Wednesday, December 26, 2007

R.I.P. Pat

Over the weekend a friend of ours took his own life. It came as such a shock and hung over our holiday celebrations like a dark cloud. He was too young to die, and it's so hard to accept that he is actually gone. He and his wife are a part of our circle of friends who all live within an hour of each other but grew up in the same rinky dink town up state years ago. He leaves behind a wife and two young children.

It is such a tragedy to have a friend die, let alone in the way he did. It is even harder to have it happen at the holiday. His little girl will have her fifth birthday in a week, but she will have to have it without her daddy. How is a child who is about to turn five supposed to understand that daddy is gone and never coming back? Will they ever find the magic of Christmas again, or will the memory of his death haunt every Christmas yet to come? How do you begin, as his widow, to pick up the pieces and hold it together when your world is falling apart around you? I can't imagine the pain of her loss, nor what she is going through to try to keep it together for her kids.

My heart is heavy with this loss. As my husband said, "We aren't supposed to be going to our friends funeral's for at least another 40 years." This is the second unexpected loss of a life much to young to have ended in the past 13 months.

I know that life will go on. Time will make it hurt less and we will all move on. However, in the here and now it hurts, and most of all I hurt for those he left behind and pray they can find their way to peace and happiness without their beloved father and husband.

Thomas at Christmas

Thomas was so much fun for Christmas this year. In years past he has helped open his gifts, not really interested in the act of opening nor in what he found inside. This year he couldn't get enough of opening. Occasionally he'd stop to check out what was in the package, but mostly it was on to the next package, ripping the paper a little at a time, tiny bits of paper being thrown here and there. At the start he needed help getting started, but at the end he was a pro. He also quickly figured out that soft packages most likely meant clothing, and he'd toss those aside without bothering to open them. Stinker.

Thomas received way too many gifts, but he really loved most of them, and as the days go by I'm sure he'll love the rest. There was so much excitement involved as we went from my mother's house to my mother-in-laws house, but he was so very very good. He had a great time and it was such a lovely Christmas with him. It's so nice to see how much he has grown and how he is beginning to enjoy those things other parents take for granted that thier kids will do and enjoy. I can't wait for next year!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Merry Christmas!

For the past two years, just before Christmas, Thomas has done something amazing which always manages to lift my mood and restore my holiday spirit.

Two years ago he began using the walker.

Last year he figured out how to crawl. (yes, he's backwards lol)

This year I fully expected him to start talking. Nothing big, just a single word would do. It is now December 11 and still no words. However, he has once again done something truly amazing. This year for Christmas Thomas has decided he would start to "get it". He is suddenly understanding everything being said around him. He is listening, understanding, and complying (when he feels like it!).

There are three other things he has started doing in the past week. The first is that he has become a puzzle master. I took a puzzle to therapy with him last Friday. It is one of those wooden ones with the big chunky pieces with the wooden knobs on them. It has three large shapes, a circle, square, and triangle. In the past he has shown a mastery of the circle, a pretty good grasp of the square, and troubles with the triangle. He hasn't touched the puzzle in months. Well, I pulled it out at therapy on Friday and set it in front of him while his therapist twisted and manipulated his body into the proper kneeling position. Like an expert he grabbed all three pieces and put them in their proper spot. After proving to us a few more times that this was not a fluke we challenged him with another puzzle. This one had smaller wooden shape pieces with smaller knob handles. It also had more shapes. Again he shocked us and put all the pieces in the puzzle with no trouble at all! It was truly amazing to watch him work those puzzles.

The second thing is last night (Monday) he took a hot wheel car, held it wheels down on the table, and began scooting it back and forth in front of him! He PLAYED with a car just like those boring "normal" kids do.

Finally, the third thing is he has a leap frog book that is in the shape of a barn. It reads the story about farm animals, counting them as it goes. Along with this book is a block, which has an animal pictured on each side. For each page of the book "Tad" the frog is looking for one of his missing animals. The object is to find the animal on the block and put it in place with the correct animal facing up. Then when you push the block down it congratulates you on finding the animal. Thomas has had the book for almost a year, and has never used the block with it. The other morning I got the block out and showed him what to do with it AND HE DID IT! He has trouble getting the block in the hole, but he can find the correct animal each time. He will hand it to me to put in the hole after he has tried to do it himself.

I can't say enough how amazing this kid is. I am so in awe of him and all he has accomplished and I wait with baited breath for his next great accomplishment.