Avery’s hair is thicker than when she went into the hospital back in July. A small handful of scars dot her body. Everyone says that her eyes appear noticeably larger than the last time they saw her. She’s been inhaling puffs like a madwoman and she ate mum-mums for the first time today. She’s going to be a snacker on par with Lynnette and Madison, I can tell already.
There are other things, too. Her motor skills and coordination seem to have taken small steps backwards – though that’s to be expected when one is confined to a bed for 7 weeks. She has trouble picking large or heavy toys up. She struggles to lower herself to the floor from the standing position. Sometimes she gets tired from standing but can’t quite figure out how to get down. She’s resumed crawling and despite all the infections and all that fluid that took up residence in her lungs, she’s still got a top-notch scream. Avery will be working with the same early intervention therapy team that helped Cole out during the spring and summer months. I’m sure they’ll get Avery back on track quickly.
We threw Avery a Welcome Home party today. My family and Lynnette’s family gathered at my parents’ house to officially celebrate our family’s reunification. As always, the food was great, and as always, the company was better. Cole and Avery tasted ice fruit bars for the first time. Both of them indulged in some celebratory ice cream cake. The both splashed around in the pool, and were toted around by uncles, aunties, and grandparents all day. Cole passed out already, but maybe Avery is trying to max out her special day because she’s still awake. Madison’s reading to her on the couch right now. Something about apex predators. That’s my girl.
Late in the night on July 17th, Kapiolani Hospital called us at home. They suggested that we drive over to the hospital. Lynnette said there was no specific information on Avery’s condition, only that she was having some trouble and we should get down there. It was a Sunday night. There were no cars on the road. I didn’t speed. Lynnette and I didn’t say much to each other. My mind was in a far away dark place. I legitimately thought I was driving into town for the sole purpose of kissing my daughter goodbye forever.
Today, my mom asked if I wanted candles on the cake. “No, right?” I said. “Yeah,” she said. “But we should sing something?” I said. “Up to you,”Matty said. “Make something up,” my mom said. “I got it!” I said. I reached into my pocket and pulled out my phone. I cued up a song and pressed play. A few beats passed. “Is that ‘Return of the Mack’?” Matty asked. I nodded. “Nice,” he said. I looked at Avery. “This work for you?” I asked. She bobbed up and down in Lynnette’s arms. A few seconds later, we took this picture.
It was awkward to stand around a cake but not light it on fire then sing and shout loudly, and I didn’t realize why until right now – this moment – as I tried to wrap up this paragraph and this entry. We usually celebrate life moments. Today we celebrated life.