I've been so busy getting ready that I have a huge amount to update on. It's almost midnight, after a hard day, so I'm going to cross my fingers (hopefully not my sleepy eyes!) and hope this entry makes sense.
It's really important to me to document/keep a detailed journal of our experiences through all of this. So, I'll probably updating the blog better than I have through out this time. I'll also be doing a photo journal. I want to capture all that Emma goes through. Even the crappy stuff. She told me she was good with that too.
Firstly, on Tuesday, my sister from another part of Texas arrived with her five kids. She avoided people before she came in order to ensure Emma wouldn't get sick. Yes, we're paranoid that way. They came in time to spend some time with Emma. Plus, they are staying to watch my kids while I'm gone. Sisters are awesome.
I was on FB and saw that a friend had "liked" some photos. Turns out it was us on Tiny Sparrows page! Our photos were ready. I thought that was a funny way to discover that. Here's one of five photos. I don't have the rest saved yet, so I will post those later. (I have to say it...I really do my hair, I promise. It was super windy! So my hair was blowing all over!). I'll post the rest when I'm not in such a hurry.
The cousin girls decided they wanted to streak their hair with colors too. All of Leslie's girls did, and then cousin Kyrie did too.
The goodbyes were hard. Very hard. But once they were done, we were able to switch more onto the next phase. We were able to switch to the task at hand. Before I closed Emma's door to the van, I asked her, "Are you ready for this?" She said yes. I said, "We can do this, can't we." It wasn't a question. She agreed. She said she was ready to get better.
Almost all of Wednesday I was busy washing, putting away, and packing laundry. It was a surprisingly emotional activity. I never thought I could miss little clothes so much. But I will.
Near the end of the day, I knew I was running out of time to record my message on the rabbits/bear. So, I pulled them out...
I recorded my message to each child on each bear. I didn't cry! I thought of what I'd want to hear if I was a kid. So, I said something like, "Hi Violet. I love you. I miss you so much. I hope you're having lots of fun, and I can't wait to see you again!"
I gave it to Rhys last night. She loved it.
My facebook post from last night:
Just snuggled my 2 yr old to sleep for the last time before I leave to take Emma to transplant tomorrow.
Don't change too much, my beautiful, adorable little Teresa Jr. I don't want to miss a thing in your little amazing life (or Vi's or Ty's).
Sleep tight, sweet baby. I'll miss you. I love you to the moon and back.
Knowing it was the last time...it almost feels too hard.
It felt just the same with Violet and TS. I watched them sleep, treasuring the blessings that they are in my life. Sometimes life can seem overwhelming. Especially if I'm trying to accomplish anything else. But, these little people are the most amazing, wonderful people in my life. I couldn't love them more than I do. (I know you mommas know what I mean!)
Someone mailed the kids a HUGE box of goodies. By huge, I mean HUGE!! It was a hectic, crazy day yesterday when it arrived. I opened the box, but the kids were all around the house somewhere, so I didn't actually see them all when they got their gifts - but my sister took some after photos.
Thank you, Sandra!! Sandra sent the box...and this momma is going through some crazy stuff in her life. I couldn't believe she thought about our kids like that when her own situation is so stressful and consuming (her daughter has FA and is going through a transplant too.)
Oh, no! The eyes are starting to go to sleep!
So, today I woke up and didn't want to get up. As fun as it sounds to leave your kids for 4-6 months, it's actually not very fun. I didn't want to get up. I didn't want to leave them.
But I did...and did.
We had a friend come over to say goodbye. When we opened the door, we saw a yard full of hearts. Only, it had rained so the hearts had "melted". But how AMAZING is that? It was really special. No idea who did it, though! If you happen to be reading this, thank you!
It was also really fun to see our very dear friends again before we leave....Katie, Will, and McKenna. They have been there through a lot of the hard parts and have been more like family in many ways. It was so good to see them again. We can't wait to see them again when we get home. They'll also be helping with the kids staying home.
Tyler and Emma spent a little time saying their goodbyes. It was pretty heartbreaking. A daddy couldn't love his girl (any of his girls) more than Tyler does:
Violet was in need of a lot of snuggles from both Emma and me. She was very sad and cried quite a bit. We did too. She said she didn't want Emma to have FA...didn't want her to have to transplant...wanted us to be together.
TS was keeping himself distracted. He didn't want to spend much time hugging or talking about it. But we got a sweet hug in...
