I have a recurring feeling that we have left Katie behind, as if I am like the ditzy woman in the cartoon who yells, "I think I left the baby on the bus!" It is like a living nightmare. Yet I know from my 48+ years of living that in order to survive in this world, I have to accept what is in front of me and take the next step. That step might be reading, praying, walking, waiting peacefully at home a great deal of the time; it might be attending a wedding, celebrating a baby's progress or a friend's clean bill of health; perhaps it involves doing the laundry, the shopping, the cooking...or packing for a trip to a familiar place, in totally unfamiliar emotional territory.
Last year, we were at Ronald McDonald House for Thanksgiving. My family joined us, and we were all treated to a wonderful dinner with roasted turkey and all of the trimmings (prepared by a modern-day saint named Bob Leoung and his friends). We enjoyed it as best we could under the circumstances, since Katie couldn't participate. The smell of food and the crowd just made her nauseous.
David is counting the days until we get to go to the desert. I find myself really ambivalent about the entire thing. First, I had to cancel Katie's airline ticket (actually, Caroline did this for me; thank you, Cara). Now I am thinking about what it will be like to get up in the morning without Katie there; she would be reading the comics in the morning paper, while Kappa got into politics or the stock market, and David read the weather maps. She would be eating at the breakfast bar with David. She would be putting on her swimsuit, but spending most of her time in the hot tub, not the pool. She would be dressing up for dinner out, or anticipating shopping on El Paseo. I will never get to take her to the spa. We had been looking forward to sharing this, and I promised to take her as soon as she was old enough, but they don't allow people under the age of 18. Massage, pedicure, spa lunch, facials...all of the girly things that she loved...no. This is painful, and it is what lies in wait for us.