Loose threads, random strands and knots.


As most people right now are making a list and checking it twice…our list yesterday was very different than usual. Instead of Barbie dolls and puzzles, it’s full of questions. Hard ones.

  1. Will my daughter need a blood transfusion during surgery and if so, can she use my blood?
  2. How long do you anticipate she will be in surgery for?
  3. How long will she be in ICU for?
  4. What is the likelihood that she will need more surgeries in the future?
  5. Will you doctors be too tired after Christmas to do this surgery with all your heart, mind and knowledge?

This year, the things on our list for Christmas can’t be bought. It’d be safe to say that yesterday was one of the longest days of my life. LONGGGGG. (I’m sure adding those extra G’s right there gave you a better visual of how long it felt). As if the anticipation of this day wasn’t enough to fill my body with anxiety, on our drive to the hospital, we passed a yellow school bus on the side of the road with another car, a frazzled woman and 2 cops. Anytime you see a bus with cop lights behind it, it’s an immediate pit in your stomach, but when you see “Bus A” and realize that it’s your 5 year old daughters bus, that pit turned into a boulder. We immediately pulled over and my husband got on the bus to make sure all was well and thankfully it was. After I knew she was fine, I couldn’t help but think in my head “you can’t even make this shit up right now”.

Knowing all was fine, we were able to head out and make it on time to her first of 4 appointments. We met with the neurosurgeon, plastic surgeon, anesthesiologist and ophthalmologist (thank you google for the spelling). Each appointment was more nerve-wracking than the next, but I do have the utmost faith in each of these Doctors and know for sure she is in the best hands. We heard about how some very skilled superhero surgeons will carefully cut open her head, gracefully remove part of her skull from around her beautiful 2 year old brain, then break it, remold it and put it all back together with the help of resorbable plates and screws so that her brain has room to grow. That is a scary sentence to type, but it’s also reality.  If we didn’t do this surgery, the outcome would be a lot scarier than what I just typed. It is amazing there are people in this world that can do such a surgery.  It’s also amazing I didn’t faint after how light headed I felt during that meeting.  These doctors and nurses who will be taking care of Gabriella are true angels on earth.

Gabriella, when that beautiful brain of yours learns how to read one day, you’ll see why so many think you are one of a kind. The zig-zag “W” scar that will go from ear to ear will be a reminder that 1) God heals and 2) You are a true Warrior. That is what the W scar will represent.

The whole day just felt surreal.  Being at Childrens hospital anytime of the year is hard, but Christmas time makes it even more difficult. In the past, I have visited Children’s hospitals this time of year to be the “giver”, dropping off gifts, giving well wishes and even caroling. This time, I was on the other end. We were at the hospital from 8am-4pm, not by choice.  In that time, we saw people wrapping presents for Children who will spend Christmas morning there. We heard a band playing Christmas music and saw people handing out stuffed animals to little children in wheel chairs followed by an IV stand pole. Kids were smiling, parents looked stoic. This was hard. Really hard.  I caught the eye of a Mom working on a quilt, probably to occupy her mind and create a memory for her son/daughter. And this reminded me of what a good friend once told me…

Life is like a quilt. For the most part, we only see the backside of it, which seems to be nothing more than a mess of threads—frayed, knotted, and at times, completely random. Nothing really makes sense about it and it’s no wonder people struggle so much through difficult times.

But here’s the thing, we sometimes can only see the bottom of the quilt, the parts that don’t make sense. But from above, the aerial view, the final masterpiece that God has created, he can see beautiful colors and the pattern that comes together and make total sense.  Every thread, every knot, every lose strand is in God’s hand and it will soon have it’s place and make sense.

When life appears to be messy and make no sense at all, we just have to remember that we are looking at the backside of the quilt. And the one weaving it together knows exactly what the final product will look like.

So, as we left the hospital, it started to snow…that beautiful fluffy snow, I couldn’t help but sing in my head, “and since we have no place to go, Let us sew, Let us sew, Let us sew.”


Author: gabriellascraniojourney

I am the lucky lady to have been blessed with 3 beautiful daughters, an unscripted life and one that took the road less traveled. This is her journey.

21 thoughts on “Loose threads, random strands and knots.”

  1. Hello Katie!
    I am truly so sorry to hear about your beautiful daughter Gabriella. I know first hand how difficult this time is. My oldest daughter went through open heart surgery at only 5 days old, she recovered well without any hiccups. When she was 13 she was diagnosed with Scoliosis. By age 17 it had grown to a stage where we had to make a difficult decision to correct this massive curve. I was told the #1 risk was death, #2 was paralyzed. My anxiety went through the roof and I couldn’t focus on anything but her.
    We decided to get the surgery done, after her Junior year right when summer started. She got the best Orthopedic Surgeon in San Diego @ Rady’s Hospital. I’m not going to lie it was a rough recovery, but we are happy with our decision + results.
    Katie give all of your worries, and concerns to God, and know 💯 whole heartedly she will be in the best of hands. I will be sending love, prayers and good vibes. Merry Christmas Katie.



  2. beautifully written, you are just as Strong as your little girl. we are thinking of you lots these days and sending the best thoughts your way.


