Bound for Glory? All Aboard!

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by Helen Baldwin |

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yo-yoing | SMA News Today | main graphic for column titled "We're Not in Kansas Anymore," by Helen Baldwin, depicting a blue wave offset by green nature scenes

As I last wrote, my 89-year-old mother was admitted to the hospital after testing positive for COVID-19.

“Oh no,” you might think. “That doesn’t sound good.”

You’re right, it doesn’t. My mother, however, had high hopes for COVID-19.


Our third baby, Jeffrey, burst into our arms on May 18, 1997. Despite endless duties at the family’s lodge on the Blue Ridge Parkway, my folks eagerly found excuses to provide myriad assistance. Besides helping with Jeffrey, both showered our older children, Matthew and Katie, with extra TLC, tightening those bonds even more.

As Jeffrey’s delightful personality emerged, it was clear he adored Nana and Papa’s affections.

losing a parent | SMA News Today | photograph of older woman with an infant in her lap

Jeffrey and his nana loved laughing! (Photo by Helen Baldwin)

Two months after Jeffrey’s birth, my brother, Paul, a doctor, checked him at the request of my husband, Randy. Paul revealed his findings: dull-sounding lung, no reflexes.

The scheduled well-baby visit was the next morning, July 14. Paul alerted the pediatrician with his suspicions before our arrival, and we were promptly sent to the first neurologist who returned her call. That night, spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) barged into our family.

Without skipping a beat, my musician mother whipped up a collection of original songs for Jeffrey after hearing he probably wouldn’t be here long. He loved them!

“Dreams for Jeffrey” was the first collection of Mom’s original music to be commercially duplicated. She and her musical genius were on a roll.