Friday, September 11, 2015

I Didn't Know Where You Were

Monday, Garrett's 14 year old sister, Addie, had taken the ATV down the driveway to hay some of our cows. Garrett had ridden along, but then he ran back to the house instead of waiting for Addie to bring him back. I heard Garrett come back into the house, but I didn't think much of it until Addie burst into the house out of breath repeating a few times, "Garrett, little buddy, I was so scared when I couldn't find you! I thought something happened to you! I didn't know where you were!"  That last sentence: I didn't know where you were. Addie was red-faced and a little breathless for a minute and sincerely had worried something bad had happened when she didn't know where her Garrett was.

While this may happen in lots of homes and has happened before here, this time it hit me in a different place. It hit in that place where the mind wanders down a path it doesn't intend to where things are worse than they are today. One where Garrett isn't still here and Addie is saying she cannot find Garrett and is scared because his is not with us.

Lately, Garrett has been doing well overall. He is growing again with the increase in his tube feeding volume, continuing to be very active, reading well, and getting back to school. But there are a few new things going on. He has had ulcers in his duodenum, more vomiting this year than ever in his life, and the need for increasing from four to six cans of formula, all concrete proof of how much intervention has been done to keep him healthy.

His tenth birthday party was a riot! But it was a milestone. I know we cannot solidly predict the future in most cases, but his mito doctor has mentioned Garrett "Maybe making it into his twenties, but things being bad by then." Ten was halfway to "the twenties." While it's perhaps a morbid deal to realize half has passed, I am overwhelmingly thankful for the first half, and how if it is, in fact, half past, he has improved so tremendously. Optimism vs. pessimism. And I choose to celebrate ten years...the toughest of my life, but also knowing tougher days lie ahead. Much tougher. I relish the growth, mental maturing, learning, and just the perfect love Garrett is to everyone he meets. I realize the miraculous network of love and support that we have had showered onto our family by relatives, friends, medical professionals and complete strangers. Some families face so much negative, but honestly, its been so rare that we have felt that, and those few bad memories are completely replaced by the millions of great ones.

I replay Addie's panicked tone and breathless searching over in my head. Not on purpose. Maybe just a whisper to remind me to look up and be thankful because we very much have a very living and loud ten year old little man keeping us always on alert. The love his sisters have for him is beautiful and scary all at once. That deep type of love leaves the heart venerable to the worst possible pain. But it has been and will be worth it. And if Garrett proceeds me to Heaven, I, in fact, will know EXACTLY where he is.