This morning, Feb. 1st, 2011, I took down our 2010 Holiday decorations that I put up last October.
Let that sink in. I'm trying to. Its difficult. I know. Its probably more difficult for you to understand why I would find it difficult to put it away, but thats ok, as long as we all realize its difficult no matter what side of the difficulty you land on.
Dave came in for lunch. "Whhyyyyyy?" is what he said, and that is exactly the way he said it.
Blake walked in the house after having lunch with friends, made it half way across the family room and stopped in his tracks. "WHAT did you do? NOOOO. Why? I thought we all agreed to leave it up for the year?"
I picked up Allie from school and as we walked through the garage she wanted to know why it was messy. "We just cleaned this up. What happened?" Then a moment later she said, "You took it all down! Why?" In the most accusing voice you have ever heard.
As we packed away Ashley Kate's tree in the play room she sat in the middle of the room waving "bye-bye" to each and every ornament, ribbon, light, and bow on the tree.
So, this afternoon I sit in a family room that feels a little less "family" like without the trees, the lights, the garlands, the pines, the candles, the everything that gives us our favorite holiday family feelings. Blake said, "Just turn on the music, go to your happy place and put it all back. I'm serious mom. Just put it back." Honestly, I was tempted.
Our house is so empty. It really does look bare. Open. Airy. Odd.
Why has this been so difficult for us? What is our problem? What is wrong with this family? I can answer it for you. If you want the honest truth. I can.
Fear of us having celebrated her last. Fear of next Christmas arriving and Ashley Kate not being home to enjoy it with us. Fear of what the next 10 months of in between is going to hold for our 5 year old. Fear that it will never be the same. Fear.
I'm not sure if anyone really understands or not. Its really ok if you don't. Its just that we so desperately want to hang on to our Ashley and keep our family a family of 5 that packing it all away for the next 10months frightens each and every one of us. We don't know if she will be with us when its time to pull it all out again. We didn't know if she was going to be with us for this past Christmas.
We don't talk about transplant every day anymore. We don't talk about it at all right now. We are living and choosing not to concentrate on matters that we have no control over. We have decided to take it a day at a time and for today our 5 year old is here. She is happy. She is stable. She is alive. I don't know that this is the right choice for everyone. I don't know that this is going to be the right choice for us for very long. I just know that its the right choice for this family today.
How do I know its right for us today? I know each time I watch a big brother lie on the floor next to a baby sister and laugh so hard neither of them can breathe. I know each time I witness the tender goodnight kiss of a big sister given to a little sister and the precious words that accompany it each and every night. I know each evening when a daddy marches into his home and makes his way to whatever room the light of his life is playing in. I know. I just do. For today its the right decision. As her laughter floats through the air at this very minute I know that we are doing what is right for today.
The day we decide to ask the team to list her is going to be a very hard day. The day the phone rings and we agree to accept waiting organs is going to be a harder day. The days we spend watching her fight to come back are going to be the hardest ones yet.
I keep looking around the room and reminding myself that I can bring it all back out in just 8 more months. Then I allow myself to wonder, what if she remained stable for those 8 months and we were still here, in Texas, in our home, in our happiest place? Wow, what a miracle that would be. Wow. I wonder. I really do.