One Year Hence

It's been about 1 year since our foster child left our home, returning to the birth family.

I still think about the child every day. I have a picture on my desk. I think of the laughter, the smiles, the hugs. And how the child just fit in with our family so well.

We've lost touch with the family. Phone, address, and email do not work. I asked around for updated contact information, but no one had any.

There's a hole in my heart. I have to avoid thinking about it to stay calm. (This is hard to write.)

We're due with our second child next month, in April. I'm looking forward to seeing our new child. I'm certain I will adore our baby daughter.

There will always be a place in my heart for our foster child, and nothing else can fill it.

If you ever read this: I hope you're okay. Someday, I hope to see you again. And remember, I love you, and I will always be your Baba.

Chris's Law

Today, this happened to me:

I went into the kitchen to throw away a tissue. I noticed the trash was full. I thought: "Oh, I'll just take out the garbage." However, I then noticed that the top of the trash can was rather dirty, so I went to get a wet paper towel to clean it off. I turned to find that the paper towels were out.

So then I went downstairs to get some more paper towels. I remembered that we had laundry to put away, and that later today, when we usually do laundry, we would be out to the hospital for a tour. We had to do laundry earlier, likely about right now.

I got the paper towels, came back upstairs, cleaned the trash can, and while I was taking out the trash, noticed the recycling bin was also full. So that had to be taken out, too.

This situation, along with many others (e.g., fixing anything in the house; replacing a light switch ended up taking half-a freakin' day), resulted in a conclusion: There is never only One Thing to Do. There are always Many Things to Do. To think otherwise is to commit a fallacy.

In other words: One task is Many.

"I'll just do this One Thing." Yeah, right!

Praise for Luca

Luca received his first report card today. He excels at knowing letters and their sounds, as well as counting forward and backward, counting objects, and reading, writing, comparing, and ordering numbers. Otherwise, he is proficient in all other skills.

Luca's teachers wrote two touching notes about him. In the section titled, "Child as a Learner and School Community Member", his teacher wrote, "Luca is a friendly and helpful student. He is a joy to have in class." In visual arts, his teacher wrote, "Luca is a pleasure to have in class! He is hard working, articulate, creative, and is also very helpful to his peers. Thank you Luca!"

We were reading his report card to him, and when I read the first note, I teared up. I'm so proud of my little boy!

Heartbeats

When we first started this journal, it was all about Kyra's pregnancy and our wedding. We wrote about what was going on during that stage of the pregnancy, our wedding, and posted heartbeat recordings from the doctor visits.

Only a few years later, we have a healthy, big school-age kid named Luca, a healthy marriage, and another child on the way. But for this pregnancy, we waited before we announced it. The first time, our journal was sort of a secret. We hadn't shared it with family yet, but we wanted to document what was going on. This time, it was kind of the other way around. Plenty of people knew before we posted it online.

This time, we wanted to make sure to get past a certain stage of the pregnancy before we announced it. We were trying for a baby, and had a few false positives. Even when Kyra was actually pregnant it didn't seem like it. We did so many tests! So we wanted to be certain the baby was going to make it.

A few days ago, we were a bit concerned. Kyra couldn't feel the baby kicking much, and she was told she should feel it every few hours, and quite a few times when she did. So the next day she got a test done, and to our relief, found that the baby was indeed healthy and very active.

Just like with Luca, we record the heartbeats from the ultrasound. Here are the first few recordings we made at various appointments. Yes, she's real! And there's only ONE!



Stay tuned for more!

Remembrances

In 2014, we experienced a few losses. First, our foster child returned to their birth family early in 2014. Kyra's grandmother died this fall. And just two weeks ago today, our cat Mars died.



Mars had a troubled life. We first heard about him from Kyra's uncle, who found him under his porch. He is allergic to cats, so he couldn't take care of him. It appeared that he was abandoned and attempted to find shelter near something familiar to him - a house.

We took Mars to our new condo, where we hadn't moved in yet. He had a few diseases that needed to be cleared up, so we had a few vet visits and expensive meds to give him. All of it cleared up except one problem: his skin kept scabbing and scraping off.

We eventually figured out that he had a skin disease that made his skin extremely sensitive. We thought he had some skin infection, but it turned out he was simply scraping his skin off with this rear claws. We rear de-clawed him and that solved the issue. For a time.

A few years later, we decided to adopt a kitten, Oberon. The two cats did not really get along. We had to keep them separated for a while, and when we finally let them live together, they kept fighting.

One day, we all were sitting on the couch, and I said, "Everyone is here except Mars. Come here Mars!" When he jumped up on the couch, we all saw a huge gash on his side, about the size of a folded-in-half dollar bill. It was horrifying. We rushed him to the vet, had stitches, months of healing, and we gave Oberon to Kyra's sister and her family. (Here is the full story.)

So we decided we had to be a 1 pet household while Mars was with us. He healed up, after a long time and many issues, but was functioning just fine. We moved in to our new house, and aside from the normal cat issues in a new place (i.e., peeing all over the place), he adjusted just fine.

A year went by with few issues. Then we started to have problems. He somehow got a new gash, followed by another, and another and another. This year it feels like he's been isolated in our basement bathroom so he can heal for about a third of the year. And that's while wearing a protective hood, which he had to wear every time or he would make it worse by licking/biting the wound.

I was going crazy trying to figure out what was happening to him. I looked everywhere, multiple times, trying to find anything sharp he might be catching on. The recliner was rather new, and I caught him sitting under it twice, so I thought maybe that was it. I put a spiky mat down underneath to keep him from laying there, and he stopped, but the scratches didn't. So that wasn't it.

Eventually I found a pin that had come loose on a curtain. The curtain was too long, and we don't have a sewing machine, so I pinned it up. I thought that was it. But he again got another nasty scratch. Eventually we determined he was just doing it to himself.

The last event occurred a few weeks ago. He was healing from a wound, and it was a big one, but was healing well, with no visits to the vet. (I was proud of my nursing skills.) It was about the size of a dime. I took his protective hood off and went to eat dinner. After dinner we went to visit our neighbors, and I forgot to put the hood back on. I came back and immediately realized I had forgotten. I rushed downstairs fearing the worst.

I found Mars, not with the healing wound ripped open again, but a brand new wound on the other side of his body. It was the second biggest wound he had since the first horrifying wound. He was shaking from the pain. It was then we decided we couldn't do this any longer. He was doing it to himself, and it was only going to get worse.

The next day, I called the vet and scheduled the euthanasia appointment. It was a very sad day. Coupled with some family drama and a dentist appointment later that day, it was one of the worst days of 2014 for me and probably Kyra, too.

Mars was a good cat. A little dumb, but a good cat. He liked to snuggle and sleep in the sunlight. He was playful and friendly. He had too much hair, too much skin (it hung under his belly as if he had lost a bunch of weight), and too much dander. But he was our cat, and part of our family.

Mars, we miss you. Thank you for the time you spent with us.



I would like to thank Dr. Kay (rhymes with "sky") at the Companion Animal Hospital for her patience and kindness through all our troubles with Mars.