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Sunday Evening

July 11, 2010

Sunday evening. Here I am, recently returned from Connecticut, and feeling contemplative, and happy and sad at once.

Beth was hospitalized again on the 5th of July for slight pneumonia, and she was discharged back to the nursing home again on Wednesday. We had a good visit this weekend but I’m at the part of the cycle again where I’m totally perplexed at how she can be so ill and this can be “the new normal.” Like, we are supposed to be used to it. And I want to acknowledge it to her how much it sucks and how unfair it is because it clearly validates her, but it also makes her upset. It is hard to know what to do, even though she is my sister.

At the end of our visit this weekend I was choked up and chasing Henry down the hall and the staff and patients (and a patient pretending to be staff?) were stopping to talk with him and I was trying not to start crying because I didn’t want to drag anyone else down, but all of this led to me forgetting to tell the nursing staff her requests when I left. Great! As if she weren’t alone enough in there, I messed up, and I only remembered that I forgot many hours later when I was already back in Brooklyn. I am having a bad guilty day.

So to counter that, I’m going to tell you about Henry’s new lamp, of all frivolous things. It’s a round thing I got at Ikea that they are constantly sold out of because . . . well, let me tell you about it and then you will know why it sells out.

It doesn’t shed light like a normal lamp, but instead is this sort of ugly gray orb with spots on it. When it’s not working its magic, it’s hard not to wonder why you bought it. But when it’s hung up and on, it casts crescent moons, stars, and a Saturn-looking planet everywhere. And if it is moving, these things spin all over the room, in a swirl of pastel colors. (Provided that you lower the lights first; it is useless for providing normal illumination.)

I finally got one of these things for Henry a few months ago, and we didn’t put it up in his room before we moved. However, Matthew hung it up this weekend when Henry and I were away.

When we lowered the lights and showed Henry this evening, he yelled WHEEEEEEEEEEE and spun around and around and laughed. I no longer doubted the lamp or the $29.99 I’d spent on it because it was amazing: really, he had what I thought was the perfect reaction.

Except for, a few minutes later, he came up with an even better one. We were goofing around in his room right before bed, having some milk and doing the routine, when he got up and toddled over to a purple planet on the wall, one that was just about at head height, he put his hands flat on the wall, and he hugged the image of Saturn. Hugging is when he puts his cheek gently against something. Then he kissed it. Kissing is when he carefully places his open mouth gently on something.

Then he ran over to a green star and hugged that one. Henry, at this state at least, is the huggiest boy I know. It makes up for a lot. (I don’t mean that it makes up for a lot of shortcomings in Henry. I mean that it makes up for a lot of difficult things in my life.) He hugged another star, a yellow one cast on the quilt. Then we turned off the lamp and I put him in his crib. I gave him his monkey blanket and his elephant blanket. He snugged up with those guys, then he went to sleep.

Good night.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Dad permalink
    July 11, 2010 9:51 pm

    Dear Meredith,
    Your sister loved seeing you and Henry. Beth was very happy today, much more than she has been since returning from the hospital on Wednesday evening. . . .Please don’t feel guilty about anything.

    Sleep well and come back soon.

    Love,
    Dad

  2. April permalink
    July 12, 2010 2:20 am

    Good night honey. You can call the nurses in the morning. Then it’s a mere lapse and not a fail. And then you can take some time for hugs, which you have a fresh supply of and which I am also sending via this comment.

  3. July 12, 2010 7:07 pm

    I really want to say something profound and beautiful about life and love, but I can’t, so instead I will ask you to give Henry a big hug for me and bring up to Ta-koh-nah-nah for a visit soon.

    If there is anything ever that you can think of that I could do for Beth or her husband and kids, or for you, please, please let me know.

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