So, for the longest time now I have been trying to find the time to do this post. The cards and gifts started pouring in a week or two before Q's surgery, and still haven't stopped coming to this day. I am just so overwhelmed by the enormous hearts of all those who have taken time out of their busy lives to think of Q, make her cards, gifts, letters, treasure maps, creative play kits, selected books or music or special toys for her, and then (wonder of wonders) wrapped, packaged, addressed, stamped, and taken them to the post office!!! It just amazes me. I am blown away. 

And of course, at this point, our girl is hopelessly spoiled an may never recover!
I am convinced that she now thinks that she will receive at least one exciting package in the mail every day of her life until infinity.
This first photo, above, was taken just a day or two after surgery - as you can see, her face was still puffy and her hair still matted - but she had already opened many a magical envelope and was ready to say a big "thank you" to all her friends throughout the blogosphere for making her difficult time a little lighter and brighter.
 This is a picture of her opening a stack of mail a few days after surgery. I have so very many of these photos - I probably took pictures each time she opened a package - but at this point I have to admit that there are not enough hours in a day for me to edit and upload all of the photos, so I have selected a few that capture the essence of what it looks like when  Q opens her mail. Even though she was still feeling quite ill on this particular day (she was nauseous and dizzy for many days after surgery, even after she was on her feet and back to a regular daily routine) you can see the thrill and expectation on her face here.
 John will recognize this as the box his family sent - it was hilarious to Q that, when the wrapping was off the repurposed carton, her daddy said, "Did someone send you beer?"
For the next two hours she was going around saying "Did someone send me beer?" and then laughing bawdily and at length over her own joke. 
In fact, this box contained the most astonishing collection of treasures, found, shared or handed down, invented games, personal histories, hand-sketched cartoons, and local lore that I still shake my head in wonder.
 Q proudly clad in an Oregonian scarf and soccer ball.
 Another wonderful face of intense satisfaction at the pure, visceral anticipation implicit in the process of opening her mail. In this photo, she had stopped to just close her eyes and hold the envelopes close, clutching them to her and breathing in the scent of far away places and unimagined pleasures before tearing them open to discover what wonders might be found inside.
 Holding tight a new treasure that she felt might bring her solace and protection during the long, uncomfortable nights (John, this is the little fetish bear, which still watches over her from a bedside table every night).
 Her mail (not even to mention the gifts) soon covered an entire tabletop in my studio, and has since overflowed it. I tried to capture her with her stacks of loot, but it was just too much to fit into one photo.
As you can see, this is a bit later, when her nose packing was out and her palate mostly recovered. 
 I love this shot of her with a little hand-painted owl by the amazing Laurie (go see more of her work and read her story, it is worth your while).
 Laurie's watercolor-tale of a group of animal friends from the Canadian wilderness was simply...simply...I have no words. The fact that someone we have never met would take the time to make something so beautiful, elaborate and enchanting just for one little boggles my mind.
 I have done two previous posts in which I have attempted to thank each person by name, along with a little something about their gift - but I know that some things have slipped through the cracks (mostly things that have been ferreted away by a certain four-year-old before I have had time to register them), and at this point the sheer volume of what has fallen through our mail slot has completely overwhelmed my capacity to keep track. The scope, the creativity, the love, the imagination involved in the things we have received are astonishing, and would bolster anyone's faith in humanity. A beautifully-packaged gift of native children's music from Paula in Argentina (above), Kate in Philadelphia whose package of gifts were so intuitively right up Q's alley, a set of fancy chocolate sundae sauces from Michele and her family (let me just tell you that fingers were very sticky for quite some time thereafter!), a whole passle of wooden animal puzzles from Amy and her family (let me just say that this was the SECOND package of creative gifts that came from them, and they are not the only ones who have sent multiple envelopes!), Carole, Kirsten, The Mordens (again!!), the Le Grands, so many that I can't possibly name you all!
And I also can't possibly do justice to the vast reservoirs of creativity that have been displayed. I cannot, for instance, do justice to this magical painting by the darling and talented Rebekka Seale, whose work I have long coveted (unfortunately the light in Q's room is terrible for photography, and I can't capture the delicacy of her painting. You can see her work much better here). 
 The wonderful artwork of so many children who have taken the time to make a little something for the Q (these by Axel Le Grand, don't you love the rocketship and rainbow??)
 And I had to give a closer look at Laurie's Canadian forest tale, because it is just so charming in every way.
 Carole and Hauie's kitties and mice, Emilie's happily winking sun, and more, and more, and moe....
So, if you are one of the many who have sent us such beautiful things, please accept our humble gratitude. We are without words. Q  (and, vicariously, I) have pored over and spindled and foxed and treasured and loved each and every one. And if you have sent something, and haven't checked the blog in a while, scroll back a may very well see your missive somewhere herein!

Love and kisses! 
M, M & Q

ps - I would also be remiss if I didn't send out thanks to the amazing team of medical professionals who have made possible all the surgeries, therapies and various stages of recovery. There are many (cleft surgeries are lengthy, complex and ongoing throughout life, and require a large team of specialists from various fields). Foremost among them at this time are her plastic surgeon, the amazing Stacey Folk, MD, her wonderful ENT, Tyler Lewark, MD, and her beloved speech therapist, Theresa Snelling, MA. Should anyone in the Denver area happen to be reading this, feel free to ask me anything. We lucked into one of the best teams around, and I would be happy to recommend them.  


....... said...

so happy to see her smile in every picture, and also to know that the package has arrived in well conditions after a long long trip! ;)

Simply Mel {Reverie} said...

Q's smile is worth a billion thank you's!

Carole said...

Absolutely right, Mel! If Q wasn't such an enchanting, charismatic child, and if the love between the three of you wasn't so moving to witness, the pleasure in sending her a 'little something' would be less strong. Anyway, your blog and your wonderful emails are one of my best consolations at this not very easy time. Thank you for continuing to post almost every day while being so busy - it's the first thing I check when I get up. And Hâuie will be so excited to see her drawings 'in public'! Lots of love to you all.

Di said...

We are glad that it all helped through the bad days. And who doesn't love getting something other than bills in the post!!

kenza said...

Oh lovely! The most important thing is that Q is well and smiling. I am so happy for her! Her joy is contagious and your love for her spreads across the seas. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

she's a lucky much loved little girl, beautiful gifts, thankyou as well, I'm so happy she liked the card,, thanks so much for visiting as well! Nothing but sunny days and adventures ahead for Q,, best wishes from Canada!