Then it was time to give the rabbits/ bear to them. We recorded Emma's voice on it as well. We both gave them hugs. So no matter what, our hugs will always be on there. Even if they get washed.
Rhys was a mix of happy and sad today. Not just sad, but she would get really angry and scream and fight a lot. She sometimes didn't want to be by me or would get really angry at e over things she normally wouldn't. It was obvious she had emotions she wasn't sure what to do with. She kept saying, "Me go too? Me go bye bye too?" I hated telling her no. I wish there was a way for it to work. But the degree of anti-socialness we'll be needing to do to keep us healthy so we can keep Emma healthy, would make her stir crazy. But I do hope she can come for some visits.
Here she is excited, listening to the rabbit.
TS wouldn't smile...which was fine. :) He was really moody too.
While we definitely had sad moments, we always talked about why we were doing it. We told them that they each have such an important part in all of this, and together, we were going to do our best to get Emma back home to us healthy. They agreed and were ready for the challenge...even if very sad over it.
We went outside and got Ella and Emma in the car. We started hugs all around. Gave cousins hugs, sisters hugs, children hugs. Sometimes there were some tears, sometimes laughing, sometimes karate chops. And then we started hugs again...and again...
You know, it's really hard to give the last hug. We didn't know how to give the last one. The last squeeze. There's the holding and not wanting to let go. The last kiss on the kissable, perfect squishy, 2 yr old cheeks. The last hug from the 4 yr old...feeling her arms around my neck. The last hug and giggle from my 6 yr old.
I felt like my heart was being ripped into tiny pieces. I'm not typically a huge cryer. (I cry, but I'm not typically viewed as overly emotional or anything....as far as I know). But...leaving my babies, I definitely was. Finally accepting that I couldn't keep doing this all day. I truly had to leave, I began giving the final hug. And...then came the feelings deep inside that you never feel unless something like this happens. I felt like I couldn't cry hard enough. Tyler and I hugged each other, and in many ways, it reminded me of when Emma was diagnosed with FA - the hurt and grief and overwhelming pain. It was something we were going through together again.
We held each other and out came all the feelings. The realization that we were going to be separated. The man that I love more than the world...who I know loves me the same. I couldn't have asked for anyone more amazing than him.
I was also holding Rhys, and I realized I was going to have to actually let go of her. But I felt like I couldn't. Thank goodness for big sisters that can tell and came to take her...
Then we got in the car. We prayed together with Tyler through the window. And then we reversed slowly through the rain, navigating carefully into the street and...almost hit a car. haha! That made for quite the laugh.
So, we drove off into the sunset.
Actually we didn't. We drove off and then realized we needed to get some cash and fuel the car.
Then Emma remembered she forgot her locket necklace with a picture of the Savior in it, as well as a photo of our family.
Then Kyrie remembered she forgot something.
So, we went and got those things.
They put it in the mailbox so we didn't have to redo goodbyes.
Then we drove off into the sunset.
Actually, that's not true either.
They called us and said we forgot Emma's medicine.
So, we went back and got it. That time Leslie came out and gave it to us. Then we asked if she had any snacks we could take (in addition to what we already brought). So, she went back in, and while she was gone for about five minutes, a couple cousins came out. Then Rhysie (about killed me to see her beautiful self again and think I'd have to say goodbye again) and then Tyler. He came and gave me a big kiss and I got to give Rhys another kiss and hug through the window.
Then we drove off into the sunset.
We had a pretty good drive. We stopped twice. One time at Braums (someone needed to tinkle), so we also bought ice cream as a treat....to treat the emotions.
It was fun talking to Kyrie. Emma had fun watching movies. Ella didn't have fun.
Then we arrived at our destination in Little Rock. Upon checking in, I realized I had forgotten my drivers license! But I still got checked in.
Really cute room. We picked a nicer place than we probably typically would because Tyler wasn't with us, and I wasn't sure what the cities were like (safe places vs not safe places)...and insurance covers most of it.
Ella was pretending to play on it like they were. So cute!
So...it's 12:45 am now. I really should go to bed.
It seems really weird that this is really happening. Emma told us today that she doesn't feel scared. She felt like she should be scared, but she wasn't. We talked about how God is watching over her, and it's okay to not be scared (of course, if she ends up scared, that's okay too!). But she amazes me the way she is so determined and so ready for it. We are too.
We can do it, Emma!
My heart will always ache for my other babies, and I hope time goes by fast until we bring our healthy Emma back home...and we can be together again.