  3. Thinking of you and your family.🙏🏻 You will get through this, your daughter will flourish, and you will someday reflect and understand why you were chosen to live through this “outside your own control” life event.
    A mom’s love is an incredible healer… praying you find peace in your heart and feel all the love you need right now!❤️
    God please bless Gabriella!🙏🏻


  4. Your entire family and all hospital staff are in our daily prayers Katie.

    Prayer Before Surgery
    Loving Father, I entrust Gabriella to your care this day; guide with wisdom and skill the minds and hands of the medical people who minister in your Name, and grant that every cause of illness be removed, Gabriella may be restored to soundness of health and learn to live in more perfect harmony with you and with those around her. Through Jesus Christ. Amen.
    Into your hands, we commend Gabriella’s body and my soul. Amen.

    Love, Blessings & Prayers,
    Eloise & De Santos Family


  5. Prayers for you and your family! My nephew had this surgery done at 8 months. It is major and scary, but necessary and he is a bright and normal 6 yr old in kindergarten now. 🙂


  6. Prayers for your baby girl, and your whole family! I cannot even pretend to comprehend what you are going through or feeling, but I know our God is mighty! You give me strength everyday to keep fighting for a life of never missing a moment with my own little girl, and to see what you are dealing with on the other side makes me know even more what an AMAZING person you are! Much love to you and your family. I will keep your little angel in my prayers.


  7. 🙏🏻 I am so sorry to hear about your little girl. There are so many emotions you will go through on this journey. My son recently just had a craniotomy June 2017 and if you need an impartial ear to listen I am available. I will continue to keep you little Gabriella and your family in my thoughts!!!❤️


  8. Oh man… this hit home in so many ways. In an effort not to ramble, I’ll leave you with some drops… these are moments you will remember so vividly, but your sweet baby girl will not. She’ll just know she conquered something fierce with your love every step of the way. It’s such a humbling experience to spend time in the peds ward, with children who deserve so much more than the hand they’ve been dealt. But kids are resilient and thank god for that. Wishing your family the very best and sending positive vibes your way along with my love. This too shall pass my friend ❤️


  9. My cousin’s baby had a similar surgery almost 18 years ago. He is now a thriving teenager who excels both academically and on the wrestling team! God is able. Prayers for you!


  10. Oh mamas! Nothing any parent want to hear or go through. Your daughter is from your mold and she’s a warrior. Of course she is…birthed by a warrior. I will be praying for your beautiful daughter, for the surgeons, the nurses and all whom will be caring for her. Praying for you and your husband. Praying that God wraps you up Inn hos promised and you are calmed by His presence.
    I ya e a daughter who has had countless surgeries and I know the challenges your facing. Be still and know God is so Good.
    Love to you all


  11. Katie…I read your story, and I will be praying for your beautiful baby girl, and for your entire family & the medical team. I have a nephew whose son went through this exact procedure at U of M. I don’t know if you have been in touch with other parents who have gone through this, but I know they would be more than happy to be a resource for you, if you need sounding board. Today my great nephew is a happy, healthy 6 year old boy 😊


  12. Thinking of you and your BEAUTIFUL family during this difficult time 🎄❤️🙏. I read everything that you write, analyze every motivational video that you share, and admire your awesome positivity on the daily. You always seem to know just what to say, how to say it, and I am left with spunk and enthusiasm every time I read your words. This time your words left me with fear, worry and sadness. But if there is anyone in the world who can get through this Katie, it’s you!!! Your daughter is so damn lucky that you are her Mommy, and I know with certainty, she will be just perfect. Unfortunately I know two brave little babies who had to go through this horrific surgery. But fortunately, they are both thriving, learning, growing and living the beautiful lives that they are meant to live. Science is a wild thing and nowadays these surgeons perform them often, and meticulously, yielding perfect results. Your sweet babe is a warrior just like her Mamma, and I know she will get through this with ease and grace. I’m so sorry that your life is messy right now, but truly know how many of us will be praying for your daughter and for your family’s strength! Try to enjoy this beautiful holiday as best as you can and wrap yourself in the beautiful quilt, that will keep you warm and toasty!! Just like everything you do… You’ve got this!👊❤️🙏🎄


  13. Hello Katie, You are such an inspiration to all of us and I love your words of wisdom and encouragement. I will be praying for you and your family in this time of need! Know that you have a powerful support system of family, friends and of course God


  14. I admire you for sharing this journey. Faith in God. Continued energy from your circle far and wide. Giant hugs. Belief in the doctors. Healing vibes for your warrior.


  15. Good morning Katie… I’m sure you are a nervous wreck his morning , as I was 2.5 years ago…. these wonderful surgeons have so much training on this … my sons surgeons told me “this is really such an easy surgery it isn’t like it’s brain surgery… it’s basically reconstructing the bone”…. this made me feel so much more at ease…. I know it’s very worrisome but in a couple of weeks you will look back and think I can’t believe we went through that!!!! Prayers for your daughter for quick healing, your family for peace and strength as you go through this and for the surgeons for steady hands today. God is GREAT!! You’re daughter will do amazing!!!


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