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Posts Tagged ‘The Secret Garden’

On Sunday, the 10th anniversary of 911, my dad and I drove down to visit Jonah.

Ten years ago, September 11th was a Tuesday.  I worked part time for St. Francis de Sales Church and I was pregnant with Boo.  I had just started feeling him move around inside me – a tiny, timid mouse nibbling at my insides.  Wow.  I’d been so excited the day I learned I was pregnant – June 14th, 2001.

Then, just 3 months later, September 11th.  As I learned of one catastrophe after the next, everything went into slow motion.  All action ground to a halt.   Like everyone else, I was in shock.  I felt grief and anger, terror and outrage.  I felt the eerie silence of the skies when all commercial planes were grounded.  And when planes did begin to fly again, nobody could look at them without remembering 911.

What shitty timing we have, bringing a baby into this brave new world of terror & fear, I thought.

As it turned out, growing a baby inside me and taking care of that teeny baby gave me hope again.  Of course, after 911, things were never the same.  But I’d hold Jonah in my arms and wish a mother’s wish:  maybe he’ll be the one to change the world.

On the drive down to visit him yesterday, I asked my father all about politics and presidents.  My dad’s a history buff and I like listening to his perspective, especially about things and people who made history happen before I was born.   My dad’s got quite the objective viewpoint, lending his ear to Bill O’ Reilly and Michael Moore alike before forming an opinion.  So I listened, and we talked, and it rained, and I thought oh shit, we’re not going to even be able to take Jonah to the playground – but we were lucky.  It stopped raining and by the time we got to the school, the ground was dry.  At first Jonah backed off, but then walked toward us, asking car ride?  I told him we were going to the playground instead.

He was a good boy, little Boo.  He and my dad (Jonah calls him Pa) went on the swings.

Already, Jonah has a favorite swing and goes to it every time.

Jonah laughed and sailed through the air, asking mama push?

I pushed him and pushed him.  On and on he sailed on his chosen swing.  Back home he was never all that interested in swings.  I watched him and wondered why, and I pushed him, and he let Pa push him, and I pushed him some more until it felt like a workout (which is lame, I know).  Then we walked up to the visitor’s center, where we gave yummy grapes and contraband black soda to a joyful Jonah.

Oh yeah!

In Francis Hodgson Burnett’s book The Secret Garden, wise Susan Sowerby says, “the two worst things that can happen to a child are to always get what he wants, or to never get it.”   So he gets his black soda once in a while.

After our impromptu picnic we walked down to the pond and back up to the swings.  “Who’s that?” I asked Jonah, pointing to my dad.

“Pa,” he said in his small, sweet voice, smiling.  He was good, little Boo, if a little hesitant.  We brought him back to the visitor’s center where he used the potty like a pro, and back again to his beloved friend, Swing.  But eventually it was time to go.  I prayed he’d let us go without a care, which I knew was a longshot at best.  Of course Jonah panicked.  Home? he cried.  Home?

I told him daddy was coming later (he was, thank God) and both my dad and I kissed him goodbye,  but when a care worker started to guide him toward the house, he bolted after me and clung to my side, wailing.  Twice more we got him back to his house and twice more he squirmed away, running fast after us, now openly crying.  Oh, sweetheart, I told him.  It’s okay.  Snack is soon, and daddy’s coming.

Finally he was inside his house, and my father and I walked away faster, not looking back.  Faster.

I’m grateful my dad let me weep and feel sorry for myself for as long as I needed.  He took a slower route home – hurting more than I know he let on.

I spent the rest of the night unpacking and putting clothes away in a sad daze, and when I fell asleep I had foggy, uncomfortable dreams.

This morning I wanted to turn over and go back to sleep, but I knew I couldn’t.  If you lose a Monday in my job, it makes Tuesday ridiculously hard. 

Mid-morning my cell phone rang; it was the nurse at Jonah’s school.  She told me Jonah was okay, but he was taken by ambulance to the hospital because he had a bump on his head and then he threw up, and they wanted to make sure he didn’t have a head injury.  Then, not 15 minutes later, she calls again to tell me he’s being transferred to a larger hospital in Poughkeepsie.  At this point I really started to worry.  I’m glad they were over-cautious but the two-hospital gig was unnerving.

Andy went to see him and turns out he was okay – they think he maybe had an allergic reaction to mosquito bites.  (He did have 4 or 5 bites on his forehead when I visited him with my dad).  They brought him back to his house and he rested for a while.

So for a few hours today I was trying not to panic, but inside I was terrified.  Heart through the wringer, two days in a row.

When I called his house around 8pm to see how the rest of his day was, they assured me he was fine.  He played on his scooter, ate well, and went to bed just a little early.  I called Andy and my mom to relay this latest news.

Now I’m sitting in a rocking chair and half-watching All in the Family as I type.  I’m breathing deep, in and out, smiling over at cat Almanzo on his scratching-post perch:

His paws make a heart when he puts them together, sweet thing…

…and dog Jack is hanging out looking cute:

M and I are both typing.  I’m thinking of Boo, grateful he is okay.

There are boxes and bags everywhere, but we’re ignoring that because we feel like it.  I’m exhausted and I’m writing like it.  I’d like a day where not much of anything happens.

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