Easter weekend for us has always been a time of spending at home with family and celebrating on Sunday morning in church.
This year however, was a little different for our family. Yes, we were home on Sunday. Yes, we went to church. But for the two days before Easter we hit the road for a trip to Philly. (Philadelphia, PA).
For those of you who know me, follow me on twitter, and on facebook, you know that our trip really began almost eight years ago with the birth of my daughter, Bella. It has since been a long and transforming journey for us all.
A doctor once told me I’d been blessed with the worst and best case scenerios between my two daughters. Both my girls were born with Hemangiomas.
What is a hemangioma? Some people call them vascular birthmarks. Some people call them “strawberries”. Then there are some people who see them as ugly dark red, purple hues of bruised skin that raises up like an angry volcano and sticks one’s ampendages. Most commonly found in the facial area on girls.
Thus coming back to the reason of our trip to Philly.
Rounds of steriod treatments, laser treatments, and a partical extraction of Bella’s hemangioma has leads us, yet, to another doctor. This time at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia.
We’d been to New York several times in the past two years to visit the Vascular Birthmark Instiute, and three surgeries later – here we are – on another leg of our journey. (You can find out more about children with hemangiomas at Waner’s Children Foundation).
Friday morning we packed up the kids and headed north. Five hours later, we stood inside Children’s Hospital, ten minutes before our appointment. We were whisked into a room and fort-five minutes later I was still filling out the paper work and my head was reeling. Never, had we gotten through an appointment so quickly!
The appointment, like so many before with other doctors consisted of questions, pictures, discussion, and my daughter shying away. I can’t say I blame her. This we are told will be the last surgery to remove the hemangioma and return her cupid’s bow to her lip. I pray it is so, for her sake more than our own.
My youngest daughter will never have to be touched when it comes to medical attention for her hemanigoma. That’s where the best and worst of both worlds comes in. Where Bella has required repeatitive medical attention over these past years, my youngest daughter does not. No one ever sees the fish shape imprint God put on my youngest daughter’s back, like a thumb print of His design. One that may or may not ever fade away – and that would be okay too.
On our way out of Philly we spotted tall buildings and people walking, riding bikes, and sitting at park benches. Bella was most intrigued when we drove past this building.
Of course, what trip would be complete without a child’s favorite thing right? So we headed over to New Jersey where we visited with Grandma and grabbed our favorite flavors of icecream from a local dairy mart.
After our little sleep over party at a relative’s house, we headed home, but not before one last stop.
We spent an entire day at the Crayola Factory! Not only did my children learn how crayons are made, but we participated in many fun creative activities. My son found the train room, Bella built a large skyscraper with rods,and my youngest learned how to float a boat down the canal.
Then we headed home for Easter, okay not excately home. We had to make one very last stop.
But who can resist a Friendly’s monster icecream sundaes or a banana split?
Next weekend, we’re heading off for another adventure.
Oh did I mention, while spending all those wonderful hours in the car, my children and their electral devices, mom sits in the passenger seat working on my latest manuscript in between playing games of I-Spy. I love these days of writing and mothering!