My daughter’s apartment is one quarter of a large, chalet-style house, nestled into a semi-circle of huge cedar trees. In the summer, every dewy morning hides a treasure in these heady scented branches — dewdrops suspended in spider webs, playful squirrels, bird chatter. The winter doesn’t disappoint either as feather-fingered boughs bend and groan under the weight of a new snowfall. It’s a cozy little paradise that begs you to pause, see, listen and reflect. I spent several chilly mornings last week doing exactly that.
Grandson Nolan is improving steadily, but the process of regulating insulin/sugar levels in one so young is slow and frustrating. He’s still in the hospital, but may be going home today. He’s taken the toe- and finger pricks in stride already, and the several daily injections as well. He’s an amazing little boy who shