Holding onto giant warm hand with cold hand small, we walk, he and I, out the door into a hot summer morning, kind of slow we go, to little old Honda green. And make our way blue sky day to hospital waiting. Twenty-one years ago today. Crazy. Back then life was all about me and Adored Husband. Our educational goals. Me and my uncomfortable body, stretched beyond a beauty bump. He and his sunburned ears from too many hours on hot roof. Me and my sleep, he and his sleep. Me and my feelings about he and his feelings. We and our dreams for the future. You were part of those dreams, but they were still my dreams about me and Dad how you’d fit into them.
Then a morning passed, and an early afternoon, and here you were, as beautiful as they get. Tiny and all intact. And here I was, could not take eyes off you. Any little thing you might have ever wanted or needed was offered before you asked for it. Dad couldn’t take his eyes off you, either! We hardly slept, days on end – just sat in dark of night watching you sleep, watching you eat, watching you watch us. That’s about the time Dad starting saying “He have ourselves some 24 hour entertainment!” We were just ridicules over you. We couldn’t help it. The way you recognized Dad’s voice the first moment we spent with you, as he said some words to you, and you turned and looked right at him. How in the world had we been blessed with such a child?
Days and months went by. Every little eye sparkle, little soft sounds you made, we didn’t want to forget your baby ways. You could not roll or crawl yet, but I’d lay you on your side, and roll a soft blue ball to you, and no mistaking it.. you used your hand to roll the ball back to me. Three months you were, and rolling a ball back and forth to me on the soft blue carpet of the travel trailer floor where we lived. Oliver the cat made you chuckle deep in your chest, which made Dad and I howl with laughter. We’d always stop what we were doing when the cat came your way to listen to you do your hilarious gleeful chuckle at Oliver.
It was hard to hear you at night when you woke up and wanted fed because you were not a bawler. You made your request for whatever you wanted in a quiet way. Onetime Dad and I almost took you to the doctor because you cried for maybe 30 minutes, we had never heard you do that before. Later we realized we’d had you out and about too long, and you had just gotten over-exhausted.
When you were 9 months old, Sis was on her way. I was very nauseated. And now I was worried about having another baby. How could I possibly love the next baby like I had loved you? Shocking, but it was not a problem. When she arrived, I was sleepless and smitten all over again. A gorgeous beauty girl, taking our breath away, her own little person, and so strikingly lovely. More night and day watching, not wanting to miss a thing. You were an amazing big brother. It took years for you two to start scraping at each other. I think it was middle school. And by the time high school came along, you were back to what you had always been. A very supportive brother to your sister. Working for hours with her on tennis and encouraging her to hang out with you while you played golf, one hole after another, taking her into following you hole after hole, until you’d managed 18 holes on Lobo Ridge.
Baby All Mr. Business arrived, another beautiful baby we couldn’t keep our eyes off, – 10 years apart you boys are, and yet you were gracious about the age difference and from the time he was very young, found things the two of you could enjoy together. When you left for college, I thought All Mr. Business would adjust quicker than he has. We are going on three years, and he still cries at night sometimes, missing the brother who shared his room every night all his life, talking into the darkness they did, talking their boy talk, and now your bed is covered with an 11 year old’s stockpile of air-soft, cap, cross-bow, water, sling and other such weaponry, and no brother, and sometimes the sting of it makes for salty-wet tears pushed back with fist.
When Butterfly, yet another precious dolly for not missing one thing came along, you were 16. An awkward age for dealing with a baby sister at home, and though that be the case, the two of you could not be more alike. She is the female version of you. Always in trouble for being too happy, bouncing through her day, hardily annoying her careful brother working hard on some project, she hearing little of what in going on around her for the busy thoughts she is engaged in, flinging, skipping, bounding with her happy self around the world of five while he screeches at her to JUST STOPPPPP IT!!!! She hurts, I mean aches with sadness when we drive away from Montana goodbyes. The hysterical sobs of parting are just a fraction of how much she loves you and misses you being home to follow you everywhere, ride shoulders around Seattle on damp foggy Christmas night, chatter your ear off, share your time and “just a little taste” of your coffee. She has Sis this summer, it was been a treasure as they have roomed together again as always, have told Alonna Grace stories, shared the closet space and laughter a few months.
This weekend we squished ourselves into the Prius, five of us, to come see you. See your apartment, see you hike up a mountain. Watch you show us how to hammock, watch you drive a golf ball to as far as can be driven, still sleepless for the sake of watching the wonder of our kids. Twenty-one years ago, life circled around my life and Dad’s life. Today after dinner we sneak out door, monopoly game in motion, we hope kids don’t notice:) Giant warm hand holds cold hand small and round the loop we walk, hashing and rehashing ways to transport selves from here to where you are.