Before I get to my topic of choice, I just want to put up a disclaimer of transparency ahead. I am not going to pretend the last 5 years have been a walk in the park. Truth be known, I still get a large bump of anxiety from August 12th to January 7th. Every. Single. Year.
I've obviously known my Aunt Bobbie my entire life, but geography hindered a true relationship to bud. She lived in Georgia and I grew up in Colorado. I had never had the opportunity to spend quality time with her. Every time we were together it was for a wedding, funeral, or I was working/at school when she'd visit Colorado. I have to think my Grandma had a hand in her coming to stay with me. My Grandma, her sister, died when I was 6 months pregnant with Savannah. Grandma was like a second mother to me. We talked every Sunday night when I was at UNLV and UK. We talked almost every day after college. As a matter of fact, the night before she died, I called her to vent about my crummy day (have no clue what went wrong that day), she said they were just sitting down for dinner and she'd call me back when she was finished. I said ok and we said good-bye. I remember thinking "I didn't say love you, bye like I always do when we say goodbye." I brushed it off that I'd talk to her when she called me back and I'd tell her then. She never called back. The next call I got was at 6AM the next morning from my sister to tell me grandma was being rushed to the hospital. The call after that came from my mom to tell me that she had passed away. So to say that it was a blessing to have my Aunt Bobbie stay with me for fetal surgery is an understatement. It was the next best thing to actually having my grandma there. There were conversations that we had where I truly thought I was talking to my grandma. It was so nice.
After Aunt Bobbie had to go back to Georgia, my other grandma came to stay with me for the remainder of my pregnancy. Our relationship hasn't always been a good one. When I was a child, my grandma had to make the hardest decision of her life. She had to sacrifice the tumultuous relationship with her son, my father, to preserve her own sanity and life. I know this wasn't an easy decision for her and I can't imagine being in her position. Even after I had to make the same decision and cut my dad out, our relationship was still very strained. We didn't talk for a couple of years. Right before we got married, she and I began to mend our relationship. It got stronger as Savannah was born. I was actually at her house when I got the first call that something might be amiss with Kennedy's pregnancy. She took Savannah in the other room so I could talk to the doctors' office. She could tell something was wrong. Out of everyone who I told at that time, she was the only one who didn't discount the gut feeling I had that the results were not a false positive. Our relationship has really become one that I treasure over the last 10 years. I think the time we spent together after fetal surgery truly helped make it the best it could be. I was put in the hospital on bed rest 3-4 days after grandma arrived. Every day she came to the hospital and sat in my room with me until dark. We talked about everything. She saw me at my best, she saw me at my worst. She sat with me when I crumbled under the pressure of the emotional and physical strain the week before Kennedy was born. She was also in the room when Kennedy was born. She doesn't drive at night, but she did that night! She even chased the doctor when he came in because she didn't want to wait for her security escort. Grandma was also the first family member that wasn't Jonathan or me to hold Kennedy. It's interesting because I used to be so envious of my grandma and cousin Shakota's relationship. It mirrored my relationship with my mom's mom. I longed for our relationship to be like that, especially after my other grandma died. Now I can confidently say, I think it's very close. At one time we would talk every day, whether facetime or on the phone. I know it's not that frequent anymore, but it's still nice to know we were able to mend our relationship and be the friends and family that we are today.
This year, I'd like to try and put to rest a lot of this anxiety that comes with this time of year. I really want to reflect on what Kennedy's done the last year and what I'd like to see her accomplish in the 365 days leading up to her 6th butt day. In the last year, she's gone from using her crutches occasionally to walking unassisted most of the time. Last year she would have to crawl over to a wall/table/chair to stand up if she fell. Now she can stand up without any assistance. She is so quirky and so beyond anything I could have ever imagined when I was sitting in that hotel room 5 years ago tonight.
A year from now she'll be in Kindergarten. My hope is that she will thrive there just as she has in every situation put in her way. I hope that she'll adjust to the longer school days, the strict class schedule, and most importantly not being in the same building as mommy. A perk and downfall to working where your kid goes to school, you're there for everything. I truly hope she can learn to be a leader and not a follower. I want her to ask questions when she doesn't undestand why. (Please because I've been answering why for 3 years now. It's someone else's turn.) Honestly, though, I just want her to know that no birth defect is going to define who she is, what she wants to be, or where she can go. I can't wait to look back on this in a year. I also can't wait to type another post about the mind-blowing things she's doing that I couldn't even imagine at this exact moment.