Sunday, August 30, 2015

Spencer: 10 Months

My Spencer,

Double digits! We made it to 10 months. Your personality continues to shine through. You love to coo, hum, sing and shout. We know you're happy and content when you do your little motorboat/spit combo. It's hilarious.

Eating has become an adventure. We've been working on transitioning to table food. You still love you some peanut butter. We have a dedicated jar in the house that's all yours. But now, you've taken to eating Dadda's oatmeal, and for that matter, his yogurt as well. You still eat all and any puree I give you.  You're even coming around to the ones with bits. We recently discovered you love mac and cheese! Carbs! Peanut Butter! You'll fit in just fine round here.

You're constantly on the move. You've gotten more efficient with your crawling and you're standing really well with support. You can move from couch to coffee table to chair all while standing. You haven't let go yet, but it's coming soon. I can feel it. You're getting confident.

I feel like we've engrained "Dadda" in your brain so much that you kinda call eveything Dadda. Oops. Sooo we're trying to get you on some other words. You get SO excited when you see your rubber duckies (we have several around the house and of course in the tub because you love them so) and it sounds like you might be trying to say Duckie. Maybe?

You're killing it in your walker, zooming all around and you love to hang in your Johnny Jumper on the patio with Dadda. You love walks in your stroller but Mama partially ran over it, so it's a lot of carrying and the Ergo at the moment.

I'm really so proud of how well you do at the playcenter at our gym. You're warm with the caretakers and social with other babies, and yet still pretty independent. I love to watch you play and be happy. But it's even better when you hear the sound of my voice at pick-up time and you SCREAM with excitement. Every single time. Cracks everyone in the room up.

You're my jam. You're my joy. You're my love.

I can almost look past you pooping in the tub the other night.


Saturday, August 29, 2015

Spencer at the Zoo

This chica likes animals. I think that's safe to say. She loved the zoo! She even almost touched a goat. 

It was so much fun for Jimmy and I to be with her and watch her take it all in for the first time, to see it through her eyes. Her fascination with a vulture. Her stare-off with a meerkat. Her eyes widened at the sight of the large rhinos. She could've watched that panda all day.

The Moores will be back, Zoo Atlanta.       

Friday, August 28, 2015

Meeting Eli

Every once in awhile the Peer Support folks at The Shepherd Center will dial us up. I guess they see similarities in the lives, interests, personalities among past and current patients. Since we're local, and four years in, they'll ask us to come meet with whomever.

About a month ago, Spencer and I met with an expecting Mama from South Carolina who's husband was diagnosed with a spinal cord injury and a brain injury after drowning on a trip to Mexico. I never know what I have to offer to any of these people we're asked to meet with, but after meeting with Charissa that day, I realized that for her, bringing Spencer was the best thing I could have done. Sure she asked me some questions about life after a SCI. But she couldn't take her eyes off the baby and couldn't stop smiling at her. Spencer, of course, was her usual social, smiley self right on cue. Spencer went to her and let her snuggle her. Baby therapy. It works well. Spencer tends to fill in the blanks when Mama falls short.

This week, we met with Eli Culp. Eli was injured on the Amtrak crash headed from Philly to New York, his nightly commute home. Eli is a well-known chef, and it seems, is very talented.  Jimmy and Eli talked cooking school, kids and their fascination with their wheelchairs, nurses, vehicles of choice, life after the injury, etc. All while Spencer crawled all over the therapy mats with extreme excitement. I remember being in that 5th floor therapy gym in 2011 with Jimmy, sometimes seeing newly-injured Dads with their babies do the same. 

As Eli and Jimmy talked, it was kind of a full circle moment. Having Spencer in the therapy gym her Dadda spent many of hours in, really learning how to live again.    

Eli seemed to be dealing with his injury rather well. As well as one could. The fact he was willing to meet with us indicates a certain level of acceptance, I think, that many in Eli and Jimmy's situation have a rather hard time with.

He asked Jimmy if he's accepted the randomness of the accident and the injury, and how long it took him to do so. Eli's accident, while so different than Jimmy's obviously, was very random, freakish, and one-in-a-millionesque like ours. It's feels that way, at least. 

I loved that Eli asked that question and never really heard Jimmy's take on it.  As a spectator, very interesting to hear them talk and comparing the then and now perspectives.

