Picture Day

I got the note about picture day this time — and the boy went to school dressed appropriately.  Now if he just made it through pictures before he pooped in his overalls, they’ll turn out beautiful. 

I can’t believe he’s almost one.  He’s growing out of his 12 month clothes already, too long in the body.  The sky has turned that slightly deeper shade of blue that says “fall is coming.”  The same color it was when he was born last year.  I remember the day we brought him home, wrapped warmly (probably too warmly, looking back) against the crisp chill in the air, the sky bluer than blue against the gold and rust and burgundy leaves.  I was thrilled to go home, to cuddle him against my body without the seeming-constant interruptions of the hospital.  It was still terrifying to carry him — he was SO tiny and I was in constant fear of falling with him in my arms.  Those first few days were a blur of jaundice and pumping to try to bring my milk in and frantic googling about latch and sleep and healing myself.  And I remember carrying him out to sit on the porch, naked but for a diaper and hat, curled in a fuzzy blanket against the breeze, chasing the little patches of filtered sunlight across his skin.  And in those moments, it was calm and quiet and me and him and all I could think was how much I loved him.

Now I’m planning a birthday party, worrying about the etiquette of who to invite while still being able to fit everyone in our house.  Now I have an opinionated and demanding almost-toddler who thrives in crowds and flirts with old ladies and eats guacamole and feeds me cheerios and plays chase and steals tupperware lids from the dishwasher.  He is his own person now, not curled up in my belly kicking me after lunch the way he was this time last year.  But I fall in love with him again every morning just like I did the first time I laid eyes on him.

I was thinking this morning, sometimes people in the middle of treatment, in the middle of those hard decisions, in the middle and the pain and sadness when it looks like there is no way out, we ask ourselves, is it worth it?  Yes.  Yes, a thousand times yes, it is worth it in the end.

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