Hello, outside world... I know you still exist, even though I've been a hermit in my house for weeks and weeks. Caleb is still officially in his "isolation" period, which means he can't go anywhere besides the occasional visit to grandparents' houses (in order to keep our sanity). The isolation period lasts for 3 months after transplant, which means only a couple weeks left of being hermits and then we can emerge... kind of. He still won't be able to be around crowds until flu season is over, but at least we can go to a friend's house, and hopefully at least make an appearance at church even though he can't go to his class with all the
other kids. We’ve mostly enjoyed these
weeks at home. Now that it’s Christmas
time and we have a tree up, the house feels so festive. The boys love it, and I can’t believe how
little Caleb knows about Christmas. It
makes sense; last year he was in a hospital and the year before he was still a
baby. It’s like he’s experiencing
Christmas, like everything else in his life, for the first time. When we got out our stockings, he didn’t know
what they were. It’s a lot of fun to
watch him get excited about every little detail of this season. You can’t help but smile and get enthusiastic
right alongside him.
Despite our status as hermits, today we actually had our first outing as a family of five. Our doctor gave us permission to attend the annual Christmas party for all Riley heart transplant recipients and their families. Maybe to YOU a transplant Christmas party sounds like a real downer, but believe me, it was awesome. And we were all SO excited to go! We got to see so many friends and just being in a room with 100 other people who live in the same world we live in felt really comfortable. I wish it would have lasted much longer. Here’s a picture of Caleb and one of his transplant buddies, Logan. Don’t they look alike? They’re only a couple months apart in age. Logan got his new heart in 2012 and we have become friends with his awesome parents. When there was a group picture of all the transplant kiddos, Caleb and Logan sat in front and held hands. Observe:
You probably notice right away that both of these gorgeous boys have surprisingly bushy eyebrows. It’s from the steroids they have to take to help suppress their immune systems, it causes hair growth out the wazoo. I hardly notice Caleb’s eyebrows, because I’m with him all the time, but when I look at older pictures of him I can’t believe it! To me, it makes him all the more adorable. I kiss him about a hundred times a day and tell him he is the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. Of course, Jonah is the other most adorable thing, and so is this one:
So back to the transplant party today. One of my favorite things they did was have each kid come up front and say how long ago they were transplanted and what their favorite things to do are since they’ve gotten a new heart. It was awesome to see kids that had been transplanted this year, all our friends, and kids that were transplanted 20 years ago and have graduated college. When it was Caleb’s turn, Daniel took him up on the stage and said, “This is Caleb Kinnaird, he was just transplanted in September. And Caleb, what’s your favorite thing to do since you got your new heart” and without missing one beat, Caleb leaned right into the microphone and said, “Eat”. I absolutely belly-laughed because Daniel and I had not prepped him for that at all. That was just Caleb’s genuine response. It really didn’t surprise me; Jonah has been asking him all week what he wants for Christmas and I swear to you, every single answer he’s ever given has been food. Candy canes. Pickles. Grapes and apples. Jonah gets exasperated and tries to explain that Christmas gifts are supposed to be toys, not food, but I am convinced that Caleb would genuinely be happy to open up a box of candy canes on Christmas morning. What a good reminder to me about the importance of being thankful for little blessings, which are really big blessings.
The highlight of the experience for Caleb was sitting on Santa’s lap. He has been talking about this for days and walked right up to him. When asked what they wanted for Christmas, Jonah said he wanted some bug-catching gear and Caleb said, of course, candy canes. And we snapped this cute little family pic.