Neal Freeland

Engineering/marketing manager, family guy. My personal blog with a few work thoughts mixed in.

The End of the Beginning

with one comment

So that’s it. We’re home and Amelia is doing well. Though we’ve got a lifetime of hospital check-ups in front of us to monitor her repairs, tricuspid valve and pacemaker, I think this is the end of the beginning. It’s been a longer than normal birth story, but I’m thankful for the result.
My neighbor Greg said he imagined this was the hardest thing I’ve probably ever gone through. Actually, it wasn’t so bad, and felt very much like racing downwind in a storm. I remember the first time a huge puff of wind broached my boat, overwhelming the rudder and laying us hard over on the rail with the mast nearly in the water. It was a scary, out-of-control feeling, and I thought the boat was going to capsize. But after releasing the sheets and easing sail, the keel eventually righted the boat and we were back in the race.
I feel a clear purpose in my life, like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing right now. I enjoy my job and have a great family. Amelia has been one heck of a storm, and USS Freeland broached hard during a mighty gust, but I’ve learned to trust in the keel and crew to help me right the ship. Thanks to the support of a lot of people, we’re back on course.
The Africans have a saying: it takes a village to raise a child. Here are some of the people in ours:
(These are in no particular order, and I’ll add more as I remember them)

Amy and Mark Christenson (silver charm bracelet with pictures of Zack and Amelia – Julia held this tightly in the surgery waiting room), Molly and George Downing (servant’s quarters in turn-of-the-century Tudor home in Cleveland), Kristin and Lee MacPhail (lent Ford Explorer in Cleveland), Irving and Ann Kwong (Sunday breakfast club), Dian and Dan Claunch (holloween welcome home package), Matt and Debbie Downing (airport pickup and Cleveland welcome), Great Grandma Evelyn Freeland (tickets to Cleveland), Chris Cocks and Maya Davis (United miles for Zack’s seat), Cathy Zbanek and Ann Van deWalle (toys in Cleveland for Zack), Mike Nichols (Mariners tickets for morale break prior to Cleveland trip), Jill and Doug Hawkins (care package with great chocolate chip cookies and welcome home cooler with milk and juice for Zack), Jay and Megan Marine and Laura and Ben Burke (care package with disco monkey), Mark and Donna Farella (pinky the dog), Lisa and Frank Roney (welcome home flowers and balloons), Clay McDaniel and Mandy Levenburg (courage lion and Starbucks+muffin Sunday morning doorstep drops), Brooke Stabbert, Erik and Alethea Westover, and Jared Remington and Jessie Marrs (Amelia Earhart air bear – absolutely perfect!), Megan and Kevin Johnson (game day support packet – Julia taped these notes of support all over Amelia’s ICU room), Brenda Long Rosellinni and her Cousin Karen (Clinic orientation and introduction to Mike Fackelmann), Amy Newmeyer (Starbucks card – there’s one in the Clinic and it got daily use), Greg and Marianne Sievers (watched the house in Seattle).

Frederick Savoye (my manager) and Microsoft co-workers. You learn the most about people when times are tough, and I can’t imagine a better place to work. Thanks for the unflinching support.
Don and Kate Claeys (aka Lala and Papa). Don’s medical knowledge connected the dots during our discussions with the doctors, and they were both there during the surgeries to look after Zack and us.
Jim and Diana Freeland (aka Opa and Nana). Especially my mom, who spent months helping Julia nurse Amelia until she was big enough for the surgery. When times were tough, Julia often said "I don’t know how I would get through this without your mom." She was there again in Cleveland after the surgery. Mom, I love you. 

Written by nealfreeland

October 29, 2005 at 7:28 am

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. There\’s a better sailing metaphor for the experience of the last four months. A broach on a sailboat happens fast and is over fast as long as everyone does what they\’ve been trained to do. It sure can be scary as the water pours into the cockpit and the mast heads towards the water, but I\’ve been on board during some pretty hairy broaches on the ocean and I\’ve never felt "this could be it" as it happened. No, the metaphor I think applies is that of a sailboat in heavy wind heading towards a lee shore in the dark, in the fog, with no engine and no navigation instruments. The boat and her crew have to claw their way offshore with minimal information and no experience of this particular stretch of coast. The skipper (and his mate) have to make decisions without benefit of full knowledge. And after hours of beating to windward, pounding into the waves, fearful of hearing the grinding crunch of keel meeting rocks, the fog clears, the sun rises, and the vessel has (barely) cleared the rocks. Amelia is very lucky to have parents willing to turn the helm hard over, pound into the waves, and trust their instincts to bring the boat clear of the rocks.Broach smoach.

    Diana and Jim

    November 7, 2005 at 6:36 pm

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