I was at the craft store the other day looking for Thanksgiving dessert plates and napkins; instead I found Christmas decorations from corner to corner. I asked a sales associate where I could find the fall or Thanksgiving related décor. To my disappointment it had all been removed the day after Halloween. My quick retort to the sales associate was that it was not even Thanksgiving yet! She shrugged. In the end, I bought a Christmas wreath for the front door. I guess the store won, but it also made me think about how Thanksgiving seems to get the short end of the stick, sandwiched between two popular holidays – Halloween and Christmas.
Thanksgiving rides the waves of holiday cheer but does not get much focus anymore, or maybe it never got a lot of attention. But, even in spite of this, I want to focus on Thanksgiving to say thank you to some truly exceptional people and groups.
To to My Husband:
My husband and I have been married for six years. We were married young and had a baby young. A baby that was full of the unexpected. I do not remember most of our short period of time from concern to diagnoses and the various times of trials that followed, but I remember the night before Logan received a specialty form of chemotherapy to battle his inhibitor.
I needed to take a shower so I used the shower in our basement in an effort to not wake up Logan since his room was right next to our main bathroom. While I was showering, I panicked. Not your run-of-the-mill panic, but a full-blown panic attack. My body froze. The water beat down on me and continued to get colder and colder. I remember banging on the side of the shower with as much strength as I could muster but it was unless. My banging was a mere tap.
After some time, my husband ventured to the bathroom out of concern and confusion. I was sitting on the shower floor, frozen from ice cold water. He turned the shower off, wrapped me in a towel and picked me up. In that moment I knew he was equally terrified of what the next day meant for our family, but he remained strong for me. He stood tall while I crumbled under the weight of fear and doubt.
To him, and to all the spouses and significant others of hemo moms and dads, thank you for holding me up when I could not put one foot in front of the other. Thanks for being there when the lists, the medication, the doctor visits, the surgery are too much to bear alone. I hope that the times when you are filled with fear and doubt that you know I will be there to put the next foot in front of the other; because we trade places when one is up and the other is down.
To My Fellow Hemo Mom:
I stood staring at my computer screen. On the screen was a picture of a little boy bent over a baseball base with a glove in hand ready for the ball to come right at him. He had hemophilia and he was the first little boy I saw that was not like my tiny baby wrapped in the wires and cords of the NICU. He looked active and normal.
His mom had reached out to me, despite her own busy life to say congratulations about my new baby, to show me her sweet boy, and to let me know that this time is scary and unknown, but it will be okay. She called upon me to say that one day my little one might be running the bases or just plain running.
This is empathy. This is our community of families taking time from their own lives to say – welcome. Our empathy, as hemo moms and dads, is born out of pain. It is not something that can be manufactured or taught. I have seen the faces of well-meaning individuals trying to be empathic but their lives have not accorded them the joys and pains of knowing what true understanding looks like.
So, thank you to this sweet mama who welcomed me into the family, but also to the countless others who have come after. Thank you to the ones who have shared their stories, their struggles, and who have cried tears of joy and sadness alongside us. You are all a soft spot to fall.
You were unexpected from the beginning, and you continue to surprise and amazing me daily. I so often feel that this story we are walking isn’t mine to tell. The emotions of the past four years have been mine but the details, the ins and outs, are really yours to share. And one day, I pray that you will look back and know that beyond a shadow of a doubt, we are thankful for you. For the little man you are and the young man you will one day be.
You are fighting a battle, which I had never really heard of, and you will continue to fight for the rest of your life. Thank you for allowing me to walk with you. Thank you for reminding me that it is what it is. Life is no different to you than it has always been. If you can handle the constant doctor visits, the medication, and the what-ifs, then I can do the hard stuff too.
Thank you for showing me that I can really do it. I can do hard things.
As we all rush around cooking meals, buying gifts, and decorating, take a moment and thank your family, thank the group of people who have walked alongside you, and thank that sweet child of yours that has shown you a whole new world.
A world that is full of so much life and anticipation for the future that you cannot think of anything else but to be overwhelmed with thanks.
Emily Boyer lives with her husband, Geoff, and 4-year-old son, Logan, and infant son, Ryan, in Minnesota.
*Note: “Infusing Love: A Mom’s View,” is a blog collection of personal opinions and a representation of individuals experiences. While extensive efforts are made to ensure accuracy of the content, the blog entries do not represent HFA or its Board of Directors. The blog is also not intended to be construed as medical advice or the official opinion/position of HFA, its staff, or its Board of Directors. Readers are strongly encouraged to discuss their own medical treatment with their healthcare providers.