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.
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.
That's why I keep that text. I re-live the joy.
What texts do you keep? What can't you bear to delete?