I have carried Nathaniel for nine months. His feather light hair rests in the nook of my left elbow and he breathes softly through his tracheotomy tube. He sleeps deep in my arms. His body wraps around mine; his right hand resting on my chest, his feet extending to my right hip. We are stomach to stomach and he feels as much a part of me as if I once held him inside. In these quiet intimate moments I think of the woman who carried him in her womb for nine months.
It is slowly occurring to everyone how much of an adjustment we have to life without Grandpa in our home. Grandpa has been away from our home before: a week to visit other family or a weekend church activity. But we always expected his return. One night this week we came to the dinner table and realized our seating arrangement could change. Family meals have always been an important part of our day and with Grandpa's seat empty, we felt a need to squeeze in tighter. We did. Everyone has a new place to sit now. Closer. With no empty spaces.
What happened at the table is happening through out the day. We are drawing together, diminishing the gap, and desiring to connect to one another. Ben, Nathaniel and I spent Monday at Missouri Botanical Gardens doing just that. Walking. Talking. Taking time together in the sunshine. Our conversation jumped from the adjustments we are making as a family to the benefits of Tall Fescue over Zoysia grass. It felt good.
Submitted by kim on Tue, 04/29/2014 - 19:10 in Lessons for Mom
I quit my job of twenty-five years last week.
My husband said it was time. And since the job in question was being his father’s caregiver, I had no choice.
I first realized the job vacancy in the late 1980’s. A couple days after our honeymoon, I sat in my new in-laws' kitchen helping my husband install a Christmas present dishwasher purchased by the siblings. As he finished and put the tools away in the basement, his mom asked me, “Would you like to stay for a bowl of ice cream?” Four hours later, ice cream bowls beside the sink, and Skip-bo cards strewn across the table, we said our goodbyes.
They needed care.
Submitted by kim on Mon, 04/14/2014 - 12:43 in Nathaniel's Story
Someday we will have a cordless baby. But for now, cords are part of Nathaniel's and our lives. This is what Nathaniel looks like attached to his g-tube feeding pump housed in the little backpack.
When out in public, children often approach us, point at the tube, and candidly ask, "What's that?" Their parents are mortified, but equally curious. I've learned that children and men want to see the whole system, right down to the skin. For educational purposes, here it is: an explanation of the Mic-Key™ g-tube feeding system we use for Nathaniel. No needles or blood involved so even the queasy should be ok scrolling through the photos.
I do not take selfies often. And I rarely post them on the internet. Especially if I'm not wearing makeup. But I love the stories this photo tells.
Nathaniel's fat little chin and cheeks tell of his recent weight gain. He is not on the growth chart yet, but is gaining steadily. With every pound, I see him getting stronger. Stronger means he can cough up his lung secretions and battle illnesses. Stronger means new gross motor skills. Stronger means longer periods of play time. Stronger means walks after dinner as a family rather than going straight to bed. Stronger is a criteria for reconstruction surgery. I see all those things in this photo.