Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Forced Perspective

It's an art term, a photography term. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forced_perspective)

To Lee and I, it's a term of how we've lived since April 2004, when Connor was diagnosed with Infantile Spasms and we were given the prognosis of his pervasive developmental delays and shorter life expectancy.  We were forced, just after welcoming him, to start mourning him.  And despite what they told us, he lived on.  He lived 8-9 years past what they said.  So we kept living, but we also kept mourning.  We celebrated at the same time.

Last night, I stared up at a photo that is up in our bedroom of Connor sitting independently.  I remember that day so clearly.  Lee was at school, and a home had gone on the market that I thought may have worked for us.  I called my agent (who is now my broker) and asked him to show me, and would it be okay if I had the boys with me.  He carried Drew around the house while I had Connor. Connor had been working on his independent sitting with Ms. Megan.  I sat on the floor in the basement of the house at the corner of John Marshall Drive and N. 28th Street and placed him between my splayed legs, then propped his arms down with his hands, mostly fisted, on the floor.  He wobbled, then steadied, then started to look up.  Then I realized that he wasn't getting a single ounce of support from me.  I had my camera, so I could show Lee what the house looked like.

Instead, I got to take a "first" picture of our sweet fighter, sitting by himself.

I was beside myself with happiness.  Last night, I stared up at that picture and remember what a fighter he was.  It was a really good example for his brothers.  See - Connor never gave up.  He always tried.  I drive past that home at least once a week, and it always makes me smile.  It's where he walked on water.  It's where he turned the water into wine.  It's where he changed my perspective on him.  It's where I was reminded to celebrate while I mourn.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

When life switches from hellos to good-byes

This weekend, I had a message from my parents that one of their very closest friends had passed away after many years of complicated health.  I stood in my bedroom and cried, feeling sad that my parents were so sad, and sad that I didn't know my "Uncle" Bob (really, my second Uncle Bob.  My first Uncle Bob was actually my uncle, and he passed away many years ago and we all miss him) better.  I knew him mostly through stories, and they were very, very funny stories.

Then on Tuesday night, I saw a facebook posting from my oldest friend, letting people know that her mother had died after a battle with cancer, and I sat in my office and wept, and thankfully had her number in my phone and was able to call her right away.  I don't know if hearing from me helped her, but I don't have memories that do not include her and her family and I wanted her to know that it moved me to know that she had experienced this loss, and to find out how her sons and father were managing.  They were there from the beginning with me.  I have so many memories of playing at her house: in the basement with the hamsters, in the backyard picking berries off the bushes and flinging them around, in the kitchen getting Cran-Grape to drink.  To this day, Cran-Apple and Cran-Grape immediately put me back in her kitchen.  Her house was the first place I heard a clock with the Big Ben Chime (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juT1zsim6es) which to me, was just the clock sound at Michele's.  Some days, when we were feeling very brave, we would stand on the retaining wall by her garage and jump down.  In retrospect, that was a terrible idea.  It was probably 15 feet high at the highest point.  I can't believe we never got more than a scrape!

When we were 6, we were playing in the basement, and in our exuberance decided that the best possible game would be "Jump On The Sofa" - not an uncommon game.  The difference being that this time, I opted to do so with a Tinker Toy in my mouth.  I had a real problem in my youth with "things in my mouth," though this helped cure me.  We jumped and jumped and jumped.  We bumped and bumped, and then bumped into each other, front to front.  Luckily, she was much taller than me (not difficult) and the Tinker Toy struck her right in the sternum, and poked into my cheek a little.  She ran up to her mother, a nurse, as it actually hurt her.  Her mother called me up, and asked to see my mouth.  Then she called my mother to explain and tell her I should go to the ER, just in case.  I wasn't hurt at all!  I was terrified of the ER.  When my sisters' had gone there, they came back with casts and stitched and such!  NO THANK YOU!

But away we went, and I ended up with a stitch in my cheek.  One single stitch that no one could even see.  And now, I have a small scar in my cheek that I can feel with my tongue where the stitch was that 36 years ago, came to pass because my friend's mother in her kindness, checked out the unhurt child as well as caring for her own hurt one.  It makes me glad to think I had such kindness around me when I was far too young to be able to express it, and it makes me sad to know that her specific brand of kindness is now gone to Heaven.  I know she is there, with her friends and relatives who went before, and I hope that she is with Connor too.  In a few weeks, when we inter his cremains and plant his garden, I'll plant a few seeds in her honor, and Uncle Bob's, and all our friends and family who have gone on.  

But for now, I don't like the transition we are in...moving from hellos to good-byes.  And I don't like that these good-byes are coming fast and furious upon my sons too.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Because Snow

Oops.  I've been thinking of posting something, but inevitably it has snowed and I've had the boys home, restless and easily triggered into sparring matches.  It has been a LONG month, and I don't live anywhere near Boston, where REAL snow has been happening.

In any case, it's been a month and I am really sorry.

Since my last post, Drew has decided to cut his hair short again, asking Lee to give him "The Connor" - aka a buzz cut.  Drew only remembers his brother having a buzz cut, even though his hair was longer until he turned 4.  Lee managed to buzz him without getting upset - a feat I'm not sure I could have accomplished.  His head feels like Connor's again, and I find myself rubbing it all the time.  I hope if he ever learns that one of the reasons I am doing that is that it reconnects my sense of touch to Connor, it won't bother him.  I would do it even if things were different because it feels cool, but it has the added bonus (?) of bringing Connor back to me.

Tucker has started reading.  I am thrilled, though recognize that he's 5 and it's totally normal.  But, for a kid who (1) didn't want to go to kindergarten and (2) told me that he didn't need to learn to read, I feel like this is a huge thing for him.  Now he writes notes and delivers them to everyone, and reads to himself at night after we've read together.

Lee and I still struggle with all the different emotions that whip through us.  I find that it's later in the day each day when I first think of Connor, and that makes me sad.

It's about 4 weeks until we inter his cremains.  It's supposed to be a garden-building party for our family, and I'm beginning to get concerned that we won't be ready!  Time to graph out the garden area and the seeds people sent/delivered on the anniversary weekend, and to make sure I've brought the garden bed back to life after this exceptionally cold, hard late winter we've had.

But tomorrow night, we spring forward.  Of course!  I wonder how much snow will still be on the ground when we do that.