The other night, as we were cleaning up the kitchen, I turned to Josh and said I just can't believe what a difference a week makes, from one Sunday night to another.
Last Sunday night, I felt like the last smiley face in the photo above. Now I think I am on my way to feeling like the second smiley face, possibly the first one, if I could only get a full night of sleep.
A little over a week ago Tani was in surgery. We sat around waiting, for hours, wondering how this would all play out and praying for everything to go well. To look at Tani now, I'd say, bli ayin harah, that things did indeed go well.
She is eating well, sitting on her own, walking around and we have even gotten over that notorious post-hospital bump called constipation. We're grateful for a lot of things and that one is right up there towards the top of the list. She even had her big bandage removed today. We also confirmed today it's a good thing that I did not go into the medical field because I spent the majority of today's appointment trying to keep the dry heaving to a minimum.
We're going to be spending a good few weeks recovering. I'm sure we'll be doing many art projects, going for short walks and watching lots of tv. But that's okay, summer vacation is supposed to be laid back, full of ice cream and watching movies.
I truly, in my heart of hearts, believe that Tani came through this so well, so far, because of all these amazing friends - and family - who have come out of the woodwork this past week. This whole experience has driven home the point that the friends who are your people, your real friends, will always be your people. It doesn't matter how long it's been since you've hung out or even heard each other's voices on the phone. When there is a crisis, a situation, a something that requires your people to be there, they show up, even if it's only by the glow of your cellphone. And they come armed with all their life and professional experiences with them.
It's always funny when childhood friends offer their expertise - and when your memories of them revolve around trying to figure out how to get out of gym class and saving each other seats at the lunch table in fourth grade.
Now, these same friends are all grown up and are offering their advice as the adults they've become - as occupational therapists, anesthesiologists, social workers, physician assistants, pharmacists and just plain therapists - which, really, are the best kind, because they love you enough to offer you a prescription for a little something if you need it to get through the week.
But you know what? As spot-on as all of their advice was (and it *was* spot-on, every time) it was the fact that we know them and they know us and still remember how to make us smile and laugh even when we'd rather crawl under the couch and hide, that made it all better. There were a few times that there was literally nothing we could do for Tani besides hold her hand and count the minutes until the medicines kicked in, but knowing that all these friends had our backs was huge.
I might sound like a broken record parroting Grey's Anatomy, but Meredith Grey, she's not wrong. Your people will always be your people, no matter where they live or where you live or how often you speak or don't speak.
So to my people, I salute you! This past week was pretty yucky, and it's a really good feeling to be on the other side now. But, it's just as good a feeling to know that my people were there, all day and night, even if I didn't actually hear their voices and only read their texts - they were there. And that's what really matters.
Some nights, on my way to bed, I stop and think, thank goodness for grandparents who take us places and amazing uncles who buy us memberships to museums as Chanukah presents.
I also think, in the four seconds before I fall asleep, that I am kind of proud of myself for finally (finally) convincing my family that "experience gifts" are way better than gifts of all-the-things. Especially because we already have all-the-things and have no more room in the house for more-all-the-things.
Experiences? Those make memories and if you're lucky, a frame-able picture.
This week we were lucky enough to visit Legoland in Westchester and the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City.
We were also took a group trip to Target, Whole Foods, did some painting by number, made paper bag books, visited the library, baked a few cakes, and did multiple loads of laundry. We also cooked six dinners to put into the freezer for after Tani's surgery: Take Two, which is coming up very soon - this Monday morning, July 18th.
But before I get to that, there were a few trips I missed sharing last week.
We went bowling at what apparently is a bowling alley that needs to be patrolled by the police. I felt a weird combination of terrified and very safe, all at the same time.
We also went to a mini-build at the Lego store. And we did not purchase anything in the store. Stay strong, mamas! It is possible!
At some point (I forget when) we visited Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island, a working military base with a very cool lookout that is so close to the Verrazano bridge that it feels as if you can almost reach out and touch it. Also, admission is free, so, you know, yay!
The following day my girls were lucky enough to go a special painting class at the Staten Island Children's museum with my endlessly patient mother, while I took the boys to Verti-Quest, a new parkour gym in NJ, where they were able to pretend that they were #NinjaRabbis too. Experiences. It's all about the experiences, my friends.
