September 30, 2011

Life of Wilder: Week Forty-Four

Why does Wilder look cross-eyed in
this picture? Click to enlarge it and you'll
see that he's not. That's weird and 
bothersome, but it's the cutest one
of the dozen we took this week so I'm
going with it anyway.

This week has been more of the same -- just going back and forth between my parents' house and the hospital for the most part. It has been pretty exhausting, physically and emotionally. It's incredibly hard to see my dad get weaker every day. I always thought that, if something was serious enough to die from, it would take a person fairly quickly, at least in a matter of days, so watching him lie there for almost two weeks now has been confusing, frustrating, and heartbreaking. I keep thinking that we should be trying to do something to save him and then I hear the doctor's horrible words -- "aggressive" and "incurable" -- in my head and I deflate all over again. I know they're doing their best to manage his pain but I still feel like he's suffering and I hate it. Every day when I visit him I pray for God to have mercy on him. I'm not ready for him to be gone but I'm ready for this to be over for his sake. I hate cancer.

The only light in all of this is my sweet Wilder's smile. Playing with him and taking care of him takes my mind off what is going on for a little while. He is so mischievous these days. It has become almost impossible to change his diaper. He will not lie on his back for more than two seconds and is constantly threatening to smear his poopy booty all over whatever surface he's on when it comes time to change him. I may have to start doing like my friend Katie used to do -- prop him up against a wall and tell him to "Spread 'em" like a perp, haha. Especially if this keeps happening...
(By the way, that's a birthmark 
on his butt, not poop.)
 Look at that face he's giving me!
Totally delighted to have escaped.
The other day we took him to visit Grana's work and he "helped" sort through some products in the warehouse. (Yes, she's been going into work a few hours a week while also taking care of my dad and sleeping at the hospital. I don't know how she does it. She is an amazing woman.)
One afternoon we visited Paul's grandparents, Mimi and Pop, who hadn't met Wilder yet. They had so much fun playing with him and he loved having a new house to explore. 
 Sitting in Mimi's rocking chair 
that she had as a baby -- I love
special pictures like this
Wilder gets so antsy at the hospital because he can't be on the floor so the other day we took him out to the Prayer Garden and he thought that was fantastic. He crawled all over the place...
 And tried to eat a rock...
 And then laughed at us, of course, when we told him "No!"...
Speaking of crawling, he's been doing a lot more of it this week. I would say he's about 60% army crawling/40% regular crawling now. It's so funny to watch him because he'll be crawling around on hands and knees and then see something that needs his immediate attention, drop down onto his belly, and speed off after it commando-style. He knows what gets him from Point A to Point B the fastest. 
This morning we took him to the West TN Research and Education Center to see their pumpkin display. It was a pretty cool design and all the different kinds of pumpkins were amazing. Made for some good photo opps, although Wilder was so distracted watching the other kids running around that we couldn't get him to smile for a picture for anything! These are the best we could do... Still pretty cute though :)
Wilder was in need of some sunglasses apparently
After visiting the hospital this afternoon we stopped by to visit one of Paul's best friends from high school. She has a three-month-old baby girl who we hadn't seen yet and she had never met Wilder either so it was fun to get together and catch up. I'm pretty sure Miss Hadley Kate is Wilder's future girlfriend ;)

Continuing with trying to focus on the positive, here are a few more things that have made me happy in spite of it all this week...

1) Seeing all the cards my dad has in his hospital room from friends and family -- 80 and counting as of today. He is much-loved.
 2) Seeing how happy it has made Wilder to have his daddy here the last two weeks. We've been able to spend some much-needed family time together.
3) Winning a gift certificate to a cute childrens' boutique in town -- Mags & Lulu. I can't wait to go check out their new store!

4) Receiving a care package all the way from my friend, Rachel, in San Diego. She is an awesome baker and sent some absolutely delicious chocolate chip cookies and banana-carrot-raisin bread that we have devoured and a couple of little toys for Wilder. What a good friend!

Well, I guess that's all for this week. I hope everyone has a good weekend. Thank you for continuing to encourage my family and pray for us!

September 27, 2011

Focusing on the Positive

It's been a week since we found out about my dad's prognosis. Every day since has pretty much looked the same -- playing at home with Wilder in the mornings, visits to the hospital in the afternoons, with a few half-hearted errands/dinners out/visits with family thrown in there out of necessity. These are the worst days of my life and it would be so easy to let go and fall into a canyon of despair except that I can't because of these two people...
I need to stay positive for Wilder. He deserves for me to be the best mother I can be, even when conditions aren't favorable for that outcome. I can't give in to the black hole of depression that I feel threatening to pull me in with every thought of losing my dad. Sadness is a part of life, of course, and I wouldn't be normal if I wasn't sad, even devastated, about such a huge loss but at times I feel like I'm walking the line between just crying myself to sleep at night and not being able to get out of bed at all. I can't let that happen. I have to continue to function and function well for Wilder's sake. 

I also refuse to give myself over to a crushing depression because every visit to my dad reminds me to focus on the positive. Not only is he still here, which is a big positive, but even in his weakened, foggy state he is still joking with the nurses, teasing his brothers, and making faces at Wilder. His attitude is inspiring. These are the worst days of his life too and he isn't lying there moaning and complaining-- he's trying to lighten things up and enjoy being around his family. Nothing makes him happier than to make people laugh and I feel like I would be dishonoring him if I moped around, hating the world, on his behalf. 