But once again, Spencer's constant motor-boating into my arms or the air with spittle flying about added a certain lighthearted realization that we have our kids to help us get through this injury. Something I think Charissa will learn as well.

The crawling on the therapy mats, the fascination with the wheelchair, the vent tubing, the injury-related items that Spencer has now made her toys. It will be a part of her childhood, and her fascination with it all makes the injury feel normal, even special.

The meetings with these special people are so meaningful for us. Probably more than they know. It helps us to realize how far we've come and allows us to become cheerleaders for these folks who are following in our footsteps, so to speak. 

For Eli: figuring out life after the injury and Shepherd, figuring out technology, learning acceptance, being a Dad in a wheelchair.

For Charissa: the exhausted caretaker not willing to venture too far from The Shepherd Center just yet, learning to take small moments for herself, gearing up to be a mom while still figuring out the injury.

We're rooting for you guys! We're so glad to have met you. We're here to tell you it can be done and there is life after the injury.

Just keep going.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Two Great Grandparents

My parents are here to love on their Grandbaby girl. And she loves them right back to pieces. 

Yesterday, Spencer got to help wish Mom a happy birthday and today is Mom and Dad's 30th (!!) wedding anniversary! 

These two have been pillars in our lives and we don't know what we'd do without them. 

Happy birthday, Mom. Happy anniversary, Mom and Dad. You two have gone above and beyond as Grandparents for our sweet baby.  Thanks for always caring. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Married One Month

Instagram says this picture was posted 213 weeks ago. The caption reads: Married One Month. Oh, the ease of just sleeping next to each other. Our only worries were snoring, cold feet, hogging the covers and on-call calls. 

Such happy, honeymoon times right as we were about to move into our new apartment and then abruptly shoved into our new lives. It wouldn't be long after this. 

Missing this guy in bed tonight.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Fourth Year

Jimmy and Spencer, 8.8.2015

This morning probably started like any other Life Day in the past. In sadness. I wanted to be alone with my memories, the hurt and the pain. I would allow myself to revisit it all since it was in fact, August the 8th. 

Today marks four years since Jimmy was paralyzed in a car accident. 

Spencer woke up around 5:10 this morning (she's teething...) and went back down around 7 for a few more hours. At 7, I had started to write was turning out to be a really depressing blog post on the injury and Life Day #4. I'm glad I didn't post it. I hadn't given the day a fair chance yet. 

After feeding Jimmy breakfast, Spencer and I went to the gym and then picked up some lunch. We came home and he was up, somewhat energetic, and happy to see us. We all ate together in the living room with the patio french-doors open. Spencer with her purees, me with my salad, and Jimmy with his calzone. Feeding three mouths at a time. Only once did I try to give Spencer Dadda's calzone. And then only once did I try to give Dadda some baby food puree. (5:10 in the morning...)

We spent the rest of the day out on the patio. We played on our phones and I gave Jimmy a shave. He had his brown liquor drink to celebrate all the shiz he's been through and lived through. But really... we just stared at our daughter, played with her and laughed with her.

That's the difference this year. It's her. 

Everything else seems the same. Although this year - wowza. Had a close call, didn't we? Most of the time it's the infections, the fatigue, the staffing, the appointments, the medication, the nutrition, the whatever! Any given time, it's always something.

This morning, though, I just wanted to wallow. I pulled the blanket up to my eyes. I looked out the window and let my mind travel down that road. I cried.I continue to grieve. I thought about the what-ifs. Four year sounds like such a long time. I have to make myself to think about our life before, think about Jimmy before. I don't want those lively, warm memories to fade. Jimmy's walk. The clothes he picked for himself every morning. His work ethic. The food he used to cook. His handwriting. What we did the day before the accident. What we did the weekend before the accident.  The little gifts and gestures. Some of that has bled through, of course. He's still very much here. But it's definitely two completely different lives. Our old life and the new one. 

For the most part, I think we're content in this life. We've settled in, even among the pain and the scars. We've got a routine to help get us up in the morning. It helps us to keep going. We just have to keep going.

Because let me tell you something: nine month-old baby girls don't care if you're sad. They still need Mama cuddles and full-on entertaining in the morning. And they want to be walked into Dadda's room for morning time there, too. No wallowing. Get it together. 

We made the best out of our August 8th of this year. Even with Jimmy only up for four hours in his chair. Even with me running on fumes. Even with Spencer teething and a bit fussy...

We had our day. We had our happiness today.