Monday, December 13, 2010

Love It The Way It Is

The holiday season, as well as two Vaughan boys' birthdays this month, has taken over here at my house and I've not been great about updating y'all on Lilly's progress.  I know that many of you are anxiously waiting to hear the latest.  So, I've asked Colleen to get in on the blog writing bandwagon, saddle up and take the reins on this post.  Here are a few words straight from the Mama herself . . . giddy-up!

Colleen wrote:
Well, I feel a bit out of place writing on Kate’s blog, but this on-line journal IS about my daughter, right?  Permission to write, then, is granted.  Both babes are tucked in tightly for their afternoon nap and my bare feet are toasting by the wood stove.  If all goes as planned, I will have a chunk-o-time with which to write about our little family and about how thankful we are for the loads of love and heaps of help we’ve received during Lilly’s pre and post surgery journey.  Quietness still reigns from the kids’ bedrooms, and my tootsies are comfortably warming, so . . . ready, set, go!

I still can’t wrap my head around the three, oh-we-have-this-one-in-the-bag, days left until Lilly gets off her halo.  I can’t believe we will one day say, “Oh, Lilly?  Yeah, she totally made wearing a freakin’ halo for six weeks no big deal.”  Lilly even managed to figure out a way to roll, crawl, and dance in that bad boy.  When I see our little girl, who insists on wearing skirts when she boogies and who says, “Gross, Matt!” when her dad contorts his face in all manners of funniness to get her to laugh, I can’t believe how strong she is.  She’s just three and her little body has undergone so much. 

Since her surgery, I’ve become an expert on Lilly - even more than before.  I’ve studied the way she moves, the way she speaks, the way she teases, the way she empathises.  This surgery and its recovery has awakened me to the way Lilly "deals".  She recognizes, accepts, and moves on.  I’m sure she has not only taught me a tad-bit about life, but I hope she’s snuck her way into your consciousness when you are heavy with hurt or pain or worry.  Lilly’s ability to love it the way it is, is contagious.
Lilly getting ready to create orange and clove ornaments for her Christmas tree.
Loving life the way it is at this very moment, even when . . . .  If Lilly can moonwalk with a halo and walker, what are you able to do and love in moments of discomfort or pain or fear?  What are you able to appreciate in times when life feels like it will swallow you up or when the future seems too big or when you don't have the right answers?  Lilly has taught me, through all of this, that the more you love life, the more it will love you.

Well, we’ve been loving life pretty well these days.  Plenty of merry Christmas cheer flowing in the Roscoe household.  Lilly and Barrett still haven’t complained about the hours of Pandora’s “Nat King Cole Christmas” channel.  Nor have the layers of dried glue and glitter on their fingers or piles of red and green pipe cleaners on the dinner table seem to bother them either.  Ah, they are their mother’s children. 
Lilly picked out green from this magazine . . .
added a little Mod Podge to the styrofoam/paper and . . .
VoilĂ !  She made her very own Christmas wreath.

Along with crafts, we are kept busy with visitors and visits.
Ryan, Lilly’s physical therapist, works with Lilly at our place one morning a week, and each time Ryan notices changes in the way Lilly moves.  Lilly is, when standing stationary, able to automatically drop her heels and stand flat-footed. Prior to surgery, that movement was normally forced by one of us.  She also comfortably staggers her feet and places weight on her right foot (the one that was tightest pre-fusion).
The surgery may have lessened the pressure on the spinal cord, which in turn has given her new movement.  Small changes hopefully will develop into bigger changes over time.  We will have to help reawaken Lilly’s spine once her halo is removed with as much movement and stimulation as possible.  A bit daunting to think that our efforts directly impact the way Lilly will continue to heal.  Love it, Colleen, love it the way it is - Lilly keeps whispering that one in my ear.

My sweet mom watches Lilly one day a week, while I take Bear to yoga (yoga + child watch = one relaxing morning).  As well, my mother-in-law spends a few hours each Wednesday with the kids, so I can run much-needed errands.  Is wandering through Battle Ground's main street antique shops count as an errand?  Um, yes it does!  Thanks, Mama Mattie.

So, this Wednesday is Lilly's final day with her halo.  Oh, to hold Lilly in all her sweet softness - no bars, no metal, no straps, no padding.  I never realized how precious the ability to hold, and I mean really hold, your child is.  Though it's been difficult to not physically console and love Lilly as we normally would, the halo has forced us to show tenderness to Lilly in ways we never did before.  In fact, I have discovered that my lips and the bridge of Lilly's nose were made for each other.  And, Lil's elbows?  Well, they are just as delectable.  Lilly will soon be halo free, but not entirely orthotic free.  In order to protect Lilly's weakened neck muscles, she will sport a neck collar for two to three weeks.  This device will support Lilly's neck as well as build up strength lost during the use of the halo.  But, we can do wonders with a neck collar.  Scarves, anyone? 

Whatever challenges are to come during this new stage of the journey, I know that we will recognize, accept, and move on as Lilly has so gracefully done.  So, might I suggest a little moonwalk-dancin', pipe-cleaner craftin', and nose bridge kissin' to help you love life the way it is!  Yee haw!!!

P.S. Thank you all for loving Lilly and our family the way you have. Your prayers, vibes, notes, visits, meals, house-helping, gifts . . . are so appreciated!


  1. Oh my. I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes, Colleen and Kate. Colleen, you write beautifully and are able to pass along the very love you feel for sweet Lilly through your words, as well as the lessons she teaches you. Thank you for this - it not only makes me feel that I know you both, but the lessons strike home with me.
    Lucky you to have Lilly in your lives, Colleen and Kate.
    Lucky Lilly to have you.

  2. Thank you for sharing, thank you for keeping us posted, thank you for putting life into perspective. HUGS to all those in your home even though you don't all know me. I think of you often.
    ~ Teah (Holdahl) Swenson

  3. You are very special with a very special little girl. Little Lilly is inspiring to us all. Thank you so for sharing your story. You are all brave!!! Janette Holdahl