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April 19, 2020 / JustinKays Porter

We’re Fine

It’s been awhile. A LOT has happened in the world since I’ve last checked in. So let me start by saying we’re fine. We’re healthy, we’re safe, we’re fine.

The clinical trial we are involved in is considered “life-saving” (they’ve progressed beyond “essential” at this point), so we are fortunately continuing to receive weekly treatments. Our Monday trips are looking a little different; the children’s hospital is very empty. There are check points at every entrance with manned hand-sanitizer stations and masks are handed out to everyone. Sanitizer and masks are no longer optional, but required. The research unit has cut back drastically on how many people we come in contact with each visit. The study is paying for a car service to pick us up, wait at the hospital, and take us home. Our driver shows us the cleaning paperwork every week. Getting in the car is quite the circus as we aren’t supposed to touch the door handles. So precautions are definitely being taken!

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We get smiles at the hospital now. Life is good!

In other news, we moved on April 1. We are loving our new apartment; it’s quite a bit bigger and on a very quiet one way street (our last place was on the corner of a busy intersection and it was loud! and bright!).

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Saying goodbye to our old house and saying hello to our new purple door house

We have been going out for walks when it’s not snowing or raining and getting to know the neighborhood. Most things are closed, but it’s fun to window shop. We are just a few short blocks from the lake and Lincoln Park. While we can’t actually enjoy these right now, we can stand across the street and look at all the green. Spring is arriving in Chicago by degrees; we see more greenery and new flowers every day.

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We all had our knees out the one day it was over 60 degrees. It was beautiful! And then they closed the parks…

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A short walk to the foggy North Pond in Lincoln Park (also before the parks closed)

Millie has struggled a little with the move. I think we’re getting back to a good place though. We have taught her how to get out of bed by herself (!!!) and it has been a huge game changer. For a kid who doesn’t crawl and can’t go from laying to sitting, getting out of bed required some creativity. But we’ve raised her bed (it was on the floor), and now she can “wiggle down” and slide off the end of the bed to a standing position. We leave her walker parked nearby and she comes out of her room when she is ready. If you know Millie, you know that waking up in the morning and from naps have been the hardest parts of our days for as long as I can remember. And now she comes out of her room sooo proud of herself and so much happier. It’s amazing how something new becomes normal… I’m not sure I realized how big of an impact this skill is having on all of our lives until I wrote it down.

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Nate is on.the.move. He crawls at lightning speed, pulls himself up on everything, cruises on furniture, and will literally use anything he can push as a walker. It’s not uncommon for him to push all four dining room table chairs to various places around the apartment. He is a pro with Millie’s walker and is finally learning that he can’t use it when she is. He’s starting to listen and learn and it’s so fun to watch. This movement phase is something Millie never really got to, so it’s new for me! And it’s so great to watch them play together; they stand at the coffee table and play with legos. Together! They lay on the floor and read books. Together! (Well, kind of… Nate just yells at the book and Millie turns the pages. But there is generally no crying involved).

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Now let’s get back to being “fine” and the state of things in Chicago. Chicago has closed ALL public indoor and outdoor spaces. The lakefront trail (more than 20 miles of pedestrian and biking trails), the river walk, Lincoln Park, Millennium Park, Grant Park… everything. Not to mention, most people who live close enough to enjoy those features live in small apartments with little to no outdoor living space. The mayor of Chicago posted on Instagram today that if the nicer weather is inspiring you to get outside for fresh air, “open a window.” Chicagoans are expected to stay inside. All the time. No matter what. In our small apartments. And open the windows.

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I understand the need for social distancing. I understand the need to wear a mask and wash your hands. I understand how important this is. I do. BUT NO ONE IS TALKING ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH. Yes, that deserves all caps. Getting outside, getting fresh air (not through windows!!), getting exercise, getting a dose of vitamin D are all things that make you feel good. They are good for your body, mind, and soul. And they can all be done wearing a mask while safely social distancing. It’s absurd to me that all the open space in the city is closed, forcing people onto sidewalks where they congregate (unintentionally) at intersections waiting for walk signals. And no one is talking about it. Well, except me. Apparently I’m still ranting and raving about it.

