Anniversary means cake right??

Tonight I did what we often do, I tucked Mr O into bed and said goodnight and then hastened to clean him up after he threw up all of his dinner all through his bed. I changed his sheets and his pajamas, and then I basically force fed him, so that he would have something in his tummy again, and would be able to sleep without waking hungry. He cried a little after he threw up, then he sat on my lap and took all the food I gave him, without a sound, just swallowed it all and then got into bed again. I sat beside him until he fell asleep and then I rinsed all the linen and clothes and put the washing on. Then I stood in the kitchen and cried for a while. Because cleaning up vomit is misery, and force feeding your kid is awful and because its exhausting when it’s your normal. 
But then I thought about the fact that it’s November and in a couple of weeks it will have been one full entire YEAR since we took out his nasogastric tube. We used to change his linen 4-6x and put through 3 loads of washing every single day. Taking out that tube reduced his vomit significantly the minute we took it out. Things are so, so, so very much better than they were. 

He used to refuse anything and everything orally, he wouldn’t drink milk or water, and we would celebrate the tiniest mouthful. He started with yoghurt, custard and chocolate milk, and we counted the mls and the grams and we eased him slowly onto food he had to chew. He choked and gagged, threw up, refused, and then he chewed and swallowed and asked for food. I vividly remember the day he yelled for water and gulped from a sippy cup (yes, I probably cried). Tonight (pre vomit that is) he ate rice, smoked salmon, cucumber, and tortilla. He sits at the table with us for dinner and he scoops up curry with a spoon, stabs at pasta with a fork and he loves trying to eat corn. True, the majority of his ‘filling’ intake still comes from yoghurt, and true, he’s only just got over 10kg, but he eats on his own and he loves it. That is phenomenal progress. 

I haven’t written anything for a long time because the days this year are just flying by, but I’ve done a lot of reflecting this last week and as we come around to another Christmas (how, how is it November???) I want to tell anyone who is in the middle of misery that there will be improvement. It may not be until next November that you’ll be able to see it. But it will come. 

There will still be more spew in our house and I know we will still worry about food and growth and development. 

It’s just life now. 

But life now is also Mr O yelling “we love it” as he fills his mouth with Greek yoghurt, and me warning him it’ll be quite spicy if he decides to bite into the entire spring onion, and sitting next to him in the sun with a plate full of strawberries knowing he won’t choke on them anymore. 

I want to make him a Tube Wean anniversary cake, any ideas? 

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Surrounded by happiness 

Here we are again, Christmas Eve, how does it come around so fast??


Things are very different in our house this Christmas, the biggest being that tomorrow morning our boy will eat Christmas bread with us for breakfast and he will nibble on pork and potatoes, pie and cake. One month of our new life, our tube free life, and we are getting to know a completely different child. 

The growth is slow, but there is growth. His favourite foods don’t make up a balanced diet, but he has favourite foods, so we don’t care. There is no vomit. What goes in, stays in. 

There is so much goodness. So much happiness. So much freedom. 

Tonight Santa is coming and he’s bringing spoons and a drink bottle and chocolates. A month ago Santa wouldn’t have bothered with all of that. What a waste, he would have said, that child doesn’t eat. 

The other morning I said “hurry up Oliver and eat your toast”, then I sat on the kitchen floor and cried because Oliver was eating toast (with butter and Vegemite, of course!). 

Small things that other people take for granted are huge in our house, and in the houses of so many preemies. On Thursday he learnt to suck from a straw. He’s 19 months old, but having never used a bottle he didn’t have the suck/drink rhythm. Granted it has to be a squeezable container as I need to squeeze the first mouthful for him, but once it starts he’s off (we had a little hand clapping ecstatic party after that first drink). 

So, so many joyous wonderful things that make this Christmas so much happier than the last. I know this is the same for so many families. 

So why do we feel so sad? 

I spoke with a friend recently about this, when things are ‘good’ yet you feel so low, and you feel lower because you feel bad that you are not just happy for all the goodness. 

But then another friend told me that it never stops, it never gets easier, it will always be sad. 

So somehow it feels okay to be sad when you’re surrounded by happiness. 

I’m sad because there’s a Santa stocking missing. Because when Oliver crawls on the floor to his toys he’s going to show them to me, not to his brother. Because when he wakes from his sleep he cries for us instead of chatting to his twin. 

