Thursday, August 29, 2013


For the past month and a half, my beloved brother has been dealing with his leukemia and it's been shitty.  Real shitty.  I don't know how to adequately describe how I've been feeling because my emotions have been all over the place.  I'm sad, angry, sad, heartbroken, super sad, anxious, stressed, burnt out, and super fucking sad.  I want to scream all the time.  I want to scream as loud as I can from the top of a building.  I want to shout, "FUCK!" until my throat is raw.  I want to take a bat to the ground until I don't have the strength to lift it up anymore.  I want to punch the walls.  I want to run.  I want to run so far away.  I want to cry and scream and not wake up until the leukemia is gone.  As I type this, I want to puke.  I want to puke all of my insides out.  This isn't supposed to happen.  It wasn't supposed to happen.  Anyone but my brother.  Why not me?  Not my brother.

From one moment to the next, things can change.  It did here.  Brother's body started resisting his meds for CML and, in a week, it accelerated into ALL, a very aggressive form of leukemia.  It grew so rapidly and my brother was in so much pain that briefly, I feared the worse.  And yet, I didn't cry.  I held it in.  I didn't want to cry like I did last time.  And yet, one day, while I was visiting, I was informed that brother needed a lumbar puncture to check if the leukemia was in his spine, which is bad.  And they wheeled him away and I stood there, holding in those tears, screaming at them from the inside, "Don't you dare fall.  Don't you dare trickle out of my eye because I know you won't be the only tear. You'll bring your friends. DON'T YOU DARE FALL OUT!"  As soon as brother was out of the room and down the hall, I sat down, held my face in the palms of my hands and cried.  I cried puddles of tears into my hands and sobbed.  The BNC, who must have developed ninja skills because I didn't hear him creep up to me, all while holding The Kid, stroked my hair, held his hand on my head and then left.  He knew I didn't want Noah to see me like this.  

The sleepless nights I endured when I was younger have returned.  I lay awake at night, hiding my insomnia from the BNC, and think horrible thoughts.  The Kid never really kept me up but my brother's disease does.  I think of all that he has gone through and all that he will have to go through.  I think about how I need to not cry in his presence.  How I need to keep it together for his sake and for our parents' sake.  I think about The Kid and how he can't see me upset because kids are smart.  Brother was upset one day and Noah came over and stood in front of him and held his knee.  I'm sure he knows something's up and I'm preparing myself should he ever ask me about memories he has from this time.

All the doctor appointments, the special tests, the blood transfusions, the chemo treatments, the dialysis for his blood, the lumbar punctures, the loss of hair, the pneumonia, the biopsies, the bruises on his back and his arms, the port on his chest, the morphine-filled phone calls in the middle of the night because he was so doped up he didn't know what time it was, the special clean room he was in, the move to the ICU because he developed heart arrhythmia, the throat infection, talk of a bone marrow transplant, Sportscenter all day, and my brother laying there, doing it all, fighting back his tears, not wanting to be there, and slowly breaking my heart watching this, this is what we've been through otherwise known as my family's darkest hour.  

I thought a lot about my brother during this time but also of my mom.  Now that I am a mother, I have looked at her in a whole different light and have grown to admire her so much more than I already had.  However, I cannot imagine what she went through, and still is, as her son, her youngest child, battles leukemia.  I prayed for her.  I asked people to pray for her.  I don't know what I would have done had it been my own kid going through all of this, feeling powerless because the one thing you want, enduring this rather than your kid, isn't going to happen.  My momma had already lost a son, born before me, and I know it changed her.  She still thinks of her lost son, mourns for him, wonders what he would have been doing now so watching her 33 year-old son lay there, broke her heart all over again.  My dad, watching all of this, crying, begging God to spare his son, all while my brother shed hair and spoke incoherently to people who were not in the room.  

