She is my heart. I can say this about my youngest child with total sincerity. Moreover, I can say that about every one of my five children with the same weight and sincerity. How? If one were to die, would not my heart be obliterated, never to be repaired? Yes! I know because one of my children died and my heart was obliterated. I wished to die with her, despite the fact that her sister needed me, despite our inherent disposition towards survival at all cost. Several times, I drove out to the little Native American cemetery on the hill above our town and lay next to her mound of newly turned earth, believing she needed me beside her, knowing I needed to be with her. And, when I laid next to her sister, at home, my nightmares woke me cruelly and often, forcing me to shake her awake from a deep sleep, because I was sure she had gone be with Kara. They were only 16 months apart.
Fifteen years later I finally brought another little soul into this world, after many heartbreaking miscarriages and near full-term experiences. Even he almost didn't make it a couple of times during the pregnancy, but we both were determined. His father was rather disconnected in his spirit. What joy that boy has brought us both. Then came Josh, who bashed the world and our hearts with his autism. Pounding his head on walls, floors and our heads, screaming, crying, not sleeping... Life was hard on us and on him. But, when he smiled, my world lit up and I was filled with everything I needed to keep going. He's 24 now and he beat the odds! Not only is he a productive member of society, he enjoys life, especially if it goes his way.
Now, the girl in this picture. She was born a little early and she did have a difficult time maintaining her body temperature, at first. But once that was taken care of they sent us home, which was within 24 hours. Three days later, after no sleep, a husband who thought I was being over-reactive, and a tiny baby who only cried, I took her to the doctor who found so many things wrong with her (heart, cleft palate, small head, small brain, almost no soft spot, very little muscle tone, cyanosis, high bilirubin, etc.) she had to be hospitalized and I couldn't touch her for days. She had lost so much weight in those three days, wasn't get enough oxygen to her brain, needed surgery for several things that had gone undiagnosed, and then, my husband left us. I was angry, but I knew he wasn't my heart, because my heart didn't explode again.
Kristen was diagnosed with four different syndromes, one being Kabuki Syndrome, another being Asperger's Syndrome. There were times when we didn't know if she would be okay. I imagined losing her. I had very little control over that. Dreams/nightmares came again. There were many setbacks over the years. She is 23 years old now and has been doing well, except for a mass that had to be excised from her stomach a year ago. It was benign. She is an angel! The girl has sweetest countenance (except for once or twice a year when she appears to be possessed - which shocks the heck out of us all.) I guess everyone has to get a little moody just to be normal. She is in her room as I write this, giggling loudly as she watches 'Princess Bride' for the first time ever.
I took this picture of her last year as she sat on the front porch of the old Washtucna, Wa. Jailhouse. I'm happy I took those pictures. They tore it down within months. So sad. Kristen, as well as Josh, were a lot of work. I invested my all in them. They have paid this mother back to full and overflowing. My children are my heart. This picture represents just that. Happy Valentines Day to you all!