A Moment. And a Few That Followed.(2)

“Mrs. Manni?”

“Yes-Hi, this is Katy.”

“I am calling because I have the results of Emmy’s bloodwork back. Her test came back positive for Williams Syndrome…I know this is difficult news to hear, but maybe we could set up an appointment for you to come in and we can go over Emmy’s next steps.”

(Eyes close. breathe. swallow. lump. tears. tremble. speak.)

“Ok. I think we set a date already…most of us knew this was coming.”

I recently learned that people are drawn to conflict in a story. I’m not so sure it’s just the conflict but maybe the possibility of some sort of redemption.

Nights blurred to days after the phone call and I wasn’t sure what to do with myself or the four littles at my feet, pulling at my fingertips with needs unending.

So we’d go outside.

And I would watch them play, oblivious to the conflict inside of me, the mess of little pieces that fell out when life turned over, the pieces that I was trying to put back together.
Sidewalk chalk and wiffle ball, bug catching and tag and all I could do was watch, jealous at first that they could still laugh. Baffled at their easy distractions until finally-sweet pieces of redemption crept in when I realized that life was still going, still beating. There was still giggling and happiness in the way they plopped down on the concrete, butts covered in pink and purple dust, scratching out hopscotch and their names all swirly and sprawling. They hopped on an off their bikes like they had somewhere important to go, racing up and down our street because someone needed saving or the bad guy was on their tail. They pretended in the middle of harsh truth and they imagined a world that contained mermaids and fairy dust while Mommy tried to keep her head up and her eyes open. I learned to breathe them in and out and their play filled me up with keepsakes called pause and presence.

And tick tock the moments marched on, unaffected by me, by conflict, by heartache, even by joy. So I brought them into focus, the moments, and kept them under the magnifying glass of gratitude, capturing little snapshots in the middle of tailspins. Redemption was creeping in a little at a time, keeping me afloat, drawing me back to joy.

A Moment (1)

She flipped over Emmy’s hand and uncurled her very tiny pinky, looked up at me until my eyes met hers and she spoke. “See this line right here? The one that is crooked? Look at yours. Yours is straight. It’s not crooked.” And I felt like our traveling at light speed journey with all it’s crazy anxiety and facts swirling in my mind-it all came into perfect clarity in one moment. In one second. When I saw that she possessed something other. Something different than what I gave her. Than what her Daddy gave her. The crooked crease that represented so much more. How had I missed it? I had seen everything else, but I missed this. After all, I knew her best.

I traced it with my finger before they began to measure each section of each digit. I traced it so that it was embedded in my mind, accepting that it was there, not going away, that I couldn’t change it. I was acknowledging the “other” and also the fact that she was very much mine. I kissed the top of her head covered in silky black hair, reveling in the softness of it, how much I loved it. I closed my eyes and breathed in the smell of her. I looked back down, opened up her fist again, took in the crooked crease once more. And again. And once more before I let it go. Clarity. For once in the last 7 months. Painful clarity.

They went about their shuffling and procedure and it all went back to blur. The observations being spoken aloud, like jumbly nonsense spoken underwater. And I kept thinking about her pinky. I saw the crooked line even when I closed my eyes. Clear as the button nose on her face, as obvious as the tear I choked back.