And is spite of this awful time, I look to my faith to help me keep it together.  I don't question why or how because it can drive you mad, but rather, I seek strength during these most difficult times and I must be getting it because I've made it this far without cracking.  I do beg.  I beg just like I did that time 4+ years ago.  I beg for my brother and I won't stop begging.  I also have had the BNC, who has been a rock to me and my family.  He's run errands for us and checked in on Brother when we couldn't.  The support of family and friends has been overwhelming.  Just this past Saturday, a benefit was held to help raise some funds for Brother whose short term disability will end soon and, if he's not back at work in January, will have to be let go.  Our goal more than doubled.  It was amazing and so emotional and I wish I could thank everyone who is praying for us.  It was quite the job to handle all the phone calls and texts from people wanting to help.  My brother's friends are amazing.  I started coordinating who could visit and take food otherwise Brother would have had about 10 dinners taken to him each evening.  I'm glad we aren't alone.

I also have my Noah who celebrated his first birthday while B was in the hospital.  He's hit several milestones during this time as well such as walking, drinking milk, dancing, learning to be gentle with the cats, etc.  He's been a joy and part of my salvation.

My beloved B, the light of my life, my growing-up partner in crime, one of my bestest friends, one of my favorite people, how I love thee...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Happy 1st Birthday, Kid!

Well, Noah went and turned one on July 27 and we celebrated.  We celebrated this huge milestone with family and friends and so much love.  This kid simply no idea how loved he truly is.  It was overwhelming for me and the BNC but I didn't care who saw my tears and who didn't.  My heart was in 2 places that day; with my son and with my beloved brother who unfortunately suffered a huge setback with his CML and had to be hospitalized.  I wanted to cancel this party.  How could we gather to celebrate with my brother holed up in the hospital?  How could Noah's uncle, whose 2 middle names match my brother's whole name, not be there?  But, my brother, ever being the unselfish one, made me follow through and, in a way, I'm glad I did.  We had a great time and the party was a huge success but I can't help to feel a pain in my heart not having a photo of the 2 of them on this special occasion. 

My dearest Noah,

You have been such a joy and a great challenge to have this past year.  I have learned that I don't need to take long showers or have a decent breakfast/dinner or sleep comfortably.  Modesty has flown out the window.  I no longer care if my bra is showing because you pulled my shirt down and  I also could care less about that drool mark you left on one of my favorite t-shirts.  Shaving my legs cause I intend on wearing some shorts during the hot summer months?  Pssssh.  Whatever.  You come first and as long as you're clean, clothed and fed, I'm okay.  By far, I have learned that I can love someone so much that everything that I want to do doesn't matter.  I'm a working mother, the ugliest of words, and I want to be with you for those few hours after work before you go to bed.  I want to see you grow and develop all the things that make you a you.  Oh baby, the places you will go.  You make my heart ache so much when you're sick or unhappy but I have learned to keep my cool and not freak out when you puke on me.  I remain calm cause you seeing me freak out would be no good.  I have learned to share my most prized possession (you are one of the few things we own outright) with people because they love you.

You are one silly baby.  You laugh so much and make silly faces.  You've also turned into quite the mimic by imitating mommy's funny laughs or dances.  (Do I really look that silly?  Whoops.)  You love your cats, especially that Bitty Girl;  She is clearly your favorite.  Logan and Apolo, your other 2 favorite cats, tolerate you as you rush over to hug and kiss them.  They take your hard love very well.  In other words, they put up with you as you slowly are learning to be gentle with them.  Slowly.  Very slowly.

You don't really care for TV which, in a way, makes mommy sad cause I love TV even though my viewing habits have taken a toll because a certain little guy requires lots of care and attention but I digress.  You do watch animal commercials like those God forsaken SPCA ones with the hurt animals while Sarah McLachlan  whines in the background.  They're awful and you just don't know any better about those animals being hurt yet we suffer in silence because you love animals.  You also love that Meow Mix one which, I admit, is funny.  Cats singing, "Meow, meow, meow," over and over again? Ha!  Jeopardy is another favorite.  I don't know if it's Alex Trebek or the blue screen or the music but you are enthralled.  So, we watch it and we actually do pretty good.  I also tend to walk in on you and Grandma watching El Chavo when I get out of work.  I pray you are bilingual.  You better be bilingual.  You will be bilingual.  Don't argue.

