Gratitude is such an amazing emotion…it just wins. It’s overwhelming every other “feel” trying to sneak into my days. It’s not like rock, paper or scissors…it has no weakness. It can’t be covered, cut or smashed. It just wins…Every. Damn. Time.
For every known complication that pops up and all the terrifying unknowns this team of UCSF humans is working tirelessly to care for Riley. This is their job and they do it well. They do it with grace. They do it with love. They do it with caution. They do it with urgency. My child has never been sicker but I’ve never felt safer. For that I just…I mean…So. Much. Gratitude.
And then there’s our family…Chris’ parents and grandparents, my mom, my step mom , our brothers and all the other extensions all holding strong sitting on “Go” to take on anything we can’t. Gratitude.
And then there’s our friends…or the family we’ve chosen…Deena and Courtney have sat at my bedside almost every single night until the wee hours just waiting for me to need something. Because of their insistence and DoorDash accounts I am eating. Because of them I don’t smell like stale PICU pajamas because I can shower knowing that if Riley opens her eyes to them she will find comfort. Because of them I am breathing. Gratitude.
Michelle has kept a consistent stock of shortbread in my pantry and always manages to send me the perfect text at the perfect time whether it’s a reminder that she has me, a rant about breaking shit or a simple emoji. Tiffany made her mark with the most wonderfully inappropriate humor during a visit that has kept a smile on my face and a burst of laughter at the edge of my breath for days. I’m laughing now just typing this. Kelsey has taken her shift walking me around the blocks like a dog and will be tidying up my eyebrows soon. Meg spent an afternoon listening to me in 3 minute spurts between doctors and treatments and researchers and therapists…she followed the conversation and also captured the chaos with her lens. Mickey has just…well…Mickey…he’s my twin flame, my fiery mirror…my other side of the country husband who has a husband and is not actually my husband. Did you get all that? Gratitude.
And then Kate…oh sweet Kate. There is not a soul that knows Rileys journey like Kate. She’s done the things she knew I’d ever ask for…she showed up with food (and booze) when I said I was fine (I lied-she knew), she created a donation page and began helping ease the financial burden before I’d even had the headspace to add that level of stress, she’s apologized for her kid now being one of the “healthy ones” we had he urges to kick back in our isolation days and would actually let me kick Elsie if I felt it would serve me. Gratitude.
And then there’s Chris…actually he’s right up at the top but it’s only fitting to save the best for last. Everyday Chris is spending 3-4 hours driving back and forth so he can be present for his girls. All three of his girls. Mornings with Presley, days with us, nights with Presley. He is managing the emotions of all three of us beautifully…three women…high stress situation…he’s been a rock and doesn’t even know it. I’m just here…only playing one role…he’s beautifully juggling the rest which is something I won’t even pretend I could ever do. Gratitude.
Presley deserves her very own write up at some point and will get it…for now…all I can say is she is standing in the shadows casting light. So much light. Gratitude.
Countless others have sent texts and messages…packages and donations. And there’s no way to even measure the moments people have spent dedicating thoughts and love to us. Just an overwhelming outpouring of love. Because of all of these acts and humans and commitments and relationships and bonds she will get stronger. Bottom line..