It is the eve before Rudy’s 1st birthday and the memories of this time last year are both a big blur and so vivid. It feels like de ja vu as, like last year, we are busily preparing for the Rescue Mission’s annual fundraiser that is happening this Saturday. Rudy came just 3 days before the Bayou last year and I think we must have sent a few folks into a bit of a panic when news spread that we were at UCLA but it all worked out wonderfully…Rolf and I were able to make it back for the event after Rudy was safely settled in the CTICU and before his heart surgery the following Monday and I remember it being such an encouragement to be in the company of so many dear friends in the midst of our whirlwind start to our journey with Rudy.
Here we are a year later and I can’t help but remember the times in the CTICU when we were naive but also intuitive enough to know that the concerned look on the docs’ faces wasn’t a good sign…or the call I got from Dr. Marie when she told me they had to do CPR on Rudy and I RAN back to the hospital with tears streaming down my face terrified of what I’d find when I got there…or the week in December after several surgical procedures in a row when Rudy’s hair fell out and he looked like he had had ENOUGH! So many memories both hard and wonderful and tomorrow we add to the wonderful memories.
I’m not sure what I thought life would look like at this point but I do feel like we’re doing better than one would expect. I’ve been asked lately how we’re doing and I’d have to say we’re doing well. We are managing the essentials of home and family…our lawn may be dead, but our sheets are clean…our photos aren’t making it into the albums but homework is getting done and turned in on time. I think the most noticeable longterm side effect is our lack of energy…life feels pretty balanced when we are engaged in the normal routine but when something changes, is added to it or we are faced with a minor annoyance, Rolf and I notice the lack of reserve. This isn’t to say we don’t have our bad days or aren’t preoccupied by the stress of work, money, Rudy’s upcoming surgery, kid concerns, etc. but the big picture is blessed.
When we brought Rudy home from the hospital back in May, I remember hoping he’d be sitting up by his first birthday and, I suppose, we could obsess over all the things he’s not doing yet but the reality is he HAS come a long way. Four months ago, he was still looking predominently to his left unable to reach out and grab for objects. Now he is able to track with his eyes moving his head from side to side, he can grab his little paci toy and get it to his mouth, he is starting to roll to his side, he is kicking his legs in excitement and, of course, he is smiling more and more…that reasurring smile that absolutely brightens the room. He is even learning how to play “peek-a-boo” as demonstrated in the video below:
Bottom line: Our one-year-old is limited in ways but knows only LOVE, LOVE, LOVE and gives so much JOY, JOY, JOY. Rudy’s reality may not be perfect but it is rich. How grateful we are…