I received the gift of three days in Alberta last week to be with extended family as we celebrated the life of my aunt Marie. We did a lot of talking, laughing, walking, crying, and eating. It was good - hard but good.
Three of us ran together on the morning of the funeral. Running runs in our family, and Aunt Marie would encourage her kids not to give up by telling them their feet were saying, "Keep on going, keep on going." And so we kept on going for the 8 miles between two of the family properties. It was a beautiful morning, and the conversation was rich. I realize not everyone enjoys a run... but it set an appropriate tone for the day.
I am thankful once again for the gift of family and family memories that spur me forward.
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This past week, we had our once-every-couple-of-years visit with the genetics team at SickKids Hospital in TO. Though we debated taking public transit, we drove our van in. It was the same day they forecasted a Big Storm (snow storms are almost proper nouns now, given all the sensation with media). I guess everyone was so concerned about the Big Storm that they stayed home. We drove with sunshine, little traffic and on bare roads.
We were able to combine our visit with a peek at our niece Mariah (behind the till) who works at the Starbucks in the same building as our genetics team. That was not known until we walked past the coffee shop before the appointment. It was great to see her - and have something to lighten up the otherwise tough afternoon.
Our genetics team is great, and they are always encouraging with each visit, but admittedly, it is hard to have every inch of your kids' bodies examined, documented, and discussed - particularly the abnormalities. It is way easier to walk into a livingroom filled with family who immediately point out you have Uncle Frank's nose or Grandma Jan's smile.
I appreciated how the team set a positive tone to our appointment by first sitting with us in a room filled with sleepy sunshine and asked what the girls can do. They wanted to list all the positives... and every word was noted on the file. It was only after they asked, "Is there anything else you would like to tell us about the girls?" when they started examination of the anomalies (problems).
With each genetics appointment, we are reminded our girls are not typical-normal. They may never be diagnosed, and they may continue to catch us by surprise with their development. We try not to be too discouraged by the realities of their anomalies, but when we come home from these kind of appointments, I experience an odd two day lull where I feel disconnected from reality. I have a hard time initiating tasks, and I spend too much time thinking.
By the second day, the fog fades and the feet are on the ground again.
"Keep on going, keep on going."