We have decided that St. Jude's is the place for Ellie. We made the phone call and Ellie and Richard fly out Saturday morning. (this isn't gonna be an easy one to type) The plan I had started to create in my head on Sunday is pretty much what is going to happen...for now at least. Ellie will have to stay at St. Jude's for 4 months during her chemo and radiation treatments. I'm not exactly in "flight shape" being 36 weeks prego so Richard is going now. We are splitting our family...what I didn't want to do 3 days ago...I know it's the right thing...but the hardest. We talked to Noah to try our best to explain what will be happening. Teaching Noah that Ellie has a "tumor" in her brain was a very weird feeling. We explained that she has to go to a special hospital for kids (of course he then argued she's not a kid) and be given lots of special medicine to try and make the tumor go away. He began to cry, not out of crankiness but out of sadness and fear and said he wished his sister wasn't sick and it was scary. Another very hard moment to live through, but we did it, together.
Since we said yes..(not to the dress...that would probably have been much easier) things have happened very fast. Flights have been scheduled, baggage vouchers have been FedEx'd, things are starting to be packed. How the heck do you pack your two year old and husband up? Mom's always know what to pack...I'm at a loss. So in an attempt to feel a little human, Noah and I took off for our favorite store to get some stuff for our travelers. Maybe I felt like if we bought some fun stuff it would feel more like they were going on a fun trip, instead of a very long medical trip. Target usually brings much joy to my day, I usually end up with withdrawals when I haven't been there in a week. After our routine potty trip right as we walk through the doors, we set off...list in hand. All the groceries I thought to buy, all I could think was "there's only going to be two of us at home...we don't need that." And it's not like they won't be here for a few days...Ellie won't be back for months. Made it through the food with no tears. Then we turned the corner and there was all the Easter stuff. I won't see Ellie at Easter, Richard won't see new baby Sarah-Grace's (we picked a name by the way!) first Easter...tears coming! Next came the suitcases...the urge to buy her a big old Dora suitcase was strong...then I was sad she even needed to own a suitcase (I didn't get the suitcase.) As we browsed the stationary isle to find some paper and envelopes for Richard to take, I came across these super cute Pirate birthday party invites in clearance. Noah wants a Pirate birthday party...then I realized I wouldn't be around for his birthday in June...more tears. The reality of what our family was about to go through was sinking in more and more with each aisle. It was all I could do to get through check out without falling apart.
Since we've made this choice, I have tried very hard not to think about the things I am going to miss or the things Richard is going to miss. Every email I get about something else St. Jude's is doing for our family, I am so thankful for them, but sad that I won't be there with them to experience it. My heart aches thinking Richard won't be here for the new baby, but so thankful for family close by to step in. I melt thinking about what hair bows to pack for my girl...oh her hair, next time I see her will she have any...good thing her Mommy makes really cute hats! See this is why I try not to think about it, because it hurts so bad. This house is going to be so empty without my sticker crazy, dancing and singing fool (no not Richard)
Even though Ellie and Noah are constantly picking at each other, I try to remember this isn't going to happen again for a long time. I am trying to suck up every minute of her I can because I know just how much I'm going to miss her while she's away. Not being able to hold her when she's sick or having a bad day, not being there to learn all the stuff they Richard is going to be introduced to, when she starts to lose her hair - not being there to add a hair bow to make her feel beautiful - this is probably one of the hardest things ever. I know we will learn our strengths and probably have to work through a lot of weaknesses.
"But he said to me 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."
2 Corinthians 12:9
In spite of all this, I am encouraged every day by those around me. All the messages I get, texts, emails, just letting me know that we are helping others. We are helping people see Christ through us...that's such a blessing to me. The words don't always come out of my mouth right, but when I write I feel like I can share. I can share our story, our love, our God who is continually watching over us. He isn't giving us the easiest path, but I know he's going to be with me every step of the way. Every time Ellie has seen me cry, she comes to tell me "I wuv you Mommy"....something she has never said before she got sick. He is always finding ways to assure me that I am going to get through this, with a lot of tears but a whole lot of joy.
Ok so Target wasn't a total bust...
It's a princess piggy bank :) oh and that's her piggy nose!
Thank you again for all the cards, presents, emails, phone calls, texts, and financial gifts. We are continually grateful and wish we could reach out and thank everyone of you. Please know that you are helping us everyday!
Prayer, Praise and Pink
P.S. To all my VA friends...enjoy your snow day!!! I know we will!