Monday, December 24, 2012

Hero is spelled Caleb Leach...

Abby, and her hero - Big Brother Caleb
I always knew that my son Caleb was a kind, tender-hearted boy, but I had no idea just how much until my daughter Abby came along.

When 3 1/2 year old Caleb met Abby for the first time in the NICU, he wasn't scared of the tubes and wires like I thought he would be.  Despite the fact that she had a tracheostomy and was 100% ventilator dependent, his first words when he saw her were, "Why, hello there, little sister!"  He loved her from the very first moment he saw her.

Abby came home to us 100% ventilator dependent.  We attempted to try out a bit of normalcy by taking our "Mega Stroller" filled with a portable ventilator, a suction machine, a pulse oximeter, an apnea monitor, an oxygen tank, a huge diaper bag filled with mostly medical equipment, oh--and a baby!  We obviously got quite a few stares from curious strangers--especially when something beeped--but there was one time when a group of middle school boys were being extremely rude and disrespectful.  I didn't have to say a word.  My sweet little boy marched right up to them, looked those big boys in the eyes, and said, "Don't you know you're looking at a miracle?"

Our Hero Caleb, kissing his sister Abby
Because of the rarity of Abby's syndrome, the doctors didn't have much hope for her.  We savored every minute and thanked God for each day we had with her.  One night before bedtime, 4 year old Caleb decided to let Abby sleep with one of his favorite stuffed toys.  I asked him how long she could have it, and his reply was, "Until she dies."  Not wanting to make a big deal out of it, I joked that it would be a pretty long time for him to be without his favorite toy!  To my dismay, Caleb burst into tears.  When I asked him what was the matter, he just wailed, "How long?  How long will we have her?"  My husband and I couldn't answer that, but we both held him and cried for a long time together.

Now that our miracle girl is trach-free and doing amazingly well, five year old Caleb has taken on the role of therapist.  He loves to do all of her speech, PT, and OT exercises with her, and I'm pretty sure he's tougher on her than even I am!  He loves teaching others sign language too.  Working with Abby has inspired him to want to be a speech-language pathologist when he grows up.  

The Leach Family
I know that God created Caleb to be the absolutely perfect big brother to Abby.  From the moment he greets her in the morning with a cheery, "Well, good morning, prettiest little girl in the world!" to when he thanks God for giving Abby to us every night before he goes to bed, he is truly a wonderful blessing in our lives.

This "How do you Spell HERO?" nomination was submitted by Caleb and Abby's mom, Julie Leach.  Julie blogs about the many adventures of a family impacted by complex medical issues at "Life as a Leach"

1 comment:

  1. Julie....
    Very good.... Very, very, very good. This post touched my emotions.... In a positive way!! ;)
    Mommies of Miracles....
    What a neat Blog!! Keep it going!! ;-D