And I’m sad because now that he doesn’t have a tube we don’t talk about Charlie as much. 

Olives tube was a physical, visual trigger for people to ask about his story. It made people stop and look and wonder, and on the days when I felt brave it helped me to tell their story. 

Now, although he is little, Oliver just looks like a kid, same as every other kid. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy about this, I don’t want him tube fed. But I do want to explain why I miss it. 

I miss having it there to tell me it’s okay that you still want to cry all the time. I miss it telling me that it’s okay that you don’t always feel happy around other kids. I miss it telling me that it’s okay that you don’t go to this or that event. 

And I miss that it started the conversation for me, so that I didn’t have to do it myself. 

It’s up to me now, to make Charlie real and to tell the story of both my children. I don’t think I’m ready yet but I hope that as we roll over into a new year that I will be able to learn to start the conversation myself. 

Until then, I will feed Oliver chocolate yoghurt, light a candle for Charlie and talk to the people who let you be sad when you’re surrounded by happiness. 

It seems so impossible to want something gone for so long and then when it actually might be truly going suddenly feeling so incredibly sad about it. 
Oliver is 18 months old and has been fed by nasogastric tube for his entire life. Tomorrow we take it out, as part of our attempt to wean him from the tube. He’s not drinking milk, he’s not eating much, but the idea is that he will become so incredibly hungry that he will start to eat and drink. It’s a form of torture really. But it’s the way that science tells us is most effective. 

I primed the new feed line tonight for the last time. I opened the purple pack and threw out the pieces we don’t use and I screwed it into the bottle and primed the line with milk. 

And I cried. 

I don’t want to have to prime a line to feed my child but it’s all I know. 

I cried because we are going into the unknown, a place of fear and hunger and dehydration. I cried because I’m a woman of routine and this is what I do every single night, how do I make a new routine? I cried because I was sad, because although it wasn’t what I wanted, it has become our normal, our way, and I will miss it.

And I cried because I feel like I’m taking part of my son away from him. 

He is chatty and he smiles all the time, he’s not a big crier and he’s in love with cars and oven doors and balls, and he’s a tubie. It’s part of him. The tube, the tape, the pump and line, the adapters and syringes; they are Oliver. 

His face is a blocked nostril and some duoderm and hypafix, a bridge, a loop and an anchor. I’ve never spent more than an hour looking at both of his empty cheeks in the last year. 

I don’t even know what he truly looks like. 

He crawls along and throws the tube over his shoulder when it dangles in the way. He nibbles the end sometimes and he swings the feed line against the side of his cot when he wakes up in the morning. He lies still while we change his tape and he lets us because it’s just part of his day. 

It shouldn’t be part of his identity but it is. And we are taking it away. 

In the dark of the night I can make him hate me for this, even though I know that’s ridiculous. But I can imagine him wondering why his cheek feels cold, and struggling to fall asleep because his tummy isn’t being filled up with milk while we rock. I can see him become more tired and dehydrated as the time since his last tube feed goes by, see him wonder why he feels so funny in his tummy and why things aren’t happening the way they used to. 

And I hope he will forgive us for the misery and discomfort we are putting him through. I hope he can understand in a years time when he’s eating macaroni cheese that we challenged him and were hard on him and his body so that he could enjoy his dinner without having to hook up to a pump and sit still while his tummy fills. 

And who knows, maybe we will only get a day to look at those little cheeks, but maybe we will get a lifetime. So tonight I’m trying to commit to memory who Oliver is as a tubie, and to enjoy the last few feeds that I hated for so long, because they are part of our history and they deserve to be remembered. They tell a story of how hard we worked to help him grow so that he could be brave and strong and here. 

Why I’m a working mumma

 

I don’t know why I always feel like I have to start these posts with a disclaimer, but I do… I LOVE being at home with my boy. I love playing with him, teaching him, comforting him, I love the bond we have and there’s not a single moment that I don’t want to be with him. But yes, I still go to work.

I’m going to list all the reasons that I go to work, all the reasons why I risk my child becoming an axe-wielding psychopath by not being a stay-at-home mum.

Firstly, hats off to all the mums out there who don’t work, who have decided that being at home with their kids is their thing and embracing it; you are amazing, your kids are amazing and you deserve a huge medal and a massive glass of wine at the end of EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Because your job is hard work.

(And don’t worry, your kid will be a psychopath anyway because you swaddled/rocked/let them watch tv/fed them chocolate milk etc).

