Tales from the Vault is a feature where I bring back some of my favourite posts from the archived blog. All text from the original posts has been left completely unedited; however, where I think context is required it's been added.
Every year I do a "Christmas List" post around this time of year, and link back to all of the previous years. Well considering none of those posts exist on this blog anymore, here they all are together in one place. This year's version is coming soon, but in the mean time take a seat and grab a box of kleenex - they get increasingly more tear-inducing as the years pass.
I watched that WestJet video that went viral (how cool was THAT?! - if you haven't seen it, I beg of you to click on that link) and wondered to myself what I would have asked Santa for if that had been me. Honestly, I have no idea. I need nothing. Really, and truly. I know there are far worse problems to have than to be stumped about what to ask for at Christmas. Talk about #firstworldprobs.
Sure, there's some stuff I could use. "Newer" of pretty much everything we own would be nice. A giant sum of money to pay for the renos we hope to undertake and the wheelchair van we need to buy? Yup, that would help too. Canucks tickets in a luxury box, meeting the team afterwards, and possibly getting swept away by Kevin Bieksa….
Wait, what? I got off track for a second there. Back to the realistic list.
Here is the thing. I have absolutely everything I need, wrapped up in Jordan, Rio, Nolan and Asher.
Let's take Jordan. Just the other night when wrapping Christmas presents, I spilled the entire contents of my water bottle on the bed. On my side. It made a giant puddle that soaked through all bedding including the mattress. Totally my fault, nothing to do with him, yet Jordan slept downstairs, in the cold basement, on the crappy futon, so I could sleep on HIS side of the bed. I know that might sound silly but that gesture reminds me what he is made of. He's a keeper.
Then there's Rio. I don't know where to start. That girl is a gem in every single manner. Even when she misbehaves or we argue, she is back to her sweet self within moments. She hugs me at random times just to tell me she loves me. She adores her brothers in a way I can only compare to how a parent loves their child. She is smart, talented, and pretty much who I want to be when I grow up.
And Nolan. My goodness that child is a handful. He tests the bounds of my patience, while at the same time his huge heart makes mine grow three sizes. For everything typical we have missed out on with the boys, he makes up for it a dozen fold being the most boyish boy I know. He keeps me on my toes and makes me laugh like none other. His hugs melt me and he compliments me every chance he gets.
Last but certainly not least, there's Ashy. My inspiration and my strength.Whenever things get tough, I keep going because of him. I don't mean just figuratively either. Literally - when I am out on a run and I am feeling tired and wanting to stop, all I think of is Asher and how hard he works at everything. I don't let him quit, so I don't let me quit. It's really quite simple. He defines all that is hard working and positive and very little ever seems to get him down. He is our light.
So to reiterate Santa, I've got everything I need in the four people I share my life with. If you could keep them safe and healthy that is all I ask for.
It's time for my annual Christmas list again, just squeaking in under the wire this year.
Seeing as how I won't be posting again before tomorrow - Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Seasons Greetings (whichever holiday you're celebrating)! I hope your days are full of lots of family, friends, love, and happiness.
I'm getting this letter in a bit late, but I'm hoping it's ok because I only want two things this year. I'm keeping it simple and expecting I will get exactly what I ask for. Ok?!
1. Let the kids continue to be awesome. I don't want to ask for them to accomplish things physically or emotionally or anything that puts any pressure on them. I just want them to continue to be the absolutely amazing little people that they are. All three of them, without any idea, are such an inspiration. Rio as the helpful, loving, mature older sister, and the boys and the strong, courageous little fighters. I couldn't possibly be more proud, and truthfully every day I wonder how on earth I made these perfect little children that are such better people than their parents are (don't worry, I'm speaking for Jordan but I know he feels the same). So just let their awesomeness continue please. Don't let anything snub out the incredibly bright light that the three of them shine on the world.
2. Keep us strong. Physically and emotionally, let us all keep going. Sometimes life is hard for the boys, for Rio, and for Jordan and I. Some of our challenges have not been easy to overcome. There are certainly days when Jordan and I don't think we're going to get through another day, and while the kids aren't old enough to verbalize those feelings, I know that sometimes things get awfully heavy for them too. All that said, so far we have managed to survive it all. So all I ask is that as we continue to grow, we continue to meet any obstacles with strength and courage. I'm done expecting for life to suddenly become "fair" and even out with nothing but easy times ahead, so I just hope that we can manage anything else that comes our way.
