told the story …at that part I have to stop and control myself from not crying.
    Strength and love to all of you.

  23. #23 Diana, The Doggy Mommy
    on Dec 27th, 2009 at 1:34 am

    I know how hard these days are for you and your family. Just keep believing in the miracles that you are witnessing. It is all going to be all right! That’s the way you roll!

    Merry Christmas, God Bless you!

    Thank you God for the miracles, keep em coming!

  24. #24 Kev Woods
    on Dec 27th, 2009 at 4:01 am

    good things happen to good people.
    With the limited information I have had from Sandi and Traci
    You guys are frankly amazing so I think it only reasonable that
    amazing things happen to you all.
    Hang in there..Im sure the last 30+ days have been perhaps the longest time you have ever experienced but the progress Anissa has made in that time has been nothing short of awesome.

    When I say awesome I mean it in the true meaning of the word.
    I am in awe at just how well and just how quickly she has got to the point she is at.

    I truly hope that 2010 will be the best year for you guys.

  25. #25 Susan (5 Minutes for Mom)
    on Dec 28th, 2009 at 7:10 am

    Merry Christmas to you all!!!!!

    Blessings, blessings, blessings!

  26. #26 MommyNamedApril
    on Dec 29th, 2009 at 1:51 pm

    SO SO SO glad you got your hug!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!