Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Empty Chair

Once Ainsley started eating solid foods and was  joining us at the table for 3 meals a day, we looked like the the normal, allAmerican family of four.  Usually at dinner time, Erick and I sat across the table from Ainsley and Olivia.  From the beginning of solid food life, Ainsley was an AWFUL eater.  Oh, wait, she still is!  Dinner was a struggle every single night.  She would look at her plate and would literally stress out over what she saw unless it was a bowl of buttered noodles, grilled cheese, hot dog, or chicken nuggets,.  (Oh, and don't forget DESSERTS of any kind)

  I was so used to Olivia just eating what was in front of her.  Some foods were a struggle for Olivia, but for the most part, she just ate.  In fact, in her diary book, she wrote that her least - liked food was Cheeseburger casserole.  (not the healthiest of dinner)  I continued to make this cheesy casserole and she eventually ended up liking it.  She never did change that in her diary book.......  but, I remember.

Each night at dinner, while Ainsley stared at her plate with disgust, twirled her short blond hair,  and I repeated "eat" over and over again, Olivia would run back into Ainsley's bedroom and grab her large stuffed Mickey Mouse.  She would put the fork in his hands and pretend to feed Ainsley.  Sometimes it worked and other times she still refused.  Olivia's efforts were more patient than mine.  She just had a way with Ainsley that no one else did.

I really didn't want to become a short order cook.  I am a firm believer that you eat what has been made for dinner.  (Confession:  I have become a short order cook for Ainsley - now almost 8 years old)

About three weeks after Olivia passed, visitors stopped coming and checking in on us and Erick headed back to work.  This would be about the  first time we sat down at the dinner table as a family of three (without Olivia).  Looking at her empty seat where she shared so many meals with us and did her homework only reminded us, PROVED to use, that she wasn't coming to her seat ever again.

It's those little things that tend to hurt the worst.