Like I said, that's it - two measly little requests this year. I'm tempted to ask as a tiny little footnote that you bring back a remaining hockey season, but you know what - I'm over it. Truthfully, I'm enjoying my peaceful winter evenings without the stress of the Canucks.
Thanks Santa, looking forward to your visit tonight. I'll leave you some delicious maple bacon sugar cookies - hopefully that'll sweeten the deal.
I'm directing my Christmas list to you this year - last year and the year before the kids had a hard time getting out to shop so I hoped you could take care of it for us this time.
2011 was quite a year, and not in the greatest way. So let's start with my most important wish for 2012: HEALTH. Please let us all be healthy in body and mind. H-E-A-L-T-H, that's all.
Secondly to health, please let us just be HAPPY. We've done pretty well at overcoming our obstacles and not letting them crush us, but let us start enjoying life without too many more roadblocks. Life is complicated, I know, but let them be every day complications, not life altering ones. Our family is ready, and needing, time to just be together, enjoy each other, and celebrate all the joy that is in our lives. No more sadness and resentment, just happiness and appreciation for all of our many blessings.
As for Asher, I am done asking for him to do specific things like sit or stand - I know he will do everything he can when he is ready, to the best of his ability, with hard work and patience that seems to have no end. A miracle would be nice but what I really wish is that his amazing and inspiring spirit continue to soar despite the challenges he faces.
Please let Nolan walk soon. I am losing my mind with worry because he doesn't! He is so close, he just needs to know he can let go do it on his own. But more importantly, let his menacing love of adventure and mischief continue to drive him and make him the crazy character who keeps us on our toes.
Continue to help Rio's confidence grow. Over the past months we have watched her come out of her shell and flourish. She is bright, funny, and lovely - let her continue to discover in herself all the wonderful things we see in her every day.
For me and Jordan, please let us continue to juggle our life's responsibilities with some grace. Winning the lottery would help, but status quo is good too. We're getting by, keeping our family safe and loved, and that's all I can ask for.
Santa, we're counting on you, and will be waiting on the 24th with a plate of cookies, a newly cleaned chimney, and some empty stockings. Our best to the Mrs. and your elves.
Love, The Trousdell Five
PS - If there's any way you could help the Canucks win the Stanley Cup this year - wow, that would be awesome. If you felt like putting tickets under the tree that would be cool, but I'll take the win from the comfort of my couch if that's all you can do.
Remember last year's Christmas List? That was a harsh one. Things were not so good this time last year. Wow, we have come a long way! Babies are home with us for their first real Christmas; I can't tell you how much that means to us! In the spirit of last year, let's try an updated list for 2010. This year Rio gets included.
My lovely children,
Considering you're all in my sight pretty much 24/7, I figure you haven't made it out shopping this year either. And considering your dad's Christmas shopping took a grand total of about 90 minutes, I'm guessing you didn't send him out to be your errand boy either. Well good thing you're cute, I'll forgive you, but like last year I have a couple of specific requests. Nothing quite so difficult as "BOYS - BREATHE ON YOUR OWN DAMNIT!" but I might test you a little bit.
- Sit up. Seriously. SIT.UP. Just because you have a giant cloth diaper and an even more giant belly, that is no excuse. Do you know how old you are? SIT. You are so close and it doesn't even faze you to topple over because your enormous head breaks the fall. I promise you, sitting is way more fun that just lying there. Really, it is.
- Crawl on all fours. The commando crawling is cute, but I'm getting a bit tired of the dragging opening your diaper and covering you in pee. Not so cool.
- Learn that "dada" actually means daddy. I think you might know that, but somehow you also think it means Mommy, food, Rio and pretty much anything else you want.
- See the above memo about sitting. Your brother is chubby and lazy and we know he can do it, but you we worry about more. Your not sitting has my mind racing through all sorts of scenarios, like "If he can't sit, he can't walk....", you know, that kind of crazy thinking. If you'd just sit you'll set my mind at ease that you're going to do all those other things you're supposed to do.
- Crawl. I don't care how, just do it. I know it is entirely possible that one day you might just get up and walk, having skipped crawling all together, but somehow crawling would make me feel a lot better. See the point above about crazy worrying.
- Don't give up on the hard stuff. I know the arms and legs sometimes don't work as easily as you'd like them to, but you need to stay interested in trying. You are such a hard worker, please don't get frustrated and throw in the towel now. 2011 is going to be a big year and you're going to show lots of progress, I can feel it.
