So, it’s October. 2021. The last few years have been a bit of a drought for my blog, I have a plethora of blog post drafts in my head, my phone’s notes app, and my journal, I’ve just never sat down and sifted through the difficult thoughts to actually put them out there for consumption. This is a very bare-bones, but hopefully also fairly thorough overview of the 2020-2021 years.
2020 was basically a side-car to 2019, with a couple brain surgeries, some spinal surgery, a whole lot of discomfort, and COVID quarantine thrown in. COVID, while very concerning for us in regards to Littlest’s health, didn’t actually change our “usual flu season” behavior that much. I already had Littlest wearing masks in close settings from Oct. to March, so we just expanded to *everyone* in our family wearing masks anywhere all year, we kept up our already habitual hand-sanitizer use and hand-washing, and we expanded our online delivery shopping to include groceries and various things that would normally have done in person. Joel worked from home for a majority of the year, and he actually used the stay-at-home mandate to pivot his firm to total paperless/online so all his employees could effectively work from home.
The older two managed to complete their 2019 and 2020 school years online, and have gone back in person this year (2021-2022) to new schools (middle for Quietest, high school for Oldest) which has its own challenges. They’ve been troupers and have worked really hard at school and encouraging their friends in science-based and public-health-conscious behaviors. They’re just as germ-conscious and health aware as I am, and it shows in how well they’ve stayed over the last few years of public school.
We moved in 2019, right in the midst of all those brain surgeries, and the new house has been a LIFESAVER for allowing us the space needed to survive when we are all at home for long periods of time. It’s just a street over from our previous home, but in a quiet gated street of 9 houses, with a much larger yard and a fully wheelchair accessible house/yard with zero elevation changes/curbs/steps/etc. Littlest has a hospital bed set up in our library/living room, and his actual bedroom is used as a play room for the older kids and storage for his medical supplies. It’s been really helpful to allow him to have the inclusion of being in our main living space while still allowing for him to spend the longer hours in bed that he needs. The main room where I spend most of my time if I’m not with Littlest is big and open, with soaring 14ft ceilings and floor-to-ceiling windows on the north-facing wall. I have a space for my art, and we have the ability to give Littlest quiet at night while Joel and I have evenings together. The property is larger than typical for the city, almost a full acre, and it’s been an amazing space to have the kids run and it’s safe for Littlest to wheel around. The dogs fully approve.
After COVID stay-at-home mandates came through, Joel got his entire workforce at the firm into at-home-offices so he has been working from home for the majority of the last couple of years. It has been nice for Littlest and I to have him nearby if we need help with care or transfers, or to just enjoy a good game of cribbage over lunch. We have a couple lovely shift nurses, but doctor’s appointments aren’t always able to be scheduled during a shift, and sometimes we need Daddy to lift the weight to move Littlest somewhere. Joel recently got a lease on a newer, larger office space, and we are so glad that the firm is growing and has good employees to staff it.
One of the high points of our last couple years was being able to purchase a wheelchair van, and then take a road trip to Texas in June to see an aunt get married. Having Littlest able to participate in family gatherings is a huge goal of ours, and we are thrilled when family makes it safe for him to attend something like a wedding. We rented a house with other vaccinated family members, and we had a blast spending a good amount of time getting to know some new cousins and reconnecting with ones we hadn’t seen in a while. We highly recommend that type of family reunion, if there’s no pressure to “do all the things” you really get to focus on connecting.
This year, Littlest learned to read (y’all don’t know how crazy difficult that feat was), and it has opened a host of new learning opportunities for him. His brain surgery impact is still very present, and we are having to work around a lot of new challenges. He is just blowing all expectations of progress out of the water over here. That’s a pretty awesome thing.
Photos and Art
I’m a self-taught photographer and when my vision started affecting my ability to take portraits, I needed an outlet for my creative drive. I asked for paints for my birthday in 2017, and loved how much I could do with acrylic paint. In 2019 I picked up watercolor as a way to release stress during hospital stays.