Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Text

There are about five or six texts that I keep on my phone's inbox at all times. Some of them include pics. All are kept for highly emotional reasons. Some are recent. Some from within the last six months. I keep a few with pictures of Stella from the hospital. I am afraid to delete those because they were her last photos and are all I have left. One is a text I sent to my dad and my cousin Pammy on the evening of 11/12/11. It is a photo of the machines crowding Eli's NICU room. I keep it to remind me how far he has come. That Eli is a miracle. I keep the early September text conversation between me and our realtor to remind me how lucky we were to find our house. And I still have the one on Halloween, last year when the ultrasounds to keep checking my fluid levels began.
Some I am afraid to delete.
Doesn't that sound crazy?
But I get these silly notions that something bad will happen if I delete well wishes about Eli's health, or my family's health. I can't bear to delete the sweet words our friends texted after Omi died. I can't delete the texts about Stella. Otherwise, it feels like too many traces will be gone. Like God will think I stopped paying attention.
I keep the sentiments safe, hidden in my phone. I re-read these tucked-away texts. All the time, really. I think it is good to look back and see Eli's hospital room - to be reminded about every precious moment.
The oldest one I have is a text that I sent out August 9, 2011 at 7:30 p.m. All it says to a few family members is that Jackson had suddenly learned to swim. 
Isn't it amazing that I have the exact date and time that he reached that milestone? He had been four years old for less than a week. I remember that afternoon. He had been using floaties and a tube all summer. But that day, he had taken them off, dipped his head just below the surface and swam like a fish into my arms. Eric and I were breathless. Jackson was over the moon. It was one of those moments, where you got to witness that click. The very second were your child gets it. 
One second he doesn't know how to swim. 
The next, he is swimming.
One second. 
So fast. So exact.
Sometimes things are so gradual, like a garden growing. One day you go out to water and your flower has bloomed, the tomatoes are ripened. Sometimes you turn around and there they are rolling, crawling, walking, swimming. But I got lucky that day. I got to see the exact transformation. It was amazing. 
So silly, right? It's just swimming.
But it was so joyous and strong.
Joyous!
That's why I keep that text. I re-live the joy.
What texts do you keep? What can't you bear to delete?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Elements

Outside dark clouds, booming thunder, soft rain and flashes of thunder - the stage was set for Eli's big move. He had been practicing for more than a month. Oh there had been lots of rocking, calling and baiting - but nothing had quite convinced him just yet. That is, until Jackson's toy tuck was placed just within reach. And slowly, tentatively, Eli's arms coordinated with his knees. His hands kept him upright, his knees no longer sluggish.
We caught it on my phone.
He crawled.
Crawled.
He crawled right over to the bright yellow, toy truck. We leapt with joy and shrieked and shouted. So much so, that even he joined in the celebration.
Hooray! A baby who once never displayed proper walking reflexes reached a big milestone.
We were so happy.
And then ..... we started digging out the old baby gates.
Damn.

Friday, July 6, 2012

My Oma

When Eli was born, Jackson had to suddenly do more things on his own as is common with a new baby in the house. But with Eli’s rough start, Jackson didn’t get to adjust to being a big brother like most kids. He had to transition quickly what with Eli requiring more attention than your average newborn. So when Omi’s red, white and blue afghan arrived he labeled it his very own “lovey” and cuddled into it immediately.
Jackson drags the bright afghan she knitted him around the house. He loves the crisp colors and how they match his room. He cuddles with it on the couch when he is feeling tired and sleeps with it every night. It warms my heart to snuggle our children up in the afghans she made for them.
Her love comforts her great grandchildren in soft, knitted layers.
Each purl stitch is a tiny bud harboring love sent from their great-grandmother. Each knot is a sign of hard work and love. These things: hard work and love are what Omi taught us.
 Omi taught us…
 … to be brave by her example.
…to fight for what you believe in.
…to iron everything.
 … to bite your loved ones.
…to pray.
…that vinegar cures all.
…to be loyal to your family.
 ....to enjoy a good, long, soak in the tub.
…to live through strife, famine and war with dignity, pride, love and always with humor.
 …to change the beds on Monday.
…to always stop for a coffee in the afternoons.
…to get up and go to work every day.
 …to always call your grandmother.
…to never call at 1 p.m. when All My Children was on.
…to love fresh, crisp laundry off the line.
…that life is in the laundry room. Look for it in the colors and the whites. Life. Love. They are there. It’s in the crisp lines of our graduation gowns that she ironed, in the bleached whites of christening gowns that she prepared, in the soft folds of her  pastel, knit tops, and even in the stain stick working to remove the remnants of a family-filled Thanksgiving dinner and the laundry-room sink where all the babies got their bubble-bath soak afterwards.
 Look for it.
Do you see it?
Do you see Omi?
 I do.
 http://falardeaufh.com/obituaries/obit.php?id=2012-162