A week and a bit ago, I had this feeling. I couldn’t shake it, it wasn’t sudden, it actually slowly started to creep up. When I realized that I could no longer just hold on to it for myself, I had no idea where we would be today.
I had watched the news reports of COVID-19 since January. I would sit at the breakfast bar while Richard made us our breakfast after our morning workout and update him and whatever child cared to listen to the number of cases emerging out of Wuhan. I was intrigued, I think that I could have had a successful career in epidemiology. I have always been aware of bugs, I was a germaphobe growing up and I believe God used that to protect Ezzy as much as I possibly could the last 10 years.
After Richard and I decided we could no longer hold off and needed to move our daughter and our family into isolation because of her battle with Cystic Fibrosis, we made a small checklist of things we needed to do before we made this jump. We watched the majority of CF families make the call the week before us, but we held off, believing that we were not suppose to yet, because, at that time when we moved into isolation, there was only 1 case in Alaska.
Now there are 32.
10 days ago we had one, we now have 32, 6 in our small little island community.
All that being said, I have told Richard countless times as we have fought the anxiety of “what ifs” for Ezzy and I am reminded that God gave us direction before we knew this was going to be where we are today.
One thing we were blessed to do, was take my old iPhone and add another line to our data package. We had been weighing the pros and cons to allowing our soon to be 12 yr old have a cell phone with access to the deep dark world of the web. But the nagging in my heart wouldn’t go away and we decided it was time.
We grabbed a few other little gifts for our birthday boy, got ingredients to make his cake and prepared to go into a hole and ride this thing out.
What I didn’t know, better yet, what we didn’t know was how much this virus was going to impact us.
The party that he had been planning over the last month is not going to happen. The pizza he intended to be consumed by his soccer brothers, the late-night movies and Xbox, the take over of our family den is not happening.
We are so thankful we got him the phone, he has been able to stay in contact with his friends during this unknown time that has changed how we connect with others.
We have had more conversations about adapting, adjusting and turning the focus off of ME and towards WE in the last 6 days then I can count.
This is not the first time that he has had to learn this. In fact, Facebook decided to remind me that on his birthday last year, I woke up to make him the Harney birthday pancake in the shape of his age, something that dad normally does, because Richard was in the ICU with Ezzy, for her 2 yrs. hospitalization in a month. He has learned many times to step aside for others.
In fact, this seems to be the story that God has written for my little man, who really isn’t little anymore.
When I think about him and who he has become in the last 12 years, I smile thinking about how much he has grown and then I stumble thinking about how old I REALLY am, I am in denial over the grey hairs that keep popping up.
His birthday this year is going to look different. But that happens when we starting growing up, right? We start to put aside the childish things as we begin to grow up.
So, in honor of his 12th year orbiting the sun, I want to share 12 things about my son that you might not know.
- When he walks into a room and sees me in it, he immediately starts cleaning up, knowing how much clutter drives me NUTS. I never ask him, I will be sitting at the table drinking my tea, sitting on social media or attending to a sibling and he immediately starts to tidy
- He HATES hotdogs, mac and cheese, and spaghetti – so much that it’s a running joke that it’s what is on the dinner menu on a regular basis just so we can see him get worked up
- He killed his first chicken at the ripe old age at 4…I was so pissed at his father and worried that I might be raising a psychopath until he told me that Cayden shed a tear after beheading the egg-eating chicken
- He stands up for his sisters and tries his hardest to protect them from profanity, I just learned that he told his neighborhood friends to chill out on their language because his little sisters were around and “they didn’t need to hear that”
- He studied and studied for the geography bee he competed in January, he has tried out in the past but never made it. This year he won…only to have it taken away due to COVID. In it, all he was able to let go of the disappointment after he realized that is was due to protecting the fragile, like his sister
- He plays whatever rhythm is in his head on whatever hard surface he can and yes, it drives many of us bonkers in the house
- He has such a sweet tooth, especially for chocolate. Something that made me so sick and would give me migraines my whole life. I couldn’t eat a Hersey kiss without getting a headache. Until I delivered him and all the Easter candy went on sale and as a breastfeeding mom, I tried one and have been able to enjoy chocolate ever since!
- One of my favorite memories of him this last year was asking Ezzy to play UNO with him over Facetime while she was in the hospital because he knew how lonely she was after 6 weeks of no school, friends, hours and hours of therapy and hospitalizations
- He LOVES to hide in random places to jump out and scare me or stand still and say something really loud when I walk past…he has gotten good at dodging my arm or filtering the words that come out of my mouth.
- When he learned that schools were getting shut down in the lower 48 and it could be a reality for us one day, he asked that his birthday could be a canned food drive so that we could stalk up food for the pantry at our school for families in need
- He is a phenomenal orator, I love hearing him read stories, he uses voice inflections, he changes the tone for each character, he is so engaging! Books come alive to him and he doesn’t like graphic novels, because he said “it takes away his imagination”
- 12 is the number of times we have threatened to take away his iPhone since we gave it to him 5 days ago…can’t let you think he is not normal
Here is to another year of having my firstborn, grow up. It is the most trying and yet most life-giving thing to be his momma. God knew that I would need him, someone, who would make me play, call me out when I am being too demanding in my unrealistic expectations of things and who is ALWAYS there to help me with his sisters. So much that I still have to remind him to let me parent, when I am standing in the room with him.
This birthday is one that I know he will never forget, the time he was in lockdown, unable to celebrate with friends or get his soppapeias from Oceanview and instead will have to settle for facetime birthday wishes, family dinner with just us and no extended family, BUT at least he will have a story to tell one day!
Happy birthday W. Cayden Harney, love you more than you know and still remember singing to you as you rested your little body on my chest, you have become more then I could have dreamed of 12 years ago.