Wednesday, May 30, 2012
So it's coming. I thought I was going to wrap it up tonight but then I remembered that Carrie had a bunch of pictures that I wanted to include and I want to go to bed so I can be FRESH for Dailey Method tomorrow morning.
Aly and John are coming back to CA for a visit next month and I can't possibly allow them to come back before I've written about what wonderful hosts they were FOUR MONTHS AGO.
But don't hold your breath for Japan.
Though I will say that my "Guam and Tokyo" folder of pictures is a trip to scroll through because they're 50% tropical and beautiful and 50% cold and snowy.
Way to plan a vacation that requires two entirely different wardrobes. Next time, let's go to Jamaica and Norway!
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Friday, May 25, 2012
My miracle niece has had another accident.
She’ll be fine, despite being the tiniest little pacemaker recipient with the tiniest little nose job, but good god did this one take a toll on my family. On the other hand, it really did cement our pre-existing belief that we’re the luckiest family ever in the history of the world.
And not just because Miracle Niece will be fine, but because we have this incredible support system where we all have each other’s backs ONE MILLION percent and are able to mobilize and take care of things.
I was telling my parents that I feel like the nose incident made our family react like a wave: We reared up, paused as we gathered steam and figured out the path forward, and then carried each other smoothly toward the shore. They think I’m too metaphoric and in my head about it, but I think it’s exactly representative of what happened…and now we’re all wrapped up in appreciating each other and thinking about how lucky we are, when I’m sure plenty of people would be thinking the opposite if they were in our shoes.
I’ve been working my way through a couple months’ worth of other peoples’ agony (2012 is proving to be rough for A LOT of people) and feeling strong and capable of supporting the people I love, but this last thing with the baby made me think that perhaps I might be near the end of my rope. Let’s not test that out, okay Universe?
But that tiny little girl? She’s the least traumatized of any of us. And when I helped my SIL Who Does Not Wear John Deere Pajamas put medicine on Miracle Niece’s nose the other day, I expected it to be a struggle but instead, the world’s tiniest TROOPER just leaned forward and patiently let me glob crap on her face.
She’s not quite photo-ready these days, but here’s a shot from our family portrait photo shoot a couple of months ago just so you can be reminded of how beautiful she is:
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
...but volunteering at a craft night at the Ronald McDonald House (where the families of really sick kids being treated at Stanford stay if they're not local), is depressing as all hell.
But the kids had fun, so it was worth it.
(Though I will not be getting talked into that volunteer experience again.)
And now I want to go hug my niece and nephew and appreciate how perfect they are.
Monday, May 14, 2012
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Friday, May 11, 2012
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Sunday, May 6, 2012
Thursday, May 3, 2012
Did you catch that?
I WATCHED AS SHE FELL SIX FEET OFF THE PORCH AND THEN LANDED ON CONCRETE STEPS.
That moment and the two seconds after that that it took me to fly down the stairs to find her were, WITHOUT QUESTION, the worst moments of my life.
My cousin was over with her 7 and 10 year old daughters. The girls LOVE Baby AJ and were holding her hand as she toddled around (she CAN walk without a finger to hold onto but she chooses not to). I followed them out onto the back porch because I knew they were going to take her down the stairs into the garden and I knew enough to not let the 14-month-old get escorted down the back steps by a 7-year-old, no matter how loving and well-meaning she might be.
So we were all standing on the back porch, which is really more of a small landing off the back door...it's like a three or four foot square. One minute I'm watching to see if they really were going to go down the stairs, in which case I was going to pick up the baby and carry her down, and then the next minute Baby AJ has broken free from the 7-year-old, is somehow between the planters that line the edge of the porch, and is falling off.
And then my heart, if you were wondering, totally and completely stopped.
I WAS RIGHT THERE. RIGHT THERE.
In the teeny, tiny fraction of a second warning I had that Baby AJ was going to fall, I remember thinking that I should grab her, but also not knock the 7-year-old down the stairs in the process. As fast as that thought shot through my head, it wasn't fast enough to actually react, so I stood there WATCHING THE BABY FALL.
