We all have hopes and dreams for our kids’ future. From the moment we know they’re on their way, we daydream about first steps, the first day at school, and first driving lesson, to name a few. That’s parenthood, right? There’s nothing I look forward to more than the first time my son and I can watch Tombstone together while eating pizza rolls. (Can I get a WHAT WHAT!)
Unfortunately for Mike and Laura Canahuati, they’re facing the reality that they might not be able to see many of those dreams come true. Their daughter Avery, almost 6 months old, has been diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a progressive genetic disease that has no cure. Most children with infantile SMA are not expected to live past their second birthday. Avery, you guys, it’s not good. Nothing about this is good. Annnnnnnd– cue waterworks.
To help cope with the diagnosis they’ve begun documenting their story through a blog focused on Avery’s “Bucket List.” The list part isn’t metaphorical; they’re compiling an actual itemized log and crossing it off as they go. Some items on the list are as simple (and tear-inducing) as hugs for Mom and Dad, sitting up, and a first kiss. Others are more complicated, from graduating college to visiting the White House and appearing on Ellen. Is that morbid? Well, I don’t know, I’d imagine they’re probably thinking about death with or without the list, though the compulsive organizer in me really wants them to put that into Excel and color code it by category.
The blog is written by Mike from Avery’s perspective, detailing the ins and outs of pseudo-adventures:
Yesterday was my 5-month birthday and to celebrate, my mommy & daddy took me on a road trip to where they first met and fell in love. Oh and I was able to take my first college campus tour at mommy & daddy’s Alma mater, Texas State University. My daddy kept saying “back when I graduated, it was Southwest Texas State University. In fact I was part of the last graduating class of Southwest Texas State University.” OK daddy, we get it, the name changed, you’re getting old, let it go.
The poignant situation combined with their unexpectedly light tone adds up to an exponential amount of heartstring pulling that just about any parent can relate to, because OH MY GOD, the babies and the dying. How can you even?! Though I would be remiss if I didn’t put it out there that the first-person mommy/daddy/sweetie/cutie talk is giving my gag-reflex a workout that I’m having a hard time overcoming. Please note in my permanent record that I’m probably a highly advanced robot.
For better or worse they’re skyrocketing their way across the interwebs, which is a pretty epic achievement considering they only have nine (9!) posts, the first of which was just ten days ago. “Is 191,000 page views in less than 7 full days a lot? Mommy & daddy say it is a lot of people and if I stop now, I should be very proud of myself because I’ve reached thousands of people who’d never heard of SMA.” writes awkwardly semi-fictional Avery/Mike. (I think they can probably go ahead and cross off “go viral on the internet.” And yeah, that’s on the list. Go figure.)
The Canahuatis’ main goal, besides obviously eating up every second of the time they have with their daughter, is to spread awareness about SMA. They urge prospective parents to get tested for the disease’s genetic markers and hope to eventually help contribute towards a cure. They’re not the first parents to channel their grief into a good cause.
In conclusion, please dry your tears because this little girl is playing with otters. It’s probably on her bucket list.
THERE”LL BE NO CRYING ON MY WATCH.