Sunday, July 18, 2010


My big boy turned 5 today.

Last night we had our new friend, Mary, over to have Thomas cake and watch Garrett open his presents. My parents gave him two games for his Nintendo DSi, and he also go some neat toys that make cool patterns and spin, along with a very, very soft, flat, but stuffed monkey to sleep on in his bed, and some great clothes from Grouchy's parents. Oh, we also got him a really wild remote control car that has light up wheels and spins and flips....he loved that also. He was so cute opening each gift. I must have snapped a hundred photos of just that!! Each one was commented on as he was trying to open it. There were grunts, squeals, sometimes just spastic excitement, and finally, with help from Addie and Ainslee, as each gift was unveiled, his excitement was plain breathtaking. We all laughed and smiled and enjoyed it so much!! He stayed up a while and played with his new loot until we had to get everyone to bed so we could rise early this morning for the BIRTHDAY TRAIN RIDE!!!!

We took the Amtrak train from Whitefish, MT, about 2 hours over to East Glacier Park, MT. We left this morning at about 7:30. The train was very late, but we still made it to East Glacier by noon. The views were spectacular. We even saw some black bears by the river, fishing!!! Garrett loved the whole experience of the train. He got his photo made with Conductor Tom, sorry, Nina, not Conductor Bob. We enjoyed breakfast in the dining car and spent the remainder of the ride in a big booth on the lounge/observation car. We had lunch in the lodge at East Glacier and goofed off around the beautiful area. We rented a hotel room for a few hours so Garrett could nap when we realized how much time we had to kill and how few things were working for him.....long topic. Grouchy had a confrontation with a man who commented very rudely about Garrett's behavior at lunch, and rather than lay the guy out cold (like I would have done....not just grizzly bears in the park but MOMMA BEAR was there today!!), he was so collected but rightfully vocal about the man's comments. My heart broke into more pieces than it ever has before. And the man, well, let's just say it is highly unlikely he will ever make a comment about anything regarding anyone's child....EVER AGAIN. I cannot even type about the details because I will fall apart again. Let's just say thatGrouchy is in a place right now, a very difficult place, where I tip-toed into the deeper and deeper water over two years, but he has been thrown into the depth in about a week's time as he has been around Garrett and the girls me more continuously than he ever has the past couple of weeks. Today he shared with me that we will need to learn to be okay planning to leave Garrett behind more when we go on trips, travel far, etc. for our other chldren's sake as well as our own sanity. We have known this, but we have avoided the cold truth. It's hard to imagine we are here like this in this life. We want to be together, ALL of us, sharing experiences, travel, beauty, the outdoors with all of our children, not two of three. It's a hard thing to let go of a huge dream. Like some moms have shared and I never fully realized until now, it is to mourn the loss of something very assumed, expected.....the normal child......
Please do not think for one second that I regret having Garrett and having everything about him that makes him Garrett. In a weird, unexplainable, but very simple way, I love everything about the whole situation. In a very honest, raw, completely exposed, scary way, I hate everything about it in the same breath.

We press on, another year.....a year past that saw great improvement in his speech and cognition. A year of him venturing into the public education system, staying well, and thriving in that environment. A diagnosis and right now, the continuation of weanign him onto supplements what may slow the progression of his mitochondrial disease. A year of therapy, therapy and more play!! A year of smiles, laughs, a personality that is precious, clever and beautifully active. At one point on the train today, he got into a loud, very fast-moving, hyper mood as he does much more frequently now, and sat in the train booth with me and kissed me on the lips over and over and over and over. It could have been annoying because of the grabbing of my face, clawing of my neck and pinching all over my face, but it was truly the first time he has acted like that without me prompting him or playing a game making silly noises after each kiss to keep him kissing me. This was different. I felt him love me. I felt like I had one of God's angels in my lap covering me with His love from Heaven. I will never forget it. I wasn't expecting to RECEIVE such a gift on HIS birthday!! But I am so grateful.

While Grouchy and Garrett finished their nap, the girls and I wrapped up our shopping and photo-shooting and met him at the train station for the ride home. Garrett made friends with two grandmother-type ladies and one of their 5 year old grandsons who pulled him into their seats and engaged him in chats about his Nintendo game. Ainslee found two ladies who taught her to play several card games, Addie wrote letters and wrote in her new travel journal, and Oscar came down with migraine. The train was on time...YAY!!! We got back to Whitefish at 9 pm and rented a car so I can take Ainslee to YMCA camp in Helena, MT, tomorrow.

Ainslee has been very, very excited about this week-long resident camp, but tonight at bedtime, she fell apart crying, telling me she didn't want to be away from me for a week, okay, just 5 days, really. Until tonight she has been boasting about how she is plenty ready to be gone for a week with NO FAMILY DAY!!!! I think she is just tired and apprehensive and will be fine. We will see what tomorrow brings!!!! May be blogging tomorrow about a 6.5 round trip ride with Ainslee going BOTH WAYS...hope not!! I know she will have fun!!

If you are reading this, you are likely one of the people who has been shepharding me along this path in life, along with my Lord. I thank each of you for the hours of listening, love and kindness you have shown. This is a wild, uncertain ride, this life train, and while sometimes I want to get off, you all help me keep on going!! Thank you!!

And back to my precious Garrett. I love him more than anyone can love anything or anyone. I celebrate this spirit God created PREFECTLY in HIS image.

Happy birthday, my big boy!!! I can't wait to keep riding the train with you tomorrow.


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