Monday, July 16, 2012

There is No Santa Clause (Gabby on Mend)

Thanks to everyone for the well wishes. It's been a pretty crazy week.

Gabrielle is steadily improving since being admitted on Friday. She went to bed last night sounding almost normal, but woke up this morning choking on her coughs ... which is better than the night before when she went to bed choking on her coughs and woke up struggling to breath. So we are seeing a positive trend.

So funny being in the hospital this time around and after last year's marathon experience (which was followed by an incredibly challenging year). A year ago we were just realizing that we were "That Family." Now there's a quiet acceptance.

I suppose that's how it is for anyone who lives with – or is supporting someone through – a life-altering tragedy, sickness or disease... You just come to look at the world differently.

You come to realize that there is no Santa Clause. You're like the kid in Gr.1 who knows what's really going on behind the scenes come Christmas time. You just don't get as excited about all the hubbub as everyone. You enjoy the activities and excitement and go along with the myth because you want to fit in, be a part of things, and have fun. You learn to enjoy the season for what it really is. You are wiser beyond your years.

You know there is no Santa Clause. Weirdly, however, and in a way you can't quite make sense of, you know not to talk about it too much (or at all) with your peers because you don't want to ruin their fun. Their fun is premised on something entirely different. They don't want to know about Santa Clause. They don't want to "go there." Not ready. Later.

That's what it's like this time around. We are not trying to cling on to "normal" like we did last year. Just like when we lived in South Korea for two years, where it wasn't until the second year that we really started "getting" the country, I think we're starting to get it now, and at a whole new level...

Gabrielle has shown us what is really magical. Really real. Really wonderful.

Life is short. Life is fragile. Like can hurt. Life can be wonderful.

So while there is no Santa Clause, we're learning that there are lots of opportunities to quietly celebrate what we have – and who we have – without making it a big deal or super special. The frills and ribbons we see people getting all tangled up in actually take away from what's really going on in the first place. Untangling yourself can be a long and painful process, and sometimes you lose yourself along the way, but what you see at the end is worth it ... because it's real.


  1. A beautiful post. Glad to hear that Gabrielle is getting better. I'm sure you've heard this before, but you could definitely write a book if you were ever so inclined.

  2. I'm so glad to hear that your daughter is getting better. And wow, I think you have put into words what I think I've been feeling for years now. We too are "that" family. For years I've been feeling that my son has been robbed of a childhood - it was taken from him at 9. (Oddly enough it was brain surgery a week before Christmas. So, yeah, there is no Santa Clause. We know.) As others talked (and bragged) about their athletic child, I would tune them out and deep inside I would be telling them "How nice for you, but don't you realize who you are talking to? My son stopped doing sports when he was 9. I just can't relate anymore." But now we are quietly celebrating his high school graduation and the fact that he will be going to college in the fall. When we set out looking at colleges, we did not care what sports were offered but rather what is the layout of the campus and what accomodations can they provide? Instead of tryouts for sports over the summer, we will be visiting disability services to determine how best to accomodate him. But I am excited for him and am grateful that the tumor that robbed him of his childhood has not returned to mess with his adulthood too.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that I get it. There is no Santa Clause but that's okay because we don't need him. We have the here and now.

    PS. I agree with Matt, you definitely could write a book.

  3. Love the comments, and thanks, Anonymous, for sharing ... the here and now is exactly it. And (ha ha) when life settles down maybe I'll look into writing a book. Shucks.

  4. Regan, your philosophies on life are deep and meaningful. Thank you for allowing us into your home and your heart and the places that hurt. I really appreciate knowing your family better from afar but also keeping you close in my heart.

  5. wow. so true... wish we were closer so we could actually meet you all in person. THanks for the inspiration for keeping things in perspective (!)

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