Yes, deliberately misspelled, people. I can still spell, even while heartbroken. It's a gorgeous sunny day, making it hard to believe we may get 8 inches of snow in 48 hours.
Today, I drove to Barrett to participate in a balloon release for Connor and Bella. Bella is his classmate who greeted him when he arrived in heaven last week. In the car on the way there, "I've Got You, Babe" came on the radio, which immediately reminded me of the first weeks home with Connor. You see, he was born in February, and while I was home recovering from his delivery and learning how to be a mother, I had the TV on during the day. HBO, ever the "holiday"-themed programmer, was showing "Groundhog Day" approximately 14 times a day across their channels. I watched it on HBO, HBO West, HBO En Espanol, HBO West En Espanol. Over and over and over and over. And then, one afternoon, I shook my head and shoulders and said, "STOP! YOU ARE LIVING THIS MOVIE!"
So I stopped, despite my deep adoration of Bill Murray (fellow 9/21 birthday!!). However, when I hear that song, I'm immediately reminded of my first weeks with Connor, before the seizures set in and changed him. Of course, he had a crippling case of acid reflux - child's play compared to where we went from there.
But it also reminds me of many, many days when I would pick up Connor, and he would extend. To those who don't work with physically compromised children (or adults, I suppose), extension means that when he was shifted around or lifted he would extend his arms and legs and spine all out, stiffening. It made it very hard to pick him up, and I would have to break the pattern gently. When I did that, I would say to him, "It's okay - I got you."
I got you, babe.
So anyway, I got to school, and signed in. That was the easy part. I took a deep breath and walked through the halls. I turned into the hall where his class is located, and the walls outside his classroom are festooned with cards. Posterboards and small cards, every color in the rainbow represented. It was so lovely to see, and totally cry-inducing as well. I took pictures. They are below.
I went into the classroom - his cubby, his classmates, his artwork and pictures on the wall, as well as more cards inside the class. Hugs from everyone. His teacher Liz handed me a blue balloon (we were releasing pink first, then the blue ones for Connor). I took the Sharpie out of my pocket and write Mom, Dad, Drew, Tucker, Ani, Pop-pop, Nana, Poppy, Miss Christy, Aunt Erin, Aunt Megan, Tio Tlaloc, Aunt Shannon, Uncle Todd, Aunt Julie, Uncle Joe, Aunt Kim, Uncle Brian, Jack, Henry and Mac. His family. Just a note from us to him so that he knows that we all still think about him all the time. I took pictures of that. Those pictures are below.
Then, before we released the balloons, his aide, Tate, came over and asked to sign the balloon too. I gave him the marker and he wrote, "Tate. Love you."
Good Lord, the people behind you, Connor.
Then we said your name, and I filmed the balloons going up into the blue sky. The sun is so very bright today, and the balloons were a close color to the sky. So as the balloons rose, they started to disappear into the color all around, and then when they went in front of the sun they were lost to view. But I filmed it with my phone, and the link to that on youtube is at the end. My sunglasses, the bright sunlight, and my tears all kept me from being able to see the balloons in real time once they were more than 50 feet away, but my phone captured their upwards meander pretty well, and I'm glad that I have it.
We went inside, and I said good-byes and promised to come back, and I will. As I left, Tate stuck his head and shoulders out the door of the classroom and pointed to me, then back in the room, and then said, "Family."
I got you, babe.