After the kids went to bed, I felt great, thankful, joyful. Despite the fact that Nina had developed a headache (remediated quickly with Motrin), she had a lovely evening and went to bed in a good mood. She spent about 15 minutes ordering me to "tickle" here and "scratch" there. I tickled and scratched every inch of that bodacious body, while telling her all the things I love and admire about her. At one point, she was wiggling around a lot so I asked if she wanted me to stop talking (thinking my litany of all the ways I love her was bothering her). Through a yawn she said, "No, you can keep talking. Can you scratch right here.", pointing to a tiny spot between her two shoulder blades. Apparently, all the wiggling was because she didn't know how to reach her "itchy" spot :) Without much more ado, Nina fell asleep. Sweet honey-girl!
I went and checked on the boys and they were both passed out. It was 2am after all. I'd finally trapped them into showering earlier. What is it about little boys and bathing??? They seem to avoid it like the plague. I looked around and smiled, they had picked up their dirty clothes and put them away in the hamper. Good boys!!! I shut the curtains tightly so they could sleep in and took the cat downstairs so he wouldn't disturb them. Everyone was asleep, the house was peaceful.
I made myself a hot cup of coffee and proceeded to write my New Years blog entry. I wrote this entry with great enthusiasm and a sense of contentment. To put it simply, I was filled with immense gratitude for having my children safely in bed and for all the time we'd had with Nina. Every moment has been precious. Fairly quickly, I finished writing and adding the photos to the entry. Then I went to my YouTube site to copy over Nina's New Year message. As I looked through my videos I stumbled on one entitled "Cancer Prayers for Nina". I didn't recognize who had developed it but I clicked on it and then....my world came crashing.
The video is a compilation of photos of Nina and our family, beautifully put together with nice information about DIPG. However, watching this video (put together by a stranger), full of beautiful pictures of our honey-girl, seeing the progression of an "apparent" healthy, vivacious little girl to a child fighting for her life obliterated me from within!!!!!!!!!!!! I instantly started sobbing....not crying....sobbing, loud enough to where I had to cover my mouth with my scarf (yes it was cold and I had a scarf around my neck!). The video is only a few minutes long and I am thankful to whoever put it together but I must have sobbed for at least 20 minutes!!! I haven't cried that intensely and for that long for months!! I just sobbed and sobbed. I couldn't sleep so I edited a bunch of my posts. By the time I went to bed it was 5am, feeling decimated and outright heartbroken.
It shouldn't be a surprise that I didn't sleep well. Everyone slept in super late. By the time I rolled out of bed it was 11am. I went downstairs to the kitchen and what did I find....a smudged streak of shit on the floor, right next to the cat door!!! Perfect!! My new year was starting with SHIT!!! Great!!! Apparently Max (the cat) didn't quite make it to his kitty litter box. Maybe he got into the beer?!?! I called out to Max (wanting to smack him but restraining myself). He came to me from the living room and I started to laugh hysterically! He had Nina's ZuZu pet stuck to his tail!! He must have played with it an gotten the wheels tangled on his fur!! This is why the ZuZu pet comes with a warning to keep away from hair. Too bad Max can't read and follow directions. So after cleaning the shit off the ground and disinfecting the area, I proceeded to cut the ZuZu pet off of Max's tail. Now Max has a huge piece of black fur missing from his tail! Serves him right!!
I took a deep breath and decided to forget about the shit and just proceed with my original plan, make a huge breakfast and then take the kids to Campus Point for a hike. The kids gobbled up their pancakes with strawberries and whipped cream and bacon. Everyone was excited to go on a New Year's hike.
We went to Campus Point. It was slightly windy, but not terrible. Nothing was going to stop Teddy and Silas! They are like two energetic puppies. They just go and go and go!! The boys and Todd climbed up the bank to hike the trails while Nina and I stayed below searching for rocks and shells. After Todd and the boys were out of sight, Nina turned to me and said, "I want to go too Mama!" There is NO mountain too high or valley too low for this girl!!! I didn't hesitate a second! If she wanted to move that mountain then I'd be right there with her!!!
So....first I climbed up the steep hill with the stroller and left it at the top. Then I went back down for Nina. I asked if she wanted me to carry her and she said no. She wanted to walk it herself!!! Amazing will!!! I braced her from behind, holding her steady by bracing her under her armpits. Slowly but surely she climbed up that incline!! At the top, she looked behind her and said, "We did it!" Sweetness!!! She was so happy to have conquered that steep hill!!! I was so proud myself!!! The boys were shocked to see us! Ha!! Nina and I are the world's two most willful girls :)
Nina had an extraordinary time on the hike. The boys raced through the bluffs, crawling around like wild animals, trying to scare us. Periodically, we'd see Teddy's wild hair poking up through the brush....so funny...he looked like a baby porcupine! Once we climbed back down to the beach, we spent quite some time searching for shells and rocks. Teddy was so incredibly sweet to Nina; kept running up to her with beautiful rocks and shells he'd found. At one point, he spontaneously kissed her on the cheek. Nina beamed!!! I complimented him and he grinned from ear to ear, bursting with pride.
|Searching for shells and rocks!|
|"Here Nina, this one is pretty."|
By the time we got back to the car, I felt invigorated! My first day of 2011 had started off rocky, incredibly, terribly rocky. But like I had posted earlier...happiness is something we choose to create. I just need to keep facing my mountains like Nina does, with sheer, unrelenting will and gumption!!!