I didn’t work for a long time. It was the way it had to be for us, to learn to care for our child who needed more than just the usual parenting, he needed medical supplies and a huge hospital stay, he needed parents who were solely focused on him to ensure he grew, and developed. So work was out of the question for a while, and then, one day, it sort of just came back in again.

I work because I love my job. It doesn’t mean I don’t love my child, it means that I have multiple things that I love in different ways and to have a balanced, happy life I need to keep a little of all the things I love going.

I work because I choose to work, because I studied for a long time in a subject that I’m passionate about and I didn’t spend that time and money studying to not utilise the skills I learnt (that was my first degree, you know, the one that you do just because and then never use…).

I work because I want Oliver to grow up seeing that mum’s and dad’s and men and women have varied roles and there’s nothing that defines what you can and can’t do. I want him to know that life is not about one thing or the other, it’s about one thing and the other, and the other and the other, because you can fill your life with so many things and it’s magical.

I work because unfortunately money is important and bringing a little extra cash in to help provide for our family makes me feel good and gives us a little more freedom.

I work because I’m lucky enough to have a fantastic support network that helps us everyday by loving and caring for our boy.

And I work because I existed before I was a parent.

This is the absolute biggest, most important one for me. So many people say their lives started when they had children, they didn’t know what meaning was until they held their child and I’m so happy for them, so glad that they have found the thing in their life that makes the sun shine and is the reason they get up in the morning. But my life didn’t start when I had children; my life existed before I was pregnant. I studied and worked, I danced and ran, I baked and ate and travelled and I loved it all so much. I don’t think you should lose who you are as a person just because you have had kids. Having children doesn’t mean I automatically stopped loving those things and didn’t need them anymore. Yes, we often have to take a break from them, to figure out how the heck to be a parent (Still trying to figure it out most days…). But slowly and surely you get little bits of yourself back and that is amazing. You get up one day and bake a cake, or run around the block and your body says ‘hello there old friend, it’s nice to see you again’, and you smile and try to slowly fit those things back into your life. And you should. You should try and fit other things into your life because you are a person, an individual. You are a man or a woman, as well as being a mum or a dad. You are a teacher or an electrician, you are a reader, writer, baker, knitter, and it’s okay to want to make time for those things again. It’s okay to get up in the morning on the day you go to work and be excited about that, it doesn’t mean you wont miss your children, of course you will. But how beautiful is it to get home at the end of the day and wrap them tightly in your arms and breathe them in knowing you are caring for them, while also caring for yourself?

I work because I am a nurse and I will always be a nurse.

Just like I’m a mum and I will always be a mum.image1

Congratulations on your Ph.D!

Parenting is this weird thing where you make it up as you go along and hope like hell your kid won’t end up an axe murderer. (Where’s the fingers crossed emoji, seriously!!?)

You spend a lot of time saying ‘I don’t know’ and hoping that the choice you made around that thing you didn’t know will end up being the right one. It’s somehow, confusingly, innate, this ability to bluff it and have it work out okay. And I think I’ve decided it’s mostly to do with trusting your gut. 
It’s about knowing that you are the authority on your child. No one else has studied them more than you have. No one else knows the different sounds they make when they breathe, or the cry for food in comparison to the cry for sleep. And although it seems like you don’t know these things yourself half the time, you do. You really, truly do. 

But it’s hard to trust your gut sometimes. There are people at all hours of the day telling you what’s best, how to get your child to sleep, or to eat. What it means when your child is unsettled, or unwell. It’s so, so easy to question what your instincts are telling you and agree with something that doesn’t fit for you. 

When this happens I tend to go for help, and to be honest it’s always been around whether or not my child is unwell. 

We find it extremely difficult to differentiate between unwell and unwell unwell. Which, when you put it like that, seems understandable because what the hell does that even mean? 

For us it means do we continue at home or do we need to go in? 

The hardest part about this is that it doesn’t seem to matter what the primary issue is, the big problem for us becomes the feeding. 

Twice in the last few weeks we have had to decide whether we need extra help. We had some immunisations last week and as usual the nurse explains to you that some children can develop a temperature and that this is okay, it will pass. So when Mr O was febrile that evening we just prepared ourselves for an unsettled night and waited it out. But then it just kept going, temperature peaking over and over again all day and all the next night. We cut his feeds, gave him syringe after syringe of water down his tube and although we started to wonder, we still assumed and were told by many that it’s ‘just the imms’. Without speaking of it we both spent the next night becoming more convinced that things weren’t right. 

