Everything is falling into place. I still can't believe how fast time has gone by and that there's only two more days until we leave...and our lives will change forever. Hopefully for the better!
My sister is on her way today, with her five children, to come stay at our house for a while to watch my three middle children while I'm gone. My other sister is busy being sick (hoping it's allergies), but she'll be on her way soon to be with me at transplant once we get that sorted out. My little niece, who isn't so little anymore, is preparing to come to transplant with me as well (this is a new addition to the "fellowship of the transplant"). My other sister is preparing to help sister-with-five-kids to take care of the kids here and will also have them some of the time.
Everyone at church seems to have stepped forward, willing to help and mother our babies while I'm gone. Friends, even far away ones, are stepping in and wanting to send packages and make sure our children know they are thought of and not forgotten.
It brings me to tears how amazing people are.
We're not often in a position where we truly need help. But we are now, and we haven't hardly had to ask anyone for anything. It helps an overwhelming situation not feel so overwhelming. It makes you see the importance of service and charity and taking care of one another...in a different light.
The special stuffed animals, for the kids that are staying home, are here. Right now they are sitting in my closet. Waiting for me to record my message for each of them. I look at them and my heart skips a beat, as I realize how important these little stuffed animals will be to my three middle ones. I'll be able to record a message for them on it, leave my hugs on them, and leave them for my babies staying home, so they can hug me any time they need to (via the stuffed rabbits/bear).
Our amazing donor has been responding to appointments and further testing, and we have two equally qualified donors as backup, should we need them (all are 9/10 matches).
My mom has had to get a job, and we thought we weren't going to be able to see her before we go. But her job ended up sending her to Dallas for training. She was able to "quarantine" (we don't want Emma getting sick), and so we saw her from Friday until Sunday. She had a hard time leaving...but she got to spend a lot of time with Emma. We got to have important talks and remember what the life is really about.
(sorry for catching you in such a weird expression Mom, but I like how Emma put makeup on her, as well as labeled her as Emma's across her forehead!)
Friday we were able to go swimming (drs approved it). Emma wanted to swim one last time before we go:
My niece is the one in the photo with them. It was too cold to get in the water. It was only 91 degrees outside, I think! But the kids had fun while they lasted. (I couldn't see well enough through the phone to see my finger was in the photo!).
Pretti Little Parties
We had our farewell & birthday party on Saturday, which was a party that included all our kids, and we celebrated the birthdays that we won't be able to celebrate together while we're apart. A friend from church, who throws these amazing parties for kids, offered to do it for us. It was awesome. I don't have the photos yet...beyond this one. The girls were fairies. They each had a special name. Violet was "the happy fairy". This is a photo of Rhys. I think her name should be "the wedgy fairy".
If you're local, and you want an awesome party for your kids, I highly recommend them!
Sunday was Fast Sunday at church (where we fast & pray). The ward held a special fast for Emma. We can't usually attend (because it's super germy at church!), but I went and was able to share my testimony and share Emma's amazing little testimony that she told us. I'll share her testimony at the end of this.
This was just a few minutes before Grandma left. TS didn't want to be in the photo. I thought this was really sweet.
It's really happening. We're really leaving. Emma is really going to have her transplant.
I'm really going to have to leave this man...and not get to watch him do silly things...like duck duck goose with only one child:
Our hearts are full, with lots of feelings. One is a feeling of peace. We know this is right. So, there isn't any nagging feeling or any questioning of decisions. It's more of a realization of actually having to go through it. I'm surprised at how hard it is...right now it's the difficulty of leaving my husband and our other babies. I can't stand to work outside the home or send them to school because I'd miss them so much! But, yet, here we are...soon to be separated for so long. (hoping for a visit in there somehow!)
And, as we watch Emma, we wonder if these are her "lasts". We don't do it in any negative way...or lack of faith...just reality of our situation. We know plenty of kids who don't make it through - and plenty who do - and while we believe she will make it through, we also accept the place where we are, and the reality of the situation. We place our faith in God, we know he can heal all things. But ultimately, our faith is in his son, Jesus Christ, and that he's conquered death, there is eternal life, and families are forever. We know that death is truly just a new beginning. Holding to that brings us immense peace as we consider all the "what ifs".
We still hope and believe that we are bringing Emma home...healed of her bone marrow failure (not of FA, as there is no cure), but if that's not what happens, we find
You can read Emma's testimony HERE.