Well, I'm back in Milwaukee. I arrived home yesterday evening--thanks to Gary and Mary Margaret for picking me up in Chicago and another Big Thanks to John Polking for dropping me off at the airport in Houston. You wouldn't believe how much these offers of kindness help!!
I talked to Jeff a few minutes ago in anticipation of giving you all an update. His voice is much stronger today than it was last night, but he still isn't eating much. He's down to 138 pounds which creates a little bit of a dilemma. He knows he needs to gain weight, but if he loses just a few more pounds he can qualify for SuperModel status. So, he doesn't know if he should get better or get fabulous! Ha!
So, Mary is working on fattening Jeff up and he is resting as much as possible. While she takes care of her son, I'm trying to take care of mine: Jack is very sick and it has apparently affected his view on life. This morning he accused me of "hating him" because I "left for work too early." I'm sure he was just distraught to see me leave for work and felt insecure about it. I only got home last night and now I was already leaving him! He grilled me with a hundred questions this morning: "Will you come home early?" "How will I know if you're going to come home early?" "Do you have to work tomorrow?" "Will you call me after lunch?" "What if you forget?" I know how scary it must be for him to feel like he never knows who will be babysitting him or taking him places or putting him to bed and I'm sure it is very disconcerting to worry about how long I'll be home before I have to leave again and he just doesn't know how to express his fears and, therefore, doesn't know how to deal with all the change and uncertainty. Poor Baby. But he's trying to find continuity and ways to adapt. For example, he likes Aubrey to give him his medicine (he's on antibiotics for pneumonia) and when she came home from school yesterday he ran to her and said "Huggy" (which is his baby-talk for "Hug me!). Like I've said before, I'm so glad the kids at least have each other through all this. They really are the only ones who are sharing the experience from the same perspective.
One happy distraction for them (and for all of us) has been the impending birth of their baby brother. Grandpa Gary put the crib together this week, so the baby is a little more tangible for them now. Last night when I arrived home, all the kids greeted me and the baby separately (hugs for me; pats and kisses for him). Michelle and Mary Margaret watched and felt him kick and played "name that body part" with the kids as everyone tried to guess whether the hard lumps in my stomach were elbows or knees, feet or hands. It was very sweet.
Well, I'll post another update when I have something to report. Until then, please keep checking-in. It's so nice to know you all still care.