But I still couldn’t just trust my gut. Instinct was telling me, take him in. But I didn’t. Instead I went for help. Help told me to take him in, this is not okay, a temperature of over 38 for 6 hours or so is okay after imms, a temp of over 39 for 48 hours is not the imms. 

So we are back home with a hydration plan and a low threshold for going back in. But we are also back home with a strong conviction; if your instinct is telling you something. Follow it. 

If your gut says swaddle, then swaddle. If it says formula or it says breast milk, then do it. If it says this is normal then, more often than not, it’s normal. And if it’s telling you it’s not okay. Then it’s not okay. 
Trust your gut. 

You’ve got the Ph.D on your kid. 

5 reasons I’m happy I had a NICU baby.

Now the title gives you the impression I’m happy my boys were NICU babies. Trust me, I’m not. I would give anything to go back, to change it, so that they were both still with us, healthy and happy. So that we weren’t fighting a battle of grief while we fight a battle of feeding, so that we would have the life we dreamed of. But that’s not the reality, for us, and for so many families of premature or unwell babies. 

People who mean well tell us over and over again to ‘be happy’ about this and ‘be positive’ about that, and I’m sure you understand when I say some days you want to yell at them, that there’s nothing at all in the happy and positive box right now, it’s empty!!! 

However, on the days where the tunnel is black and long and the light is non-existent I have found myself focusing on 5 small things that could potentially be put into that happy/positive box to be looked at later, and maybe some of you have the same. 

1. Routine- right from the minute a preemie is born they are in a strict routine, cares, feeds, meds, turns, it all happens to a timetable and continues that way whether you’re in there for 5 days or 5 months. Our Oliver came home after 6 months on a four hourly feeding regime, sleeps that lined up with his feeds and a mind and body that were so in tune to this that on the days I need to change it he struggles. But when I’m tired and stressed, knowing there’s a daily plan and that it won’t change is such a relief. When my pregnancy and birth all completely lost control I sought comfort in the control I gained from routine. There’s something empowering about knowing your child sleeps and eats at his specific times when you watch others fight to create a routine. Yes we didn’t get to breast feed, and I’ll grieve that forever, but we never had 5 hours of cluster feeding every night either. 

2. Hats- I have watched so many children fight their parents as they try to put hats on them. Or rip the hats off as soon as the parent’s back is turned. It looks exhausting and stressful, especially in the winter months. Oliver has never in his life taken off a hat I’ve put on him. He spent months having his little head squeezed into a CPAP hat, had it fastened under his chin and only taken off for a maximum of 3 minutes at a time. From the day he left the incubator he has worn a hat, to help him regulate his temperature, to protect his eyes, to look cute!! CPAP kept my baby alive, but it also taught him to wear a hat. 

3. Sleep in bed- it’s one of the hardest part of every day in the NICU, going home and leaving your baby there. These mum’s didn’t get skin to skin at birth, they hold their baby but it’s brief and terrifying, and then the rest of the day their baby is in its bed. I have always been a firm advocate of sleeping babies in their beds, on their backs, to keep them safe. This was encouraged in the NICU, as so many babies have respiratory struggles, and babies always slept in their bassinets and cots. There have only been a handful of nights since we have been at home that I have struggled to get Oliver to sleep in his bed. In fact we have the opposite in that he’s older and bigger now and every now and then I’d love a few extra minutes snoozing with him in our big bed. But he just cannot do it, it’s not his sleep space and he’s just so tuned to sleep in his bed that the minute he’s in our bed his eyes are open and he’s in playtime mode! When I see mum’s pacing the house because they can’t put their baby down I try to be thankful for my boy and his bed. 

4. Tough- this one is such a double edged sword. My little boy is tough, and his NICU buddies are tough. But they are tough because they have been through hell. They have had so many heel pricks their little heels will be scarred for life. They have been poked and prodded by so many people they don’t have fear anymore. As parents our hearts have broken over and over again watching them in pain and struggling to breathe, or to move. Yet now, they hurt themselves and they keep playing, they get immunisations and they just smile at the nurse, they have blood tests and they play with their mobile above them, or they read books. These kids are tough. It’s amazing how resilient they are, how strongly and bravely they face each day. And I’m proud of Oliver for this. 

