Each year, we rearrange all of our living room furniture, borrow chairs and tables from neighbors (ahem, and workplaces), and host a Passover seder for the masses.  But a few months ago, I accepted that with our now-limited time, we would have to axe a bunch of people off of our guest list and host a more appropriately sized event.  One that doesn’t involve sending someone to the store 20 minutes before guests arrive for an array of forgotten items, including beets, flowers, and compostable forks.

Of course, this did not happen.

I love both a challenge and a packed house, so once again, our couches were shoved into corners and we were busting at the seams with 13 adults and 6 kids for a sit-down dinner.  A delightful Barry Louis Polisar Haggadah in hand, we told the story of the Jews’ exodus from Egypt through our unintelligible Hebrew with a healthy dose of shrieking children in the next room.

As we prepared to do a blessing for the bitter herbs, symbolized by haroset, a mixture of fruits, nuts, and spices, we read aloud:

“We acknowledge that life is bittersweet.”

I nodded my head at the trueness of the statement, realizing that bittersweet was the word I’ve been missing for the last 9.5 months.  It’s a succinct description of some wonderfully sweet moments with Luella that have been tinged with darker undertones.

And bittersweet is the word that describes my present feelings as we prepare for one of Luella’s more momentous experiences.  On Monday, May 12, Luella will have two surgeries at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

The glamorous life of waiting room families

About the Surgeries/Jenn’s Mostly Inaccurate Medical Explanations:

1.  Gastric Tube/G-Tube Surgery.  As Luella gets older and more mobile, it’s (duh) becoming an issue to have a feeding tube always hanging out of her nose.  She rolls on top of it, gets it stuck in her hands, and has clumsy parents who have accidentally pulled it out on a number of occasions.  The tape that keeps it stuck to her face causes rashes and putting new feeding tubes in is unpleasant for all involved.  While her feeding therapy is going well, it will likely be a long time before she is able to consume her food solely by mouth.  The g-tube will be a port directly into her stomach that will be attached to a cord only when she eats.

2.  Lazy Eye Surgery.  Both of Luella’s eyes wander in and up, which is a vision problem as well as a cosmetic issue.  This surgery will address “amblyopia”,  the delightful technical term for the more judgey “lazy eye”.  This surgery will help to realign the eyes, although it’s not guaranteed to be successful.


Waiting for a gastrointestinal study


GI Study 2

Live x-rays of digestive system

In terms of surgeries, we’re told these are relatively minor, although it is slightly more dangerous to undergo anesthesia if you’ve had seizures, as Luella has.  I’m really looking forward to having her nasal feeding tube out and some of her vision issues fixed, but I’m also a little like, “HELLO THIS IS THE WORST.”

The next few weeks, like many weeks prior, will probably be a lot like my Passover chocolate cake: bittersweet.  That being said, my guests didn’t have any complaints about it.  In fact, I watched a friend polish off the leftovers, running her finger along the bottom of the pan to savor every last, deliciously bittersweet morsel.


All sweet.