had a heavy heart Monday evening when I merged from Interstate 74 south to 275 east. I do not need a map to get to our Cincinnati hotel anymore. I know this city well. We walked into the lobby, and Nathaniel started to cry. He was inconsolable through the check in process and worse when we got to the room. He stood frozen halfway between the bed and the door, held his trach and cried. I had to wipe tears too. Everything about arriving in southern Ohio for another group of appointments felt hard and heavy and sad to both of us. We've done this a lot in the last year. Many of the visits produced physical pain and difficult news. Neither of us wanted to be here.
In the process of settling into the room, Nathaniel's g-button was pulled out. My twelve-year-old niece was in St. Louis last week for her annual "Camp Rankin" visit, and I asked her parents for a second week so she could be my travel companion. She is brave beyond her years. She responded quickly and confidently to instructions and helped to reinsert the button. Nathaniel laying on the floor without his shirt led to tickling and giggles. Ellie is old enough to be a fantastic mother's helper and young enough to be a buddy to Nathaniel.