5. Friends- this is not a small one. This is a huge one. On the hardest, longest days, when it feels like it won’t ever get better and no one else even remotely understands, I am happy I was in the NICU with my babies. I am happy because I now have a small group of friends who completely and utterly understand the things we struggle with each day. They have been there, they have done that, they are in the thick of it with us. I love all my friends and family, but there’s something different about the people you meet on your Nicu journey. So as much as I dream of going back and changing it, I would also be sad, because then I wouldn’t have met such an inspirational group of superhero parents. 

Sometimes it feels impossible to see the good in the mud when you’re trudging, but NICU parents, I hope that maybe a couple of these make it into your happy and positive box so that you can take them out when you need them. Xx

See you on the other side. 

I went to the supermarket today. It was the last time our boy will go to the supermarket for the next three months. I sat in a cafe with him earlier in the week, it was the last time he will sit inside at a cafe for the next three months. We are off to a big gathering of people tomorrow, it’s the last group gathering he will go to for the next three months. 
I posted a little preparation to this back in April, but it’s here, it’s RSV season. So if we want our boy to stay away from a ventilator, if we want him to continue to grow up without added respiratory issues, if we want him to continue to slowly improve his eating then we need to do our very best to avoid him picking up RSV. Because it’s that easy, he could just pick up a toy or touch a table that someone carrying the RSV virus has touched after coughing into their hand and we’re toast. 

Here is the link to my previous post around RSV for a refresher: 

https://charlieandoliver.wordpress.com/2016/03/29/tis-the-season/
So the rules are back in full force folks. 

Please do NOT visit if you or someone near you has been sick (tickle in your throat? Sick. Drippy nose? Sick. Coughing? Sick. Feeling ‘under the weather’? Sick.) 

Please wash your hands thoroughly on arrival to our house and then use the sterigel provided roughly 10,000 times during your visit. 

Please understand when we decline your invitation to lunch or coffee. 

Please understand when we request to see you one at a time rather than all at once. 

Please remember this little boy has been on a ventilator three times in his short life and we are NOT aiming for a fourth. 

Please understand that we have already had to let one dream go and we are not for one second willing to risk his brother. 

It’s just three months folks, we are already planning the mischief we can get up to once it’s done! 

There is always cake.

I am a big birthday person. I LOVE them. Like really love them. They are full of happiness, kindness, excitement and just really damn special. I’ve always tried to have things planned (mostly the food) and the more people you can share it with the better. Which is lucky because my husband is one of those miserable about being a year older kind of birthday people and his is the day before mine. Someone has to make that week fun!!! 
For a birthday enjoyer to be honest I’ve had my fair share of crappy birthdays. There was that one at primary school when I had a raging pneumonia. Then the one at intermediate where I was literally DYING of tonsillitis, in fact I’m pretty sure there have been at least three tonsillitis birthdays (don’t worry, those bad boys have been removed, life is so much better but that’s a story for another day). My dad passed away two days before my 20th birthday, so I was pretty keen for birthdays not to exist that year. And to be honest ever since then they have had this shadow over them that is hard to shake. 

This year although I still made sure my birthday had some excellent food and a little fun it wasn’t the most significant birthday in my mind anymore. It’s amazing (and everyone tells you this but you still don’t quite get it) how everything that was important in your life before children really doesn’t matter once you have them. Now, the only birthday of true significance is Charlie and Oliver’s. 

I know a lot of people struggle with our approach sometimes, we do tend to focus on the hard stuff, the sad stuff, the stuff that tears you apart. And so when we decided to take this first birthday as our day to fall apart I was reminded by so many people to celebrate the year milestone and the good things and how well Oliver is doing. But honestly, that isn’t what I wanted or needed to do. I want to do that for every single birthday he has after this one. I want there to be parties and friends, family, food and fun. I don’t want shadows on Oliver’s day because that’s not fair. But to do that we needed to have one big dark shadowy birthday. So that next year when the 29th of May comes around we know we have mourned the day and we can let the light in.   

So thank you for letting us do yet another thing our way. Thank you for missing us while we are away and for giving us the space to just be. And thank you, massive massive thank you, to everyone who popped a little something into Oliver’s NICU birthday present. We are off to a fantastic start!! 
https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/charlieandoliver


 

I was grumpy yesterday, sorry.

