Thursday, November 23, 2006

Melissa's Wrinkles

People traditionally offer their gratitude today and mostly it’s for the people they love. I choose to celebrate my youngest daughter, Melissa, on this Thanksgiving Day because we are very fortunate she is here. After experiencing years of infertility, my husband and I had our first daughter. Four years passed and we had no inkling of ever having another child. Then when I was at a low peak in my career with a boss who constantly promised to fire me and all the other people in my office (she once threatened to fire us for taking a lunch break), I told her I was expecting. The boss didn’t like it, but knew it would make her look very bad if she let go of a long-term employee while pregnant. Even before her birth, Melissa received credit for saving my job.

My first due date was June 21st, but she was in no hurry to come into this world and waited until August 1st to make her grand entrance. Because of the long delay, her food source shut down and she had lost two pounds in-utero but still managed to weigh-in at 8 pounds, 14 ounces.
She was a very happy baby, but early on in her life she experienced some medical difficulties. Melissa remembers not being able to breathe. She could tell she wasn’t getting any air because she couldn’t stop coughing and felt like something was happening. Sometimes breathing treatments made her feel better, but when they didn’t help she knew she was having a full-blown asthma attack.

Melissa didn't like going to the hospital because every time she went in, she ended up barfing on someone - whoever was carrying her. With tears in her eyes, Melissa said that made her embarrassed and sad, but she couldn’t help it. She does remember being comforted in the hospital because whenever she woke up under her oxygen tent, she saw her Mommy, sister, Grandma, or Daddy. There were a couple of things Melissa liked about her hospital stays, including the “little thing” they put on her finger (pulse-ox monitor) because it had balloons on it, and the fact that she could watch whatever she wanted on the television in her room. She liked watching Playhouse Disney, but also enjoyed it when her sister read books to her.

Another time when Melissa was just two years old, she found one of her Grandma’s high blood pressure pills on the floor that had been accidentally dropped and lost. She didn’t know what it was and said, “I was a stupid little kid, so I put it in my mouth and swallowed it.” Her grandmother tried to get it out of her mouth, but it was already down the hatch. Melissa had her stomach pumped and was transferred by ambulance to a nearby children’s hospital. She said it was dark inside the ambulance except for the red lights. Melissa paused to wipe a tear from her eye as she said her grandmother kept telling her it would be okay. Everything did turn out okay, except she missed her Mom who was in San Diego on a business trip. Melissa survived that incident and came out of it with a get-wel- soon present, “a felt board with little critter thingies.”

When Melissa started preschool, she was very scared. However, she quickly spotted a couple of little girls she recognized and went to talk with them. They realized they were all nervous, but they put their fear aside so they could see which boys in their class were cute. Melissa picked out a white-haired boy, but to this day doesn’t know if he liked her back. Her Daddy picked her from preschool and she always asked, “Can we go to McDonald’s today?” Even on the days he said no, he took her for a cheeseburger happy meal with extra pickles and no onions. Melissa says that’s why she has so many McDonald’s toys laying around the house.

When she started Kindergarten, Melissa was thrilled to finally go to the same school as her sister and to ride the school bus. The children attended a magnet school, so the bus dropped them at a nearby high school rather than home bus stops. One day, she had to ride the bus without her sister because the older kids stayed at school to get ready for a science fair. The usual lady who drove the afternoon carpool had asked another Mom to drive, and that Mom forgot. After waiting for several minutes and after all the other kids left, Melissa fearfully walked in the front doors of the high school. She was looking for the office through the streams of big kids and spotted a security guard. She was crying by the time she told him that no one came to pick her up. He called her Grandma and she came. Her grandmother was very angry at the other lady who forgot her granddaughter. When the usual driver found out about it, she was also terribly upset and cried the next time when she saw her. Melissa said she kept telling her how sorry she was and gave her a big ziplock bag full of candy.

The only drama in Melissa’s life today is middle school. We are thankful that things have quieted down and hope she has many years (decades even) of a peaceful, happy life.


Blogger Lynnster said...

Cracking up at the original due date of June 21st and the August 1st arrival!

What a wonderful story and I know you must be proud. She is a gorgeous girl & sounds awesome!

Happy Thanksgiving to Melissa, Kathy, and all your folkses there!

3:06 PM  
Blogger Lynnster said...

Aw - thanks for the Thanksgiving invite, Kathy! I'm about 3.5 hours away so reckon I'll have to pass. If y'all are having pecan or pumpkin pie (which I couldn't eat anyway right now w/ my GI probs) tho, somebody have an extra piece for me! Thanks again, you're a sweetheart :)

3:56 PM  
Blogger newscoma said...

Melissa has a special mother I'm thinking.
Happy Thanksgiving, Kathy T.

6:29 PM  

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