Friday, June 13, 2014

Our last Miss Christy Day

It's hard to find the right words sometimes.  Today is the last day we have our nanny, Miss Christy.  She who swept into our lives almost 8 years ago, still a little fresh with her own grief from losing her daughter who had many issues that were comparable to Connor's.  How she swept though!  It was hard, going to work and leaving Connor here with her - a virtual stranger!  But we did, because we are grown-ups and we have to relearn how to let go every once in a while.  As Lee mentioned in his eulogy, the first day she worked for us, Connor threw up on her.  The second day...he threw up on her.  Connor did what little he could to push her away, and she kept coming back.  She adopted him as her own, and cared for him tenderly.  Then Drew was born, and she reveled in having an infant to care for as well.  Drew went from tiny, mewling newborn to the big, strapping 7.75 year old he is under her protective wing, and he is a gentle, smart boy.  She is the person who sat with him and reviewed the alphabet when we were at work.  She is the person who helped him learn his numbers, in both English and Spanish.  She helped him learn to eat with utensils, to walk, to jump, to run.  She took him to school and home.  She met another nanny and brought that nanny's children into our circle, and we made lifelong friends that way.

And then we went and had Tucker.  And she did it ALL OVER AGAIN.  While doing everything at the same level for Connor and Drew.

We had to call her and break her heart in February.  She'd left the evening before, her usual Friday departure, saying "Have a good weekend!  See you Monday!"  Connor had been fed and cared for - by her.  The next morning, we shattered that little peaceful weekend, and within an hour, she was at the house to share her grief with the rest of us who were grieving here.  At the service, she tried to sit in the back and be unobtrusive with her husband.  My sister, under direction to find her, swooped in and brought her to the front pews.  She's family to us, and she sits with us, always.

She's simply amazing.  But the boys have outgrown her, and a new family needs her.  We couldn't recommend her more highly, and we are all on edge today, doing everything we can to keep ourselves together because we know that it will be hard at the end of the day to say our final good-bye.  Of course, we'll still get her to sit sometimes (and will be happy that in addition to seeing her, and the boys spending time with her, the kitchen will get cleaned up to a crazy level and she will do the laundry.  She just can't help herself).  Thank you for giving us 8 years of love and devoted service.  We will all miss you more than we can say.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

New Growth

Today, a tree was planted in my backyard.

It was a gift from friends, and I hope it can make it.  It's a little thing right now, and I hope that getting it in the ground, with lots of fresh air and sunshine, will help it grow.

When Connor died, the women with whom I graduated high school worked together and sent us a seedling too.  And one of them, a horticulturalist, also had one planted in Islamorada, FL, where she lives and works, in his honor.  And our next door neightbors gave us an apple tree kit, which is the kind of tree Drew wants to plant when we inter the ashes.  And my Prison Listers - my college friends from our residential college - planted a tree in Connor's honor at Tuckahoe Park about a quarter mile from the house and next to the school where his beloved Ms. Robin teaches (and taught him).  And then another dear friend from college offered to have a tree planted somewhere nearby in Connor's honor.  I told him we were overrun with trees, but suggested that he plant a tree where he lives in Roanoke to commemorate my sweet boy.

And idea started to germinate.

(See what I did there?)

What if we planted a tree everywhere we went, and helped populate the earth with more green in Connor's honor?  Not to a micro-level (or, if I were being hipstery, going meta on this idea...) so it's not as though I am suggesting that each time I drop my kids at school, or go to 7-11, I'm going to plant trees there.  More along the lines of wherever we take family trips, we work in either the planting of a native tree or arrange for that to take place before or after if necessary.  Something we can do as a family and honor our son and brother together wherever in the world we decide to go.  Because we already feel that we need to go further and see more now that we can, and if we can help the earth in doing so, in his name, well, all the better.

So, if the spirit moves you, go plant a tree for Connor. Try to take a picture of it and send it to me. I'm going to start an album of Connor's trees. Including follow up visits too, years in the future.