No matter if you are a family spread apart for 5+ weeks with some staying in the hospital and others visiting, some things don't change. What was there remains despite the circumstances, and in our case it is the absolute sweetness that is the brother - sister relationship between our#LukaTheLion and Maia Bee. Yes, they are like any siblings who both want to drink out of the same cup once in a while or think the same toy is highly desirable at the exact same moment. But, their entire lives they have had this gentle, joyful love for each other expressed through head pats, hugs, and hair pulling - of course.
When we were preparing to be admitted to the hospital during a "Family Meeting" between us and some of the staff, they asked about how Maia is as a sibling of a frequently hospitalized brother. I responded, as I have above, only to get a jarring response from one person, "Just wait, that will change." Well, I'm happy to say that it didn't. If anything, their bond is closer and stronger even with the distance that they have had throughout this process. Today was no different.
While Zach was picking up Maia from Y camp, Luka and I were roaming free in his room "unhooked." He didn't seem interested in anything. He would stand, not move, then sit and not move. He even laid down on the couch almost in protest. He just wasn't having it, at all. I thought that perhaps with all this new freedom, his body is tiring out faster and he just needed a break. So, we did just that and he sat on my lap watching some nursery rhymes videos. He then heard that subtle squeak sound that the hospital's tricycle makes when Maia rolls up and parks it next to the painted penguins outside of Luka's room. It was that moment that Luka recognized what he thought was her and exclaimed, "Maia!" while pointing at the window. But, it wasn't her. It was another kid riding the tricycle. Luka proceeded to have a meltdown, crying, and fighting through his feelings by resting his head on me. I thought he was maybe going a bit backwards from all the progress he'd been making lately. So we sat there for awhile.
Then, in an instant, he perked up as he heard the tricycle squeak again and the loud footsteps who could only be, "Maia!" She bursted through the door rubbing her hands profusely with the hand sanitizer as Luka basically ran towards her flapping his arms in glee. All he needed was a jolt of Maia's positive energy and love, and our lion was as happy as can be. Hugs, smiles, and love ensued. And he remained that way for the next two hours as they played cars side by side in the Lion's Den which has basically become our family room. See, some things don't change.