I flew down the stairs and saw that she had, horrifyingly, landed on the cement steps, rolled down them, and was laying at the foot of the basement.
There are a lot of things about the next minute of my life that I don't remember, but I do remember that the 10-year-old wanted to pick her up, but I knew you weren't supposed to move her, I remember that she started crying (which is a good thing, I know), the sight of this tiny body that I love SO MUCH laying there in shock and pain, the sound of my voice as I screamed my brother's name, and the sound that came out of my SIL (Who Does Not Wear John Deere Pajamas) when she realized what had happened to her baby.
My brother thought she'd only fallen down the steps so he picked her up, she continued to scream bloody murder, my mom called 911 and then we waited.
I didn't fall apart right then though. I got on my knees and held the crying 7-year-old and promised her 100 times that it wasn't her fault. It really wasn't her fault because the baby got away -- there wasn't anything she could have done about it. I stroked her hair and I told her that it would be okay. I remember thinking that I desperately didn't want her to feel any guilt over this, but I knew I would be FAR less kind to myself.
I knew in my head that it wasn't my fault, but I also knew that if I'd reacted faster, if I'd held onto the baby as soon as we stepped outside, if we'd done anything that would have changed our paths, this wouldn't have happened. Therefore, it was totally my fault.
HOW COULD I HAVE LET THIS HAPPEN!?!?
So the ambulance came, the neighbors all came out of their houses, and off my tiny niece went to the trauma center. I told the 10-year-old to be kind to her sister, to tell her sister that it wasn't her fault, and then when they went home I sat on my parents' couch and finally cried.
My brother called from the hospital and said that the doctors said it happens all the time, that she'd be fine, but that they'd observe her for a few hours. We agreed that I'd go sleep at my brother and SIL's house and keep the dogs company.
So then I went and sat on *their* couch and cried. Ugly cried, for sure. The dogs were so sweet and obviously concerned that Aunt Elizabeth was so sad and were wonderful friends to me. One of the neighbors came over and kept me company until it was late, but my brother and SIL were due home with Baby AJ soon, so I dozed on the couch a bit and waited.
I'd had a couple of updates (she had FRACTURED HER SKULL, but was going to be fine) and then a couple of pictures (she was still plenty cute, though the swelling on the left side of her face sort of displaced her ear a bit), but I wanted them to bring her home so I could kiss her and see her for myself.
They ended up staying in the hospital past the original estimate of a few hours, so when my brother came home to get stuff in the 4AM hour, I took myself the two blocks back to my house and sort of slept until my alarm went off an hour and a half later.
So you know how when you're really tired, you're sort of a mess anyway? Well imagine how much of a mess I was when I was running on an hour and a half of sleep and had woken up to the HORRIFYING realization that I had just watched my tiny, precious, baby niece fall off the porch and break her head.
I went to work anyway and was generally pretty dazed and spent multiple hours crying in a conference room (it also happened to be the day before our twice-a-year HUGE milestone meeting that I'm in charge of, so the timing was awesome), but they were on their way home from the hospital that afternoon and I was watching the clock like a CHAMP until I could go see her.
I went to their house that afternoon and my whole family was sitting around in their garden talking and laughing and being pretty normal. My darling nephew was telling me that Baby AJ had hurt her head and everyone else was relieved and tired but pretty okay (even my brother and SIL!).
AUNT ELIZABETH, on the other hand, could hardly form a sentence without starting to cry again.
Baby AJ was going to be fine. She wasn't moving too far away from her mother, probably had a headache, and was black and blue under her left ear, but she was fine.
I WAS NOT. I'm still not all that okay, but at least I only cry when I think about the fall and the screaming and how I was comforting the 7-year-old, but really I was probably the one who needed the hug.
My SIL, bless her, told me not to think that this meant I was ever going to get out of babysitting duty.
(You know what's awful? That when I went to save that picture to my laptop, I already had photos called "AJ Hospital" because of that poor darling and the quality time she spent at Stanford last summer. THIS HAD BETTER BE THE LAST TIME, AJ!!!!)
Also: The post-head-injury hairdo is adorable.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
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