Thursday, January 17, 2013

Family Love

Poor girl's rash
With an abundance of both good things and not-so-good things, I've been a little distracted from blogging. We've had two sets of family members visit back to back, then we all got really sick. We are feeling much better now though. Apparently there is a nasty norovirus semi-epidemic going around in Utah. Norah's immune system also decided to respond with a benign but sad looking rash, erythema multiforme (don't look it up online - you'll regret it. Norah's isn't as severe a case as others). Her doctor said that it is often itchy, uncomfortable, or even painful, but my tough girl doesn't seem to be bothered at all by it. It's already a bit more cleared up than the photo right.

As for the family visits, my mom and brother Greg were here for Christmas! It was so wonderful to see them, and it was a total bummer that they ended up having to cut their visit a bit short. Then my "little" brother Mario came to visit for the first week of the new year. I love that he could be walking down the street, all by himself, and someone could point and call out - "Hey, you're Shauna's brother aren't you?" Despite having different dads, Mario and I look A LOT alike. The best part of their coming to visit (aside from the recurring gourmet feasts) was meeting his wife and kids for the first time. I loved Ally immediately. How could I not? They are so perfect for one another. She deals with his shenanigans, calls him on his crap, takes great care of him, and is always laughing with him. Their banter is not unlike that of Jeff and I. She brings out all of the good things inside of him that have always been there. These best parts of him are those that I remember from when we were kids growing up in a very difficult environment. He is caring, considerate, doting, and has developed into a daddy and husband to be admired.

We were all so excited when they came to meet Norah at the hospital. If they were at all intimidated by the environment at South Davis (it's a bit sad due to lack of visitors), or by any of Norah's medical equipment, it hardly showed. Mario loathes hospitals, but SDCH doesn't feel like a clinical, sterile, stiff hospital. It feels like something in between hospital and home, which is exactly what it is. I love sharing this world of long-term care with others. It opens their eyes to a place that most never would have known existed. While it can be very sad, meeting the kids there will show you HOPE and TENACITY like you've never seen.

Immediately upon meeting her, Ally's 2-1/2 year old daughter let me pick her up without hesitation. I love this little girl! She was fun, adventurous, sweet, bossy, adorable, and she sure loves her parents. Aside from her blonde hair and bright blue eyes, you never would have guessed she wasn't Mario's biological daughter. He is in every way her daddy, which was so refreshing to see considering what sort of step-father his own dad was. I think that fact is always in the back of his mind, pushing him to be even more of a better dad. So Fallon spent most of the visit eating snow from a cup. It was her first time in this much snow, and she loved it. Harper was a little territorial now and then, but in the end, he said he loved playing with her, and that she was his friend. I miss having her running around the house.

Daniel and Auntie Shauna
Daniel. What can I say about my sweet baby nephew Daniel? I am so in love with this little guy. And the feeling is definitely mutual. He immediately calmed down whenever I held him, and loved to sleep on me. He's three months old now, and is one of the cutest babies I have ever seen. He looks so much like his daddy. With our quiet cuddle time, I had more than a few moments to meditate. I loved being in that moment, cuddling him so snug against me. I thought about how nice it was to not be tethered to anything while holding a baby. If I wanted to stand up and take a few steps to the other side of the room, I could. If I wanted to run upstairs to get something, I could. For some reason this hit me more holding him than with other babies that I've held over the past year and a half. Maybe it was because I could see the family resemblance in him. Maybe it was because he enjoyed the cuddles as much as I did. It was difficult to stop my mind from wandering in sad places. I thought of all the "what if's" when it came to Norah... and that is a very sad road to let your thoughts travel upon. The thoughts are too sad to even write.

I would never trade my perfect girl for any other baby in the world. I love every part of her with every part of me. I take her as she is: nothing more, nothing less. But who doesn't wish for the best possible life for their child? With Norah, that is making the most of the hand we are dealt. But every now and then, a wisp of something catches my thoughts... and my mind goes there for a few moments. But when it comes down to it, I think of my girl, and I think of how amazing she is. I don't only think of the life that we have birthed to her; I think of the life that she has birthed to us. My life wouldn't have been nearly as fulfilled as it is now. As hard as this road is, it is ours. Norah has shown us a whole different world that so few are privy to. And I am beyond grateful for that.

Fallon and Harper. He let her sit on his lap!
Interesting coincidence: Fallon's middle name is Harper. 
Norah meets her Uncle Mario. She's wondering
who this smelly mama lookalike is.
Auntie Ally ponders how difficult life would be with twins.
Love Daniel's face here.
Aside from the head and belly, they're about the same size.
Can you see any family resemblance? 
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