Corona Virus Day #48: Cinco de Mayo Craziness: May 6, 2020
First…a brief summary from all the kids about their birthday yesterday!
Ellen: My corona virus birthday was fun. I think I got more cards and presents that I would normally because of the drive by birthday. I thought the drive by was so fun. There was one car that had about 20 people in it, it was very illegal, I’m glad they didn’t get arrested. I got a lot of books, a cool chair I can read in and an ice cream maker. We went on a bike ride, kayaked and played outside and in the barn a lot. Then we were surprised by our classmates in the drive by birthday. It was awesome, it would only have been made better if Gaga has been there and if they could have all gotten out of the car and played at our house. Overall it was an amazing day. I hope Gaga comes home soon. I love her. I’m thankful for a good birthday and my family.
The look on her face says it all. She got books and a chair in her room to read them in. Not sure I’ve ever seen a child so excited about getting books. This chair is a step up from the Chiefs lawn chair she’s been reading in!
Also…books! So many books!
Cooper: My corona virus birthday was really fun. I got a lot of cool presents and things I like. We went on a bike ride in the morning and it was really fun. Fletcher was a bit of a mess. We went kayaking and mommy and I finished Hitler’s Secret. It was amazing and couldn’t get better. It’s my favorite book. Then our friends surprised us and did a drive by birthday. They were throwing candy out, bubble gum, balloons, sticky spray and we got a lot of cards and candy. It was really cool; I think we should do parades for every birthday. It was nice to see our friends even if for just a little it’s still good to see them. We got Chili’s for dinner it was delicious. Some of the presents I got was a new bed, some clothes and NFL and NBA wall logos for our walls. I bet it turns out really good in our room. Then we watched Back the Future 3, those movies are so good. Overall our birthday was amazing, awesome, fun, surprising, spectacular and one of the best birthday’s ever. I just wish Gaga could have been there. That part was bad and sad. I’m thankful for Mom and Dad and Gaga and for birthdays!
Football logo fat heads for his room…He was just a little excited!
Finley: My corona virus birthday was amazing. It was really fun because we kayaked, we rode bikes, we played in the barn, played with Gigi outside and we had the surprise birthday drive by. That was really cool. It was really awesome because we got to see so many friends and they could say happy birthday. I liked seeing my friends, I just wish they could have gotten out to play. Our presents were really cool. We got new beds and NBA/NFL wallpaper for our room and I got a ton of Michael Jordan clothes. They were good presents. My favorite present is either my Jayhawk hat or my new bed, but they were all great. Overall my birthday was awesome and I love everything about it. I just wish Gaga was here to see us, hopefully she can come back soon. I miss her! Today I am thankful for my friends, my family and GOD.
Can we talk about how he made me a card since it was my “birth” day too. The sweetest!
Can I also tell you that this sweet boy laid out his outfit the night before? Jordan clothes head to toe!
Mommy’s thoughts: Yesterday was pretty amazing. Yesterday was pretty terrible. It’s hard to believe those two statements could be made about the same day. But alas…it’s true.
Our day started with a breakfast fit for kings, the birthday kids had a lot of requests so I was working for awhile in the morning. Totally worth it. Then we went on a bike ride. I love these family bike rides so much. It’s truly amazing how much time we have been able to spend outside together. In the “normal” world we live in there wouldn’t be this kind of down time.
Love all this extra outside time we get during quarantine!
After our bike ride we ate lunch and headed to the pond to kayak. As we were collecting all the things we needed to do so Miss Megan, Fletcher’s pre-school teacher pulled up in our driveway. Let me tell you, the look on that boys face when he saw her was about the most priceless thing ever. This sweet woman came by with gifts for Fletcher and all her students because their year ended so abruptly. They weren’t supposed to hug because of social distancing but there was nothing that could have kept that boy from hugging his teacher. He must have told her he loved her 25 times in the 3-minute visit. He then went immediately inside to inspect his treasures (which he later slept with). It was so special. If you are looking for a rock star pre-school experience, look no further than Megan Dusselier at Sacred Heart Pre-school. She is the absolute best in the business.
Kayaking was a dream on this sunny day and the kids took turns while Cooper and I finished his book. I have never seen a little boy more excited about reading then when we sit down together to read. It’s been pretty special to read it together. Also, it was a great book. If you have a history person in the family that also loves mysteries….”Hitler’s Secret” is a great one for you!
Afternoon snuggles and reading…I’m in HEAVEN!
After kayaking we went to the barn and played sports. The drive by birthday was happening at 3:30 so I wanted them to be at the house so we could walk out right before. I had no idea what to expect. I’ve driven through a few drive by birthday’s and it’s pretty great…but being on the receiving end of one was a whole different level. First of all, we don’t live close to any of these people. Secondly, there had to be at least 20 cars. Maybe more, it was hard to tell. Ellen was jumping up and down the whole time as cars rode by. Finley was so quiet and reserved during the process but later talked about how it was his favorite thing…Cooper ran up to the cars and got whatever they were throwing out of them. They had posters, cards, balloons, silly string, bags of goodies, we even got a large cookie cake. It was beyond what we could have hoped for. I’m not sure who enjoyed it more…the triplets or Fletcher. He got to see “all his friends” and told many of them as they drove by that he loved them. If only we adults were as good at expressing our feelings!
I tried to get a picture of every single car…but I failed. This was so incredible!
