I posted about Ben the other day, the lone male in a pack of crazy girls.
Kaylen Hope. 6 years old going on 26. Wisdom beyond her years, energy enough for five people. Hence the Hurricane moniker.
If you’ve never read her birth story, you should. Here it is.
She came into this world like a firework and that’s how she lives every day of her life.
She tests my patience on the daily, and she makes me laugh pretty gosh darn hard when I need it the most. The things that come out of this kids head and mouth would make the best book. I do my best to try to capture the amazingness of her personality by journaling some of her “kaylenisms”, but I think inevitably I will fall short. This kid is going to go places, of that I have no doubt.
She was 6 months old when I found out I was pregnant with Kendall. By the time she was a year it was hard for me to rock her to sleep at night like I always did with my babies. She was 15 months old when Kendall was born, and life as she knew it changed drastically.
There is a picture somewhere that my sister snapped on the day Kendall was born. None of us had ANY idea that Kendall was anything but the picture of health. The family was all gathered, anxiously awaiting the announcement of Kendall’s birth and then we would all have a fun meal together in the hospital. But that wasn’t what happened, and as they were whisking Kendall away to the NICU, and I was recovering from my own shock (almost literally with the amount of blood I lost) over having a baby who was sick, and the speed with which it all happened, and we were all holding back our tears at the unknown, trying to be strong for kealey and karissa who were crying….we heard a strange noise. And there was Kaylen, laying on her belly on the cart they use to hold the placenta after a birth, wheeling herself around the room without a care in the world.
Finding her own fun in a world that had just been turned upside down. I look at that picture, with her chubby little baby cheeks, and her short little legs that had only learned how to walk a few months before, and I see that she was still so little. So young. She still needed me, so very much.
And thus began mine and kaylen’s strange, wonderful, crazy new relationship. Oh I still was and always will be her mommy – but our relationship changed that day, somehow, and in ways I may never be able to fully verbalize. It is imperceptible to probably all but her and I, but it was changed. She needed so very much of me, and there was none of me left to go around. Even once we got Kendall home from the hospital, there was just so very much to be done for Kendall, my emotional energies were poured into figuring out why she wouldn’t eat or breathe or wake up. And then she got really really sick and life as I knew it was blown right out of the water. I changed. I changed as a person and I changed as a mom and Kaylen still needed me. That has never changed.
I know i fall so short of what she needs from me, every day, even now. Even when things are calm, I’m not enough for her. Her love is fierce and wild and strong and demands every single ounce of your focus and attention. she is INTENSE – in everything she does, from sunup (when she wakes up) til beyond sundown (when she finally crashes). She has learned to do so much on her own, so far ahead of her own time. Our relationship, it is so hard to define. I did not get enough time to cuddle her, to spoil her with my love and attention, to form the same mommy/baby bond that I did with my other girls. She spent time with her daddy and time with her Memaw and time with babysitters and friends and whoever was around to grab her while I ran to the ER again, sat in a hospital again, went to a doctor’s appointment again. She watched as therapists came into our house to work with her sister and play with toys that weren’t for her and she couldn’t understand (I need to say here that our EI therapists were all great and did their best to include kaylen all the time as much as they could). She has watched as nurses came into our house whose sole intention was to give attention to Kendall and her care. She has watched me drive off countless times with just her sister – not grasping that her sister would GLADLY trade alone time with mommy for all the pokes/appointments/medical stuff, not understanding that it wasn’t fun times we were driving off into the sunset for.
She has heard words like lab draws, vesicostomy, GJ tube, saline flushes, occupational therapy and countless others her whole life. She learned to read by learning how to spell “STOP” and “RUN” on her sister’s feeding pumps. She can tell you what day is Bingo Day with Child Life at the hospital and what alcohol wipes are useful for. She does craft projects with medical tape and IV tubing. She is so very smart. Smarter than her 6 tender years would belie.
But what she has always needed is ME, all of me. And she has so rarely gotten that. Last year when she was in half day kindergarten, we would try to have mommy/kaylen time in the mornings – running errands, getting lunch together, just sitting and talking and laughing and then making a mad dash to get home in time for the bus. And while I know she needed that time, it was still heartbreaking to hear the cries of the one we left behind with the nurse. There are really hardly ever any “easy” answers in a family dynamic like ours. We all do our best to make the most of it – but we live a strange life, with strange circumstances.
I don’t know what the future exactly holds for this Hurricane of mine. I’m betting it will involve a position of authority, if she can manage to not be hyper during an interview process long enough to impress someone with her strength and determination. But this is my baby Kaylen. She is strong and fierce and intense and amazing. I don’t get enough time to spend one on one with her and I need to find a way to make that better. Someday I will be enough for you my Kaylen Hope. You have so much love in your heart and I hope you find a way to harness that intense energy into a way to share it with the world. The world needs your love and your fierceness. It needs that crazy sense of humor and that amazing loud giggle of yours.
Keep being you, my little hurricane.
I love you so much.