I'm trying my best to stay positive so here are a few things that are making me happy in spite of it all this week:

1) Getting to spend a lot of time with Paul on his break from school. His final year of Architecture school is about to start up next week and I'm trying to savor every moment with him before he dives headfirst into his thesis.

2) Seeing family love on Wilder. It does my heart good to see them being able to hug, kiss, and cuddle him instead of just looking at pictures of him and to see the joy he brings to all of them.

3) Getting my own domain name for my blog (which, by the way, you need to make note of or bookmark if you access the blog directly instead of through Facebook/Twitter/etc.). The new URL is Neato, huh? So official looking :)

4) Getting some great, professional, FREE photos of Wilder unexpectedly. There was a photographer documenting his little friend's birthday party that we went to back in August and my friend (his little friend's mom) got a CD with the rights to all the photos and shared the ones of Wilder with me. They are beyond cute and totally made my day today.
I'm determined to continue looking for little happies each day even as they get harder and harder to see beyond the sadness. Thank you for your continued prayers for my family, friends. They are truly being felt.

September 25, 2011

Life of Wilder: Week Forty-Three

My sweet Wilder will be 10 months old tomorrow! He gets more and more fun every day and is just such a sweetheart. That little boy is the light of my life and has been a ray of sunshine through everything we've been dealing with this week. Our families have been having such a good time loving on him and playing with him. He has made us laugh and smile through our tears and I've never been more thankful for him. My dad totally lights up and says, "Hey my Baby Wilder" every time we bring him up to the hospital. It just melts my heart.

So, Paul and I have made a big decision this week. We wanted to honor my dad in some way so we have decided to change Wilder's middle name to Rhea after my daddy. We like the name Roman but it didn't mean anything to us so this just made sense. In fact, I had been thinking about it, but wasn't sure what Paul would say or even if it was something reasonable to do. But when Paul got here on Tuesday he suggested it himself. Both of us just felt like it was the right thing to do and my dad was very touched when we told him. I can't tell you how thankful I am to be able to say all the things I need to to my dad while he's still here. It has given me such a peace with what's happening.

This week has mostly been spent going back and forth between my parents' house and the hospital. We'll wake up and play with Wilder in the morning and then head over to see my dad in the afternoon. Paul has been such a big help with Wilder this week and I'm so grateful that he's been here to hold me up. 
Watching the rain at the 
hospital with Grana
 At the hospital with Grand-Sally 
(my grandmother)
 Visiting the hospital yesterday in 
our MS State maroon
Being at the hospital is exhausting for Wilder because he has to either be held or be in the stroller the whole time so the other day we took him to check out one of Jackson's parks to try to burn off some energy before heading over to see my dad. 
I'm grateful to have been able to spend a lot of time with my brother and his wife this week too. They live in Mississippi so we were originally just going to see them this weekend at the Mississippi State game but with all that's going on they've been here in Jackson all week and it's been so wonderful to see them getting to know Wilder better and loving on him.
Wilder has also gotten to spend some time with Paul's dad and his grandparents, Mama Sue and Pappy, this week. They just eat him up and it is so sweet to see them with him. 
Last Saturday we went to the first birthday party of some friends' little boy. It was farm-themed and everything was sooo cute! Wilder had such a great time playing with his little friend's birthday presents. I think he thought it was his birthday! 
Trying to figure out how to take that trike apart ;)
On Friday we got to spend some time with Paul's sister Audra and her husband Michael who were in town for the weekend from North Carolina. They hadn't seen Wilder since he was a month old and were amazed at how much he's grown and changed. We had such a good time catching up with them and watching them play with Wilder.
Last night, instead of going to Starkville for the MS State game as we had originally planned, Paul and I and my brother and sister-in-law went out to eat at a restaurant that was showing the game while my cousin Maddie stayed at my parents' house with Wilder (Thank you, Maddie!). It was nice to get out of the house for a while and try to get our minds off things as much as possible. It wasn't a pretty game but we pulled off a win so that was OK with us. Plus, we just had a good time getting to hang out with William and Lauren, which we haven't been able to do in so long.
Wilder sported his MS State shirt
that my parents had
gotten him on their last trip
to Starkville in August
Wilder has been having such a good time exploring my parents' house all week. He is a total fool for their cat and chases her all over the place. Whenever he sees her he gets so excited and tries to meow at her, but it sounds more like a scream/squeal and it scares the crap out of her. 
"Meowing" at Evey
He's also been having fun playing with the different toys and non-toys they have...
Wilder has also learned a couple of new things this week. Last week, it was the questioning hand raise/shrug. This week it's pointing at everything and anything. And occasionally he'll combine the point and the hand raise as if to say "That right there. What is that?" It is so cute and has been providing much-needed comic relief all week.
He's also learned to climb the stairs. Oh joy. That's not something I was really eager for him to learn but he was determined and has finally gotten the hang of it (under direct supervision only, of course).
Here are a few more cute pictures from this week...
 Sitting in the rocking chair that
I had as a baby
 Checking out Uncle William's cool work boots
 Too busy for lunch
I just want to say thank you to everyone who has contacted me to say they are thinking about and praying for my family. We have felt so loved and cared for in the midst of this sad and dark time in our lives and all your sweet messages and comments mean so much to us. We would so appreciate it if you would continue to pray for comfort for my dad and for us.