Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Here We Are Again: Four Holidays Later

If I could do math, I'd calculate how many months, weeks, and days it's been since Wolf has spent a holiday at home. I'm not even sure we really know what "home" means to him, anymore.

For all the blessings heaped upon Wolf and our family this past year, we are also sad that he won't be with us again this year, on the last Thanksgiving and Christmas of his "childhood."

Oh, I know he is safe, warm, and loved where he is, and that his surrogate family will do their absolute best to make sure all the boys are treasured and gifted. But Wolf, like so many kids who don't "get" the whole concept of their disability, only wants to know why he is not home. Even after four Christmases away, he does not connect the dots from behavior to privilege to home.

It is not surprising, perhaps, that all the kids experience escalating behaviors around the holidays, which makes it harder for staff to enforce boundaries and families to just ask for a child to be "let off the hook" for the holidays. The irony is painful for the entire family. I'm tired of cutting and pasting together Christmas cards with single images, divided, instead of one, solid, family photo.

Bear told the dentist the other day that Wolf might be coming home for Christmas; interesting, because we have not talked about it at all. Wolf said today in the New Hour of Power that he just doesn't understand why, if he wanted to come home, that we wouldn't "let" him.

If only it were that easy, boys. I'd wish both of you together in a minute.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Simple Gifts

When Yukon texts me, I sometimes panic. Often in a hurry and failing to realize I read between the lines a teensy-bit too much, his fast messages like "Call plz" send me scrambling for the telephone, especially this week. This past month. Okay, for a long time.

We're officially seven months from the date of Yukon's accident that broke his elbow and forever changed our lives. We're three weeks from the latest surgery to unfreeze stubborn joints that, happily, seem to be staying mobile. And now we're three hours from the text message.

"Call me plz."

I did, gripping the phone with a sweaty hand, hoping and praying that what he had to say would be the beginning and not a U-turn from the past weeks and months of utter confusion and pain for all of us. I took a deep breath as Yukon's deep voice answered his cell phone, skipping my usual greeting and offering a query of "Well?"

"Everything's just great!" The words practically tumbled out of his mouth and into my willing ears; and it was. An ultrasound showed no blood clot and no veinous residual from previous clots. He'll have to be careful for long flights, and the risk factor, while low, is still present, but for one who is lucky to be walking the planet upright, that was more than enough good news.

Then he started to cry.

"I'm just so relieved," this unbelievably courageous father, son, and husband said. "I didn't want to worry anybody else, anymore."

The Aaron Copeland CD in my stereo began to play a favorite melody as we reaffirmed our "better/worse, richer/poorer, sickness/health" vows to one another over the telephone, a fitting ending to Yukon's best day, ever...

"Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free,
'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be-
And when we find ourselves in the place just right
It will be in the valley of love and delight."

Deep breath, Yukon. We did it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Winter is Here.

At least in Alaska....

Winter arrived with a bang this year after a prediction of "cold and dry" from the folks at NOAA. We woke up to 1" of snow Sunday morning, much to the absolute delight of Bear, who guessed the first day of snow dead on and won the Family Bet. Doubly exciting for him since this year was the first time he had chosen a day other than his birthday. (He is, right now, cashing in on that winning bet; pizza and Clone Wars DVD, btw.)

Halloween was an interesting day as well, with temperatures hovering around 22 degrees, causing my little Hansel to wear long underwear beneath his costume at school. Then, right as Yukon and Bear were heading out the door to canvass the neighborhood last night, a blizzard hit. And how. Sideways snow, gusty wind, and of course the now-Mummy-Skeleton-Zombie wouldn't wear a coat.

It was a very cold duo who showed up at home 30 minutes later. Took me at least 10 minutes to dust the top layer of snow off the remains of his costume. Yukon needed a hot toddy, too. But Halloween in Alaska sort of follows the US Postal Service motto:

"Neither rain, or snow, or gloom of night..."

Keeps an Alaskan kid from Trick or Treating..