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But in all seriousness, how are we supposed to stay sane when we are stuck inside and completely isolated from friends and family? Not to mention work from home, school from home, entertain our kids from home, worry about friends and family from home? And do all this from a city that still doesn’t feel like home. Like I said, we’re fine. 2020 is not proving to be the thriving year I had hoped for, but we’re fine. The new normal we quite literally just settled into has been thrown for a loop, but we’re fine. We’ve had to cancel two trips home (and who knows how many more), but we’re fine. I’m lonely and scared and sad about the state of the world and tired on a whole new level, but I’m fine.

This is not a pity party (well, maybe just a little). This is more of a message to everyone that it’s okay to just be fine right now. If you’re struggling, please know that you aren’t alone. I’m struggling. A lot. But it’s temporary. This will end. And we have so many wonderful ways to keep in touch right now. If you’re struggling, reach out to your people. If you don’t think you have people to reach out to, I am your people. Call me. You’ll probably hear at least one screaming and/or crying child in the background, or the police sirens driving through the parks to keep people out, or the birds chirping out the open window, or Justin on a work conference call, or Millie attempting to do some preschool activity while Nate tries to tackle her, or Nate trying to steal Millie’s walker to take it for a spin; but call me. It could be entertaining, right?!

PS: If you really are fine and you think I’m crazy for writing all this, call your people. I guarantee you know someone who feels the way I do, and they need you right now. Ok, mental health PSA is now over. xo

PPS: Sorry if this was TMI. To make up for it, I’ll leave you with this:

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6 Comments

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  1. Marcia Erdman / Apr 21 2020 11:09 am

    Kaysea, what a moving, heartfelt story. First, it is great to see the kids looking so sweet together. Thanks for sharing your honest update. I feel your pain being under lockdown.
    Barry and I are both “essentials”. While that is scary at times, it is VERY helpful to have people interaction. I can’t imagine not being able to go for a walk! That needs to change—
    I would totally welcome you all to come up to WI, where there is sooo much open walking. But I am guessing that is a risk. That being said, you are all always welcome, anytime. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Barry & I are a short 3 hrs away if you need anything. ((Hugs))
    Barry & Marcia ❤️❤️❤️

  2. nancywporter / Apr 20 2020 9:00 pm

    Say it like it is Girl! Happy tears for Millie getting out of bed on her own! Can’t wait til things are mighty fine so we can see all of you! Love you.

  3. Bob and Roni Hartley / Apr 20 2020 1:21 pm

    This was the best message I read today Kaysea because it was from your heart and truly lets us know and see how you’re all doing. I’m so glad to know your move has been successful and that Millie continues to make milestones and that Nate is just a force of nature. You are so kind to share how it really feels to be isolated; you are doing an amazing job and I’m glad you reached out to us today. We truly are here for you. You are in our daily prayers and always know you are missed here in CA. Love and blessings, Roni

  4. kimberlybishop3092 / Apr 20 2020 12:08 am

    ❤️❤️❤️I’m happy you’re writing it out! Please never apologize for being real and having emotions and sharing them. We’re all humans in this together! So happy Millie is able to get up on her own-awesome!!!

  5. Ma / Apr 19 2020 7:20 pm

    Love you all. Missing you!! Tell me the dates I am there!
    Love the story ❤️❤️

  6. Mary wurster / Apr 19 2020 7:06 pm

    Kaysea I have always enjoyed your updates but I was so touched my your honesty and your offer. It has been incredibly hard for so many and to not only acknowledge that but to offer to be someone’s person made my heart happy. You and Justin and your two beautiful babies are always in my prayers. I pray for the small every day things that make life hard and for the long therm things that weigh heavily on your hearts. Thank you for reminding everyone that they are not alone and know that you are not either. Love and hugs to you all!
    Mary

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