- Continue to tell me every day that I am your best friend. More importantly, continue to believe it. All too soon you are going to think I am the worst person on the planet, so I will take your unconditional frienship for as long as I can.
- Lose the attitude. Often, you are sweet and kind and your manners and tone impress me. But sometimes, the way you talk to me leaves me literally speechless. I know it's just because you're four years old and asserting your independence, but wowsa, do your words pack a punch sometimes.
- Keep learning and amazing us with your brains. Your dad and I surely have a secret war going on inside our heads, trying to take credit for who gave you yours smarts. This one I will not chalk up to you just being a four year old - child you are SMART. The questions you ask and the facts you rattle off absolutely blow my mind. Keep up the good work!
Rio, Asher and Nolan, we love you more than you will ever know. Boys, at this time last year you were barely out of the woods (and not yet 4 lbs!) and Rio, you were a patient 3 year old, staring at your brothers in their "cages". Now you are all thriving and beautiful and you all amaze us every single day. All of you have come through this horrible ordeal strong and brave and overflowing with resilience. I am so incredibly proud to be your mom and could not possibly be blessed with better kids.
The past few days I have found myself getting teary for no reason, and I know it is because this Christmas has really shown me how unbelievably lucky this family is to have each other. Happy, mostly healthy, and very, very loved. Considering where we were a year ago (or even two years ago), my Christmas wishes have definitely come true.
Luckiest mama in the world!
Dear Asher and Nolan,
Things are shaping up around here for Christmas and I'm guessing you haven't had a chance to sneak away and do your shopping. Well we'll forgive you for no presents but don't think you're getting off the hook that easily. I have a list of non-present-type requests that I'm hoping you can both deliver on.
- Keep growing stronger and get yourself off that ventilator, preferably by the end of 2009. You're looking better and more like yourself and you're starting to breathe above your set rate. If your gasses are good tomorrow they may think about slowly starting to wean you off the vent. So be good when they do your heel poke and let's have some low CO2. I am encouraging healthy competition here by pointing out that your brother is kind of kicking your ass in the breathing department right now. That's not cool is it? So get on it.
- Keep gaining weight. Not the huge gains you've had the past couple days so that they're worried you might just be retaining water, but a reasonable amount, say 30 grams per day. Weighing 4 lbs by the end of 2009 is definitely a possibility if you keep up the good work.
- Continue to be a champ on CPAP. I heard a couple of rumours today. One, if your CO2 starts decreasing you may be a candidate for nasal prongs before you know it. Two, when you get on nasal prongs you might be able to leave level 3 and move to level 2. Can we aim for this early January please?
- Gain 50 grams before Christmas to double your birth weight. Can you believe it?! Double your birth weight at a whopping 3 lbs 14 oz. If you want to take it one step better, gain 110 grams between now and then to make it to 4 lbs.
Both Of You:
- No more middle of the night phonecalls. You've each given us one and scared the living bejeezus out of us so you're done.
- Quit the desats and bradys. QUIT THEM.
- No more infections, bleeds, or drama in general. You've aged me incredibly. Plus I'm really tired of seeing IVs. Nolan, your haircut is ridiculous care of the 2 IV sites in your head. And Asher, once your current site goes you're out of hands so if they can't find good veins in your feet you're about to get your own bad haircut.
- Discharge by the end of February. I've pretty much given up the dream of having you out by your due date but there's still 24 more days in February past that, so I'll give you till then. If you also manage to come home at the same time that would be helpful. It will be sad and hard if one of you is left behind (Asher I'm talking to you. Do you want to be there when your brother is home hanging with Rio? I didn't think so).
I think I'll stop there. That's a pretty hefty list but I'm going to go out on a limb and say YOU OWE ME. I'm not getting ahead of myself and asking for anything unattainable or too far in the future so I have confidence you can follow through. And if you don't, I might have to make sure Santa loses the address of the NICU and can't deliver your presents.
Finally to quote Mariah Carey (ugh, I know I know, almost as bad as Celine) singing my favourite modern Christmas song (care of Love Actually, the best Christmas movie EVER):
I don't want a lot for Christmas
There is just one thing I need
I don't care about the presents
Underneath the Christmas Tree
I just want you for my own
More than you will ever know
Make my wish come true
All I want for Christmas is you
[December 2014: The only note worthy of adding to this entire post is that I still sing this song to the boys and this year they understand the significance of it. And I still cry nearly every time I sing it).
Lots of love, oh and Merry Christmas!