November 1, 2012

October 2012: So Much Better

For the past couple of weeks, I've sat down to write at night, collected photos and links and videos, opened my blank post and stared at the blinking cursor. I'd start paragraphs over and over, but always ended up stomping on the backspace button until they disappeared.

I think it's because all I've been able to think about the past few weeks is where we were a year ago. October 12th was Sam's one year anniversary of his open heart surgery, and just yesterday, we passed the pacemaker installation one year mark. I've sat down to write about it and invariably ended up reading through the posts from a year ago. And every time I'd click through those posts, it was like I was reliving it all over again. That awful day we handed him over looking healthy and perfect, only to receive him back a few hours later, swollen, intubated, and scarred. The day they started taking the machines and medicines away. The days we went on and off the external pacemaker, riding a rollercoaster I hated. The scary moments and the happy moments. The facing of the inevitable decision to get a permanent pacemaker. Watching him head off into another operating room. The joy of holding my baby unhooked from all the monitors and wires.

After torturing myself for a few nights, I finally just stopped trying to reflect on this time last year. I'm obviously not ready to go there yet. It was an awful, dark time and even now, it makes tears well up in my eyes thinking about it.

But we are here. Not there anymore. We are a year later, with a healthy boy who is growing and learning and thriving. And I'm just so damn grateful. It's been shockingly easy for me to lose that perspective during these months of doctor appointments and therapy sessions and a hectic schedule. But our story could have had a much more tragic ending than it did, and it's really been hammered back into my head/heart these past weeks as I've journeyed back to those hospital rooms in my mind.

So.

Anyway. While I've been going through a little PTSD, you've missed so much! October has been an amazing month for us. Let's try to hit the highlights and catch you up.

1. We started with a bang, participiating in our first Buddy Walk. As a team, Sam's Club raised $1,350, and all totaled the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Charlotte raised over $195,000! That is amazing. Thank you so much for supporting us, with your money, with your presence, and with your love. We had a great time and loved getting to participate. I did a super bad job taking photographs, so...That's a goal for next year.

2. We hit the beach for a short vacation the following week while Grandma Lori was still in town. I am now a October beach-goer convert. We had such a fabulous time. The weather was amazing, the water warm, the beaches clear, and all around just perfect. Luke ate ice cream willing for the first time and cemented his great love for the beach, and I tried very hard not to freak out when Sam insisted on eating sand. I also did a bad job of taking pictures, so again, just trust me on that one.

I did, however, just discover this one from Luke's first day of preschool. I tried to take one of those "First Day of School" photos like Pinterest demanded I do, but Luke was just not having it. I had to chase him down the driveway just to get this one. Isn't this the saddest picture ever? Oh Luke. The stories we will be able to tell your kids some day...

3.This happened.

4. So did this.

5. Oh, and um, this.

Basically, Sam just rocked October hard. He learned to sit up by himself, army crawl, and has for the past two weeks, been eating almost completely age-appropriate. He can self feed puffs and yogurt bites, and can eat bananas and toast, and will (finally) eat purees willingly. (pleasepleaseplease don't let me have just jinxed myself by bragging on him. Would you knock on the nearest piece of wood? Twice? Thanks.)

7. Luke really got what Halloween was all about for the first time this year. He wasn't wild about dressing up, and for weeks prior to the big day, our conversation went like this:
Me: Luke, what do you want to be for Halloween?
Luke: A cupcake!
Me: No, not what do you want for Halloween...what do you want to dress up like?
Luke: A cupcake!

Finally, last week, we had a breakthrough.
Me: Luke, what do you want to be for Halloween?
Luke: Hmmmm. A Cupcake Pirate!
Me: Close enough.




Sam didn't seem to have any preference about his costume. So, we dressed our little army crawler up like... well, an Army Crawler.

And with that, we are all caught up. This October? So much better.

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