Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Joseph's known about Daniel since the beginning. I mean, our house is covered with pictures of him, and he's never far from our discussions and memories. Joseph knew about Daniel's broken heart, and we'd told him that his brother was in Heaven. In the mind of a six year old though? Pretty confusing stuff, I'm sure. We never delved too deep. 

Lent has been, literally, a Godsend. The past couple of weeks have opened up so much discussion about Jesus, about Daniel, about death, and most importantly, about eternal life. Charlie was the one, in typical fashion, who started the questions on our morning commutes to school. But it was Joseph who pushed to know more about Jesus, about Heaven, about angels, about his brother. And this week, he wanted to see Daniel.

It was time.

We picked up Madi from school today, and drove down to the mausoleum. I'm not sure if Joseph thought he would come face to face with his brother, but I don't think so. I think he understood that he wouldn't physically see a little boy. It is so hard for children to comprehend that a body is only a vessel but the soul lives on. And he struggled with wonder about how Daniel fit into that square. I tried to explain cremation to the boys, and Madi helped me immensely so they wouldn't imagine their brother on fire. It almost sounds comical as I type it, but it was quite serious. We wanted them to understand. And we didn't want them to be sad. I was struggling to explain.

It was Madi, of course, who came up with the most brilliant analogy:

"You know a peanut?" she said. 
"Yes," they replied. 
"You know how a peanut has a shell?" she asked. 
"Yes," they replied. 
"Well pretend the peanut went to Heaven and all that was left was an empty shell with nothing inside. It's kinda the same thing."  

I swear that girl's something special. The boys got it. Plain and simple. We drove away with this Mama knowing that more discussions will take place. And they are welcome...they are a gift, especially on Holy Week.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Casting call!

Since the beginning of January, we have been blessed with the most kind and generous physical therapist. Vicki is a personal friend who has been working with Joseph on a weekly basis for the last two months, and her efforts have really made a difference. Several weeks ago, at Vicki's wise suggestion, we reached out to our surgeon at Joe DiMaggio to see if he felt Joseph would be a candidate for serial casting--a process in which his legs and feet are casted in a specific position in order to adjust them. The casts are changed out every two weeks for a total of six to eight weeks. To us, it certainly seemed to be worth a try, since it is less invasive than tenotomy surgery. Dr. C. responded that while he was skeptical about it making a long-term difference, he did not see any harm in trying. We were thrilled!

Last Thursday, we took Joseph to the office to begin the process. They opted to cast both feet because even though he had major correction to his left foot in China, they felt there is still some range to gain. Joseph was quite suspicious of his new accessories at first, but the nurses gave him some great colors to choose from, so that distracted him into loving the idea of Spiderman colors--red and blue. The girls in the office worked their magic, and we were on our way in about an hour. 

Joseph seemed to tolerate it relatively well. He had some discomfort that night, which was expected and alleviated with Advil, and he went to school on Friday without issue wearing homemade cast shoes (constructed of duct tape-covered socks) that I made for him. He wasn't really happy with my creations, so I made a point to locate some *real* cast shoes on Friday, and Jimmy kindly picked them up from the medical supply on Saturday.

Initially, Joey did okay with those, too, and even insisted on riding his bike. But then he cried when he realized that his feet were "too big and slippery." He was clearly beginning to process his new reality. Our son came into the house in tears, having somewhat of a meltdown, and lost his balance in the living room. He tried to correct himself, but kinda fell to the ground. When he did, Jimmy and I both thought we heard an audible crack. His crying escalated, and after that, he refused to bear weight on his right foot at all. He scooted around the house on his rear-end. 

The past few nights were ROUGH for him. He seemed to be in quite a bit of pain, so we gave him pain relievers each night and pulled him into our bed when he needed extra comforting. I'm not gonna sugar coat it either...it was ROUGH for us, too. I must admit that I didn't exactly handle it all gracefully at times. This parenting thing is a hard job, isn't it?? Not knowing what's right and what's wrong, and it figures that these things always seem to happen on a weekend. With a gut feeling that something was not right, I called Joe D. first thing Monday morning, and they didn't like it either. They squeezed us in this morning. 

The nurse removed the casts, and we could see right away that his right ankle was swollen. When asked where it hurt, Joseph poked his ankle and said, "the bone." They ushered us down to x-ray only to confirm that he was right, indeed. Joseph fractured his ankle. So now he's sporting a new green cast (nice pick for St. Patrick's Day!) to immobilize his break, which he will wear for two weeks. And then we will formulate a new plan. 

Jimmy and I are now concerned that maybe his anatomy can't handle the casting, and we may end up listening to the advice of the surgeons and proceed with tenotomy. We will be speaking with the surgeon tomorrow, and we will see. But at least there is peace in knowing that we tried.

It is such a HUGE relief to see him bear weight on his right foot without pain! And even more of a relief to see him happy once again. Fingers crossed that he does okay at school tomorrow. No one saw this one coming, poor kid. 

Welcome to Murphy's Law, son.