The Foof

April 11, 2017


FOOF Definition: Animal of spirit, commonly referred to as “spirit animal”. Other names include Foofie, Foo Foo, Foof-a-loof, Foofie-loofies, Fayser, Fayser the laser.

With my writing focused totally on Calum, many people have questioned and wondered how Faye is doing through all this. My response is mostly just: “She’s great. She’s doing great. Super cute.” Today, however, I would like to say something more about our little Foofie.

First off, Faye is 16 months old. I don’t know how long it’s been since you were around a 16-month-old, but they only care about Cheerios, and that’s it. Her oblivion is a wonderful gift because she has zero grasp on the gravity of things at home. Some of the things Faye likes doing best are, in no particular order:

–       Undoing the tab on her diaper the second after I fasten it

–       Turning knobs on the stove

–       Standing up in her high chair

–       Throwing cans of carbonated beverages

–       Taking her clothes off when she is supposed to be napping

–       Giving me the middle finger with her eyes

She is a major handful. She lives for danger and every time I catch her about to kill herself and shout, “NO, FAYE!” in my most stern voice, she glares back at me and shouts, “HA!” and then runs the opposite direction in a fit of laughter. I think she’s looking to hire a getaway car driver if you know of anyone. She is a thrill-seeker and a menace, and I am so happy her crazy ass is mine.

Truly, I don’t know what we would do without Faye. She can be exhausting, yes, but she is an endless bucket of laughs. Her spirit and spark delight me. Where Calum was so sweet and gentle at that age, Faye is everything but and, since Calum cannot go to school or play with other children right now due to infection risk, Faye has been his sole source of social interaction.

Under normal circumstances I would think having your baby sister as your only playmate would be a drag, but not if your sister is Faye. She is often the ring leader. The two of them could take turns diving into pillow piles for weeks if I threw them a snack here and there. While Faye brings me infinite enjoyment independently, as a parent, I haven’t experienced anything quite as magical as watching the relationship between these two siblings develop. The fact that Calum and Faye only have each other for now may seem disheartening, but if you look at it with the right perspective, it’s the most beautiful and meaningful thing I could have ever hoped to know.

I spoke this past week with another mother whose daughter was diagnosed with Leukemia at age two and, believe it or not, this family happens to live in the house behind ours.  When Calum was diagnosed, I learned about their daughter through a friend and immediately panicked that there was something, quite literally, in our water. I found out shortly thereafter they had been living in Minneapolis at the time of her daughter’s diagnosis, so my fear of our area being toxic was soon quelled. Her little girl is now ten years old and doing wonderfully. They also have an eight-year-old son, so their family dynamic at the time of their daughter’s diagnosis was very similar to ours. As she and I commiserated over the massive anxiety I’d been feeling since Calum’s diagnosis, she reminded me there will be some good that comes from all this. She said the best thing that came out of it for them is the unbelievable strength of their family unit. I have felt in my own heart that, since being forced to isolate, our bonds have been strengthened in the most unique and deep way.

When I think to the future and if we will have another baby one day, I realize that, later down the line when we are able to look back on Calum’s cancer, a third child would not be a part of this story. It’s OK because there will be new, more happy memories to be built, but it will forever be in my heart that Calum and Faye have been through it all together. So, when people ask me about Faye from now on, I will continue to give the short version response in light of time and emotional containment but, in my mind, I will be thinking of how special she is to our family; How her role, just as our baby, is invaluable; and how she is, without hesitation, Calum’s best friend forever.

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