Even the experience of surgery. Each experience makes us who we are, and I kind of like who we are. Even though, if given a choice, I'd rather grab Tani and go live in a cave, I know that this will make us, I don't know exactly what, but more us.
Looking ahead to Monday, I think we're good. I have everything I need to pack us up for the week in the hospital (thank you Amazon prime delivery man!), my other kids have lists of what they need to pack for their extended stay in my parents' house and I have a freezer full of cooked dinners for several weeks. We know where we have to go on Monday morning and exactly what we need to do and when we need to stop drinking apple juice. There is definitely something positive (and not only soul-crushing) about going through all the motions leading up to surgery once before and then having it cancelled right before go-time.
Wishing everyone a beautiful Shabbos.
Tani's name for tehillim is Arielle Netana bat Chana Zahava. All prayers, positive thoughts and good deeds sent up are appreciated.
There was once a little girl who loved to play in the mud.
She could play there for hours, with or without a bud(dy).
We watched and marveled at this lovely and obviously miraculous sight,
Because, as parents, we have never before had a kid who would play out of our sight!
I'm so not a poet. And I do know it. So I'll stop here.
But we really did build her this mud kitchen, to keep her out there longer. No, I'm kidding, (kind of). We made the mud kitchen because even though it's a somewhat different kind of hobby, we were just so thrilled that someone (anyone!) finally had a hobby.
It took us longer to debate how to build the kitchen than it did to actually built it (if you don't count the three weeks that Josh stood on line at Home Depot buying the wood and the cement things - which I promise you, I have asked Josh the name of those cement things at least 15 times and it still escapes me every single time.
There were a few rules that we put into place before we started this project. First, there were no power tools allowed. And no nails and hammers and any other non-noise making tools. We were also not willing to sand anything or paint anything and we knew that we needed to raise the floor off the ground because the location we chose for the kitchen - under the trees for shade - does not have the greatest drainage and we were looking for a mud kitchen and not a mud pool.
We started with what we already had because those things are free.
We were lucky enough to have the wooden benches in the backyard, and we were also lucky enough to also have a slab of laminate counter top left over in the house from ages ago - and we were more than happy to get it out of the house. If you are contemplating making your own mud kitchen and don't happen to have 8 feet of counter sitting around, don't worry. This one happens to be from IKEA and was so inexpensive that we likely would have bought one for this mud kitchen had we not had one. Or we would have used an old door, which we also have several of in the basement. If you need one, please come take one from our basement. Please.
The rest of the items - like old (washed out) yogurt containers and cupcake tins and lots of wooden spoons and even an unused night table - were also taken from around the house, keeping this project really very inexpensive and easy.
We stacked up the cement things (cinder blocks! Cinder blocks! They are called cinder blocks and I am NOT losing my memory! Oh my goodness, I was feeling a little panicky there). We stacked up the cinder blocks and topped it with the counter top. Those things are all very heavy and unlikely to move anywhere, but just to be safe, we secured the whole thing to the fence behind it. Or at least we talked about securing it to the fence. (Josh. Did we do that?)
Then Josh layed out the cinder blocks on the ground and we topped them with six 8ft pieces of wood. We moved the long wooden benches to either side of our new mini platform to act as more work space and also to help ensure that no one would fall off the sides of the platform.
And that was it.
I did buy a water dispenser from Target but it's already broken. For now, we've been using bottles of tap water brought outside each time they run out of water. It's not ideal because muddy shoes come into the house to get the water, but it'll do for now.
She loves it, her friends love it, she plays in it everyday and it makes her happy. What more can I ask for?
Have you heard of this website called DeCluttr.com?
Any dvds or cds or other electronics that you have laying around the house can be sent to these guys and they pay you for them.
We have lots of dvds that we never watch anymore and will likely never watch again. Same with exercise dvds, but that's a whole other story.
The other day, in an effort to declutter the basement (again) so we can actually use it, I gathered up all the errant dvds and brought them upstairs.
You might think the best part of the decluttering was getting a $40 check from these guys, but you'd be wrong.
The best part was the whole hour it took for my beloved 10 year old to enter all the sku numbers off the backs of the dvd boxes into the website. It kept him busy. he felt usefull and I made money. It really doesn't get better than that.
If you need some help with this, he's your kid. And you're more than welcome to borrow him for an hour or so.
Are you a Mom?
Of course you are,
your shirt is dirty :)