I’m super positive and encouraging and I tell Oliver 20 million times a day how proud of him I am, and how well we think he’s doing. But damnit some days I’m sick of it. 
I’m sick of the positive attitude and the ‘it’ll get better soon’ mentality. Im sick of the feeding pump alarm, and rinsing the giving sets. I’m sick of the medications that need to be before his feeds, but not too close or he will just throw it and all of the milk straight back up again. I’m sick of leaping out of bed every single morning to clean up his vomit, and then catch the next three while I hold him and try to convince him it’s okay to sleep again. I’m sick of rocking him to sleep because he can’t settle himself because there’s always milk filling his belly and he hates it. I’m sick of throwing away piles of food because he won’t or can’t eat it. I’m sick of trying 10 different spoons every meal to convince him to open his mouth. I’m sick of getting my hopes up yesterday because he ate 30g of food and then being bitterly disappointed today because I couldn’t convince him to eat 3g of food. I’m sick of being scared when he is eating that we will go too far and he will just throw it up anyway. I’m sick of trying to keep him happy and distracted because he’s so tired all day long because he doesn’t get enough energy from his meals. I’m sick of having to keep him awake when all he wants is to sleep because it’s not a feed time and if he sleeps now and not with the feed then I’ve gotta hold him for the hour feed and stand on a towel for when he throws it all up. I’m sick of having to time every single second of our lives around his feeding. I’m sick of crying after I put a new NG tube down his nose, because he looked at me through his tear stained eyes as I did it and I knew he hated it. I’m sick of retaping his face knowing every time it makes him more and more adverse to people touching his face. I’m sick of forcing him to do his exercises for fear of him becoming developmentally delayed. I’m sick of hoping someone will give us an answer and never, ever getting one. And I’m completely and utterly sick of getting frustrated at Oliver when I know that not one single thing in this big horrible list is his fault. 

He’s doing his complete, absolute best. And I’m even sick of that. I’m sick of him having to do his best when he should just be able to do what he wants and that’s all that should matter. 

One day this won’t be how we live, I know that. But right now it’s all day, everyday. So I’m just taking a moment to tell the world how sick of it I am. And it’s okay to be sick of it. It doesn’t mean I don’t love Oliver or that I want to give up. In fact I think it means I love him so much I want everything to be different for him, he deserves better. So we breathe in, and out. And we make it as good as we can for him, as often as we can. And some days we breeze through. And some we don’t. And ain’t that just life? 

The Birthday Series: Part Two

May 29, 2016.

Last year we did nothing. We were pregnant. Then we weren’t and we were surviving. We didn’t have fun or go away anywhere. Winter is usually a time that we escape to the South Island and we tramp in the hills and breathe the mountain air, and end up thigh deep in snow because it’s always ‘the biggest storm of the winter’ halfway through our walks! 

Last winter we sat next to incubators and hoped.

This year, although getting out of the house for an hour sometimes feels like an impossible task, we are going away. We need a break and a change of scenery. We need a positive outlook and a confidence boost. We need mountains and we need space. Personally, and I can’t speak for William, but I need to be miles away from our house on the 29th of May. We are sorry to all of the people who will miss us (who am I kidding, not us, Oliver!!) and we are not going as a way to get away from visitors entirely. We love how many people love our boy and how much joy he gets from seeing and having cuddles with you all. But this isn’t about you. It’s about us. Which is extremely selfish, but also necessary. This entire journey we have tried to stay true to ourselves, because if you’ve gotta walk through hell you should be able to do it your own way. 

So we are off! 

Doing the crazy, impossible and daunting (you should see my lists!! I have a list of my lists, that’s how intense the planning is). We are heading to Queenstown for five long glorious weeks. We will walk by the lake, stare at the mountains, do short bush walks and snuggle inside on the stormy days. And reflect. We will reflect on the last 12 months and how we have changed and grown. I also plan to take some time to try and let go of some of my anger. Anger at the world for shaking our lives to the very core. Anger at all the people who get to have what we didn’t and never will. And anger at myself for everything I wish I’d done differently. I’m hoping to come back a better person. A more supportive and positive person. A little bit more of the person I used to be. 

And the 29th? We will not eat spaghetti the night before (that’s how trauma works, you remember the stupid little things…), we will wake up and hold Oliver tight. We will talk about Charlie together. We will cry. And we will breathe as the day rolls over into a new year. A better year.