Kayda gave us a special present long before Christmas day. Dave put the tree up while Kayda and I were in the kitchen having dinner. When we went back into the living room Kayda noticed the tree-she looked at it, and then looked away and then back at it again. It had no lights, no nothing!!!! She knew that something different was in the living room. This was the first time she had ever clearly seen something. I of course ran out and bought all kinds of things for her to look at. She also loved touching the tree. I always left a spot with unbreakable ornaments that was for her to touch and play with. I have wonderful pictures of her reaching out and touching and clearly looking at and seeing the Christmas tree.
During the Christmas season she revealed one more “quirk” of her personality in that she loved opera. Pavarotti was her favorite but she was enthralled with any opera singer. At this time she went into her stander every day for a couple of hours. Her favorite thing to do in the stander was to listen to opera.
By Christmas Kayda was healthy once again. She was happy and very comfortable now in her leg braces. She was animated and alert and was eating almost all her solids orally. She just got fluids and medications through her tube. Because she’d been ill her previous two Christmases, having her healthy that year was very special. Something else that was special that year was that it was a “white Christmas”. Many people take having snow at Christmas for granted but where we live it’s very rare. There was about a foot of snow on the ground Christmas day. Kayda loved her gifts, especially a Playskool “computer” that made all kinds of noises and lit up when buttons were pushed. She also got to eat Turkey dinner with all the trimmings (pureed of course). I was oh so grateful to have her healthy. Having a child who is sick so often makes you really appreciate the good and healthy times.
On the day after Christmas Dave left to go Heli and “Cat” skiing in the interior of the province with a friend. That day it started to snow. And it continued and continued and continued. By the 28th of December it had snowed so much that all roads into and out of our area were closed. Thousands of people were stranded in their cars on the highways. Dave managed to get a bus from the far east of the province as far as the community where my Dad lived but could go no farther. He stayed with my Dad & Step Mother for 2 days.
I love the snow, but know how terribly impractical it is with a child like Kayda. We lived out in the country in a very hilly area. I just prayed that Kayda would stay healthy as I knew there was no way I could go anywhere in our van with her. The thought of phoning an ambulance to take her to the Dr was not pleasant. And, much of that time, the ambulance wouldn’t have been able to make it to our house anyways. But, she was good. We enjoyed being in our safe cozy house.
Something that really helped me feel in contact with people during those days, was the fact that I’d discovered email and mailing lists the previous year. By Christmas time I had a number of friends that I corresponded with. I had found this wonderful list called “Our Kids”. I had always loved reading stories about children with special needs and here I now had the opportunity to get to know the stories of hundreds of children with special needs. What a neat feeling that was.
Finally, on New Years Eve, the roads opened just long enough for Dave to take a bus home. By that time, as is usual in our area, rain had washed all the snow away. All in all, it had been a special Christmas.