A lot has happened since my last DisneyLand post, and I plan to write DisneyLand Part II ASAP, but needed to get this one out there first.
Of course this letter is five days late. The 35th month letter should have been written on the Fourth of July, but instead I opted to run errands, buy us squirt guns and play outside in our inflatable pool. In fact, I haven’t even uploaded pictures from that day onto my computer yet. Pretty much everything since June 29th is an absolute blur.
I was planning on spending that Friday unpacking our bags from California and organizing my loot from the library conference. I prepped things early in the morning to be ready-to-go while you napped in the afternoon. And at around 10:30am I hoped to leave the house to go to Uncle Bert and Aunt Kristen’s house to swim. I made the mistake of telling you we were going to go do that at about 9am..and then at 9:08 am I got a phone call from my brother that Grandpa was in the hospital and had a heart attack. I think my reaction was, “you’re kidding,” when he told me. It was followed with expletives. It was pretty serious from what I could understand, so I knew I had to go. I grabbed what clean clothes I could, texted your daddy and held back sobs as I got ready to drive three hours to see my dad. We didn’t know anything other than he had been life flighted, the heart attack happened at the hospital, and “it was significant.”
As I frantically tried to gather things and keep my cool, not knowing much information, a million thoughts crossed my mind. The ones relating to you made my heart ache because I was just thinking about how much you would miss if he didn’t make it through this heart attack. You would miss his tickles. My dad has the best tickle attacks, the ones that borderline on pain but tears come out from laughter. I thought about how the first thing you say to my dad is, “Grandpa. Let’s run and laugh.” And I wondered if he would be able to do that again. I wondered how I would explain to you that he couldn’t do that anymore. But it was impossible to picture. I’m sure it was the shock part of my reaction to it all. Your grandpa is in better physical shape than your dad or I. He eats right, exercises and takes care of himself. These are all things that we’ve been told from a very young age, that will prevent things like heart attacks and strokes, diabetes and COPD. And yet, it happened to the man who I thought would sooner get struck by lightning on the golf course, or hit by a truck while out for a jog. Just like that, poof, down for the count.
Your daddy came home and I left and I’m certain I cussed some more right in front of you. You were incredibly sad because you didn’t want me to leave. Plus, I’d promised you swimming and fun that day, and clearly I couldn’t deliver on that promise. I’m sorry Simon. But your hugs before I left helped a lot. A lot.
I was glad I didn’t bring you with me to the hospital, because you wouldn’t have understood what happened, and because I wouldn’t want you to understand yet, anyways. You are too filled with happiness and light and dreams that I never want you to contemplate loss like I had to that day. At least, not for a long long time.
Grandpa is feeling much better, and I’m sure you didn’t even notice this past weekend when we were at Grandpa’s house, and you two hid under the giant oak desk in his office (Pirate Hideout) and he slipped you chocolates while no one paid attention. You had no idea he was tired at all, when you waltzed into his bathroom while he changed clothes and asked him “Do you have a shirt like this?” so he and you could be wearing matching outfits. (He did, and you matched.) And then when you got to go out and play on a newly outfitted and cleaned-up swing set and club house, I know you had no idea that a week prior to that moment, while you sat eating animal crackers in an old wooden club house with your grandpa, that I was wondering how I would explain to you that Grandpa wasn’t around anymore. I’m certain you only remember all the fun stuff about this weekend (and it was filled with fun stuff). I know this because you ask me to tell you stories about things that have already happened before bed. You pick the happiest moments of your day or weekend and ask me to “tell you a story about a boy named Simon plays baseball with Uncle Randa, Uncle Eric, Landry, Grandpa, Grandma and mommy and daddy….” and “Tell you a story about going to Uncle Eric’s and playing with Landry in her blue pool.” You remember details about things, telling me the colors of toys you played with and bikes you rode on. As much as I miss telling you creative stories about ladybugs and pirates, I love that you can take the best moments of a day, and want to re-remember them all over again. There is something so wise and beautiful about that.
Tonight when I came home from work you were in your bed and you looked at me and said, “Hi mommy, want to read books?” And I said “yes” even though it was 9:45 and I had greek takeout sitting on the counter downstairs that I would’ve liked to devour that instant. And we read the “little” version of Peter Pan, then told stories about the weekend. Then you snuggled against me and I said, “I love you soooo much, Simon. You know that?” And you just nodded at me and said, “Happy.”
You have no idea, child, how happy you make me. None. You are some of the glue that keeps our family laughing and imagining things all over again like we did when we were little. I am just so thrilled with the person you’re becoming.
I’m sorry that this post is mostly not about you. But I felt that it was important to put some of it down, to remember.
And now I will sign off, only to plan for your upcoming birthday party- Pirates and Peter Pan of course. I couldn’t be more excited. I love you with all of my heart.