April is here and it’s an exciting time for me personally. Real spring weather and my “Jamaica-versary” (get married in two places and you get two wedding anniversaries). The day in April I love most is April 30th. April 30th at 1:26 p.m. to be exact.
Why April 30th? Because it’s my oldest daughter’s birthday. She is Sickle Cell free, but she is still a warrior princess. Through all of Kennedy’s surgeries, hospital stays, doctor appointments, late night Kennedy’s Village work, etc. etc. etc., my husband and I work hard to find balance to make sure that both our girls feel loved.
That’s not easy to do and it’s especially not easy to do when you are the caregiver of someone with a chronic illness. Balance is a tough daily journey. Everyone has different ideas of what balance means and how you should go about achieving it. One thing we can all agree on is balance is not a one-time shot. I think regardless of how you achieve it one day, you still have to work to achieve it on the next.
One day, at the beginning of Kennedy’s Sickle Cell journey she had come home from a hospital stay due to a fever that wouldn’t go away. She and I were there for about four days. Not as long as others, but long enough to miss my oldest and for her to miss us.
The next day, as I was driving my Savannah to school, she vomited all over herself out of nowhere in the backseat of my car. Honestly, I’m thinking, I’ve been off work four days and all this stuff was running through my head that I needed to get done. As I turned the car around to head back home, I called my husband to help problem solve and without hesitation he left work to meet us there. After I cleaned her up and he got home, I began to head out the door feeling like a great problem solver. I’d prepped soup, set Savannah up with plenty of liquids, and left suggestions of care for my husband. When I went to kiss my daughter on the head and began to say goodbye, Savannah looked at me from her seat in her father’s lap and with a question in her voice said, “Mommie, so daddy stays home with me when I’m sick and you with Kennedy when she’s sick?”
It was as if she was trying to get an understanding of the household rules, but the question broke my heart! At that moment, tears begin to well up in my eyes. I couldn’t even speak because the guilt had locked away my words. My husband stepped in and gave some amazing answer about how he wanted to be home with her. She was two-years-old at the time, so she accepted his answer. She looked at him, laid deeper into his chest, and said, “okay daddy.”
I got to the car and cried all the way to work. I walked in and said good morning as I mustered up my “I’m every woman” walk through the office hallway. Then I closed my door and cried some more.
That day I invented “Savannah Day.”
“Savannah Day” is exactly that. Everything is about Savannah. The amazing thing about this is Savannah Day isn’t always deep. Most often they are free or surrounded around something she was going to do anyway. The point is to make sure she knows and it’s announced that this is her time.
Examples of free things would include Savannah Day at the park, library, or home playing games. Examples of use using things already scheduled are preparing for and attending things like her school science fair or the churches’ spring children’s production. Savannah loves her family so some of her days are spent including her sister and dad.
I don’t know who you need to pencil in more often. Maybe it’s yourself, so call it “Me Day.” Maybe it’s multiple people, so get out a calendar, some patience, and start scheduling. Eventually it will become a habit.
To my Savannah: You are my sunshine. You were the first person to think I was a superhero. Even though you’ve figured out I’m not perfect, you still think I have superpowers. I love your patience, kindness, and excitement for life. Thanks for being so great at sharing your mom. I hope you enjoy April 30th as much as I do. Happy Savannah Day!