A few weeks after you turned 1, you started to gain more confidence and you started walking a lot.  You use your walker occasionally but not so much.  You have quite the zombie walk.  Brains!!

As for food, you love it.  You want to try everything.  Everything is yummy and you are very vocal about it by constantly going MMMmmmmmMMMMMMmmm as you chew.  It's a cook's favorite review.  Thank you for boosting my ego, Sweetheart.  :)

 You adore a lot of people who adore you.  You have so many honorary Tias and Unkys that I have to remember how to address invites and thank you cards as such.  You loved your grandma and 2 grandpas.  Speaking for my own mom and dad, you are their joy.  You came into their lives when they were very sad over some things and your birth, according to them, saved them.  It renewed their sense of life.  They want to have you all the time and just love spoiling you silly.  Good thing I hold them back otherwise you would have a big screen TV in your room.  Not yet, honey, not yet.

Right now, the family is going through some dark times with your Uncle Alex in the hospital and while you don't understand what is going on, you do make visits to the hospital slightly better.  The nurses spoil you and I think they check in on your Uncle Alex more because of you.  Excellent.  You're spending more time in the hospital than you should and if you do grow up and remember all of this, I will have to explain to you that your big, strong Uncle Alex wasn't feeling very good and he needed all of us to be there to support him during his hour of need.  Your presence has helped us all.  Thank you.

By far, the biggest comment I get about you is your hair.  It's getting long and it's curly like your momma's.  Some people hassle me about its length by constantly asking when I plan on cutting it.  First off, I'm not a big fan of buzz cuts on kids.  Maybe if your hair was straight but even still, I don't like it.  Secondly, because it's so curly, why should I?  I usually respond by telling them that I will "Ask his mother."  People then ask, surprised, "Aren't you...?"  Yes, yes I am very concerned citizen and I'll cut/trim it when I'm damn good and ready.  The more you ask the longer I may wait.  Sheesh.  Other people make me promise not to cut it going farther by saying that I should contact Johnson's Baby Shampoo so they can use you in their promotional ads.  I must confess that it has crossed my mind.  I mean, look at it!  It's gorgeous and unruly!  May the Houston humidity have mercy on how you deal with its effects on your hair.

You and your dad are something else.  He loves you so much and I know it pains him when you rather have my arms than his but, on occasion, you ask for his.  He understands though, and I will have to as well because I know that one day you will prefer to be with him.  You will have questions and you will feel more comfortable asking your dad than me.  I get it.  I better remember that it's nothing personal so long as you talk to one of us or one of your many aunts or uncles.  

Weight: 22 lbs. 5 oz.
Length: 29.5 inches
Favorite Foods: avocado, bananas, yogurt, beans, lentils, rice, chicken, carrots, squash, plums, green grapes, ice cream, breads, fideo, potatoes, eggs, oatmeal, chorizo, water, so many!
Favorite Book: Guess How Much I Love You
Favorite Toy: Your pop-up game where the machine pops out balls
Special Talents: Pincher move with your fingers, evil laugh, raspberries on daddy's belly, walking, squatting, disregarding mommy telling you to stop putting cat food (or paper) in your mouth, taking cats down
Other things you love: Baths, water, the vacuum cleaner is fascinating, the broom, you like to watch people cook, you love the park especially the swing and going out to world watch
Comments: You are slender for your age coming in the 25% but are in the 80% for length.  In other words, you are slender but tall for your age group.  Your doctor thinks you are cute and funny and perfectly fine.  We don't disagree.

Sweetheart, in closing, you are amazing.  You are, without a doubt, my favorite person.  I love you more than any Hallmark card can adequately describe (or ever will).  I love watching you grow and figure things out on your own.  Your giggle is my favorite sound and the way you laugh, showing all of your ever growing list of teeth is hilarious; it's infectious.  I love you, I love you, I love you.

Love always,