Sunday, January 16, 2011

Lucky 14

I was running with Emerson yesterday was January 14th, one month exactly that Makenzie was released from UCSF and she has stayed home since! Huge! The date December 14 we marked on the calendar since we came home that night, and circled January 14 as one month after. It is etched in my head especially since it includes the number 14, which is Jack's lucky number, and my due date with Makenzie was April 14, 2003. She has gone back to UCSF for appointments, for tests, ultrasounds and to visit her sweet friend Ryan but she has come home each night to her own bed. Mind you, she has been sleeping in our bed a lot since she has come home, eager to be close and feel safe. But she is under our roof and the four of us are home as a family. So Emerson and I took off for me to run, E to sing to us, and to finish by picking up Makenzie at school.

It was incredibly bright with sunshine dripping down on us. You wouldn't believe it was January, and not only that it was a Friday too which always feels like a day of celebration. We started out on one of my favorite runs from our house: along Pearl with the cute California bungalos, down to Shoreline Drive and along the waterfront, to Crown Beach, and initially I wanted to go further but then realized I had only 15 minutes to get back to pick up Makenzie. Whoops, on my part with time! Emerson had been singing to me and then stopped. I had an inkling she was asleep, peaked in and she was conked out holding Baby Sita (her favorite doll) with her pink baby blanket pulled up to her chin. I look at E and melt every time, she is my little buddy and being a celebration day I couldn't help but feel such joy and celebrate E too. As I turned around to run back, it was more like blast back ... this is where my sprint training comes through... making sure I am on time to pick up Bug from school.

Since E was asleep and our singing and chatter stopped, I started to think my deeper thoughts, and my mind went to how far Makenzie has come in one month. We left the hospital and were so excited, but Makenzie's real healing has happened at home. She is learning how to feel "normal". She has gotten real uninterrupted sleep, been able to rest when she needs to, have quiet time playing with Barbies, read stories to Emerson and gradually gained an appetite again. Through helping Makenzie heal, we all have been healing a little bit. We've also been learning how to work together again as a family of 4 and support each others' nerves as they pop through. But it is this time, actually the past 2 weeks that Makenzie has been in school and Emerson started preschool, that I really am digesting all that has gone on and all Makenzie has overcome. I've said the entire journey that Makenzie is incredibly brave, courageous and has the most incredible love oozing from her. But damn, she seriously rocks and is so brave!

I looked at my watch when at the end of the beach, still one mile plus to go and saw I had 6 minutes until the bell would ring. Being an early dismissal day, it was the first day Makenzie would be leaving with her class verses picked up early since she's been back to school. I was so excited to see her walk out of room #103's door with her classmates so my legs turned into speed wheels, and I pushed the jogger as fast as I could. Phew, made it to the school yard, pulled up to the classroom door with a smile on my face but sweat dripping down my back and there bounds out Makenzie with a huge grin from ear to ear. A quick, "Hi Mom! Casey and I can't wait for our playdate tonight, but I'm going to play tag now. Ok?". She ran to PLAY month after leaving the hospital, 2 weeks into starting school again and Makenzie can play tag with her friends in the small play-yard. My eyes were welled with tears watching her sweet self, she oozed joy and happiness. Listening to "eenie meenie miney mo, catch a tiger by it's toe...." as the kids were picking who would be "it" again was music to my ears. Normal kid noises are part of our life again, not just beeps and medical lingo. Wahoo!

After Makenzie played for about 5 minutes her energy window was used up, but her blissful window was still open. She launched over to me, took my hand and we started walking home planning our afternoon and her dinner playdate with Casey. One month marker, big month of events, and many more months to go. I know I won't ever feel secure until Makenzie's pseudocyst is completely gone and there is an answer why this happened, but one month has passed since we left UCSF's 4th floor and we are all moving along to our new normal. Go Makenzie little rockstar.

No such thing as the end, there are only new beginnings- Parenthood

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I am probably out running, but I thank you for taking the time to share. I look forward to your additional input as this blog grows and evolves.
Erin Kreitz Shirey