The volleyball girls arrival was troubling seeing as they for sure broke social distancing rules but also they drove in this crazy car down our very long driveway…but oh man, the kids faces lit up when they saw them and we were all so happy to see them. These girls become such a huge part of our life and we love them like family, for them to show up for our family was pretty incredible for us all!
It was an amazing experience. My heart was so warmed by all the people who took time out of their busy day to help us celebrate these three humans we love so much. We are very blessed.
It wasn’t long after this euphoric experience that the day turned terrible. Gaga, aka Ellen Bell, aka my mom has not been feeling well for weeks. She has good days here and there and then tries to do too much and is back to where she started. She had left to go to her doctor to see if they could give her some relief. During the parade, near the very end of it, I got a text that she’d have to be driven to the hospital as they were admitting her. They want to run tests to try to figure out what is going on, because so far, the blood tests have told them very little.
Right now…those of you that know Gaga best will find this story amusing. In true Gaga fashion, after being told she had to go to the hospital, she drove from the doctor’s office to Walmart. Her last act of independence so she could get some very important things she needed. Paper towels for example, because two giant packs we have in the garage are simply not enough. She’s the only person I know that would get an extra stop in on her way to the hospital. When she got home and her car was full of goodies she had just bought at Walmart I was less than pleased but it was also to me a good sign. She wasn’t gonna let whatever this garbage is get her down.
Driving her to the hospital is an experience I won’t soon forget. Most of you know Gaga is one of my all time favorite people and sending a 73-year-old woman to the hospital in the middle of this Covid crisis is not exactly good news. Watching the kids hug her before we took off gutted me. Fletcher had tears in his eyes…Gaga is his special buddy. When we arrived at the hospital we had to wait for someone to come down and get her. I was not allowed to go into the hospital. Sending my Gaga up with a random nurse and having to hug and say goodbye on the side of the road was a difficulty I won’t ever properly be able to put into words.
As I watched her roll away into the hospital I cried alone in my car for a good 5 minutes. Then I emailed the staff at St. James. I knew I could email them right then in that moment and that every single person that read it would send prayers up for Gaga and her recovery from whatever has made her feel so terrible. That is the beautiful thing about working in a building like mine. St. James is a very special place and I do believe the prayers of our community have worked miracles before, even in my own life and I am hopeful that those prayers will bring healing to our Gaga who is beloved by everyone that knows her.
The drive home was rough, but I had to get it together because I didn’t want to scare the kids, who were already a little freaked out. By the time I pulled in the driveway the happy face was planted on and we continued to celebrate our sweet little nuggets of goodness. All of them asked me about a dozen times when Gaga would be home. We ate cake, opened presents and finished the night with a movie. Aside from the Gaga hospitalization it was a perfect day.
Ellen and Finley wanted triple layer brownies for their cake and Cooper wanted ice cream pie…so we made both! We sang twice today…once at their actual birth times 12:58 (Finley), 12:59 (Ellen) and 1:00 (Cooper).
That night when we put them to bed all five of them struggled with her not being home. Fletcher cried, Fiona did too. Ellen and Cooper asked me about 1,000 questions and our introspective Finley who is quite mature expressed how worried he was about her.
It broke my heart that they had this stress in their little lives, but in a way it also warmed my heart in a different way. All of our kids are going to experience stress in their lives. While I’d love to protect mine from it at all costs, I know that isn’t in their best interest in the long term. They have to learn how to process it, deal with it and manage it. So we called Gaga and they heard her voice and then talked about what was going on and I reassured them that Gaga is the toughest person I have ever known. I told them that they don’t need to worry about her because she is a survivor. That made them feel better and it made me feel better too.
Today I was riddled with a lot more questions about when she’d be home and what was wrong with her and the kids were mad that I talked to her on the phone in the afternoon without including them. What they don’t know is I talked to her 5 different times! We were able to face time her tonight while we sat on the back porch by the fire. She seemed in good spirits and is hopeful that tomorrow they will have some answers.
The update on Gaga is that there isn’t much of an update. She tested negative for Covid-19, which we were certain she would…and now goes the guessing game of what is actually causing her to feel so terrible. We hope in the coming days they will have some answers. I am grateful to her doctor, Dr. Herrick, who’s daughter I had the pleasure of teaching, for calling me and updating me on her condition. He is a good man and honest man and I know he wants to find some answers too.
Prayers are appreciated.
The kids learned a valuable lesson yesterday that even though the day was all about them…in life, nothing is really ever all about you. They comforted each others concerns and stresses and quite frankly they comforted mine as well. They knew they had a “big” day but somehow it was also very clear that there was something much more important than their 10th birthday. They grew up yesterday right in front of my eyes.
I can tell you I didn’t sleep a whole lot last night…but I did lay in bed and feel enormous gratitude. Gratitude to all the people who went out of their way to make our kids day special, grateful for my mom and all she is to our family, grateful for my incredibly understanding husband, grateful for my sister and her family, grateful for the five incredible kids GOD has blessed us with and grateful to all those who work in healthcare who I had to turn my mom over to last night. That was hard but I believe her to be in good hands.
So yesterday, I had enormous happiness, pride, joy and tremendous stress, fear and sadness…and I’m grateful for all of it.
Perhaps the best part of the day was in the morning we let them open their presents to each other. To see the care they took in creating gifts for one another was incredible. They worked on them for at least a week. They are more creative than I could ever dream of being.
But…the absolute best part was the letters they wrote each other. I didn’t have pictures of them all but holy cow…they are amazing. They really love each other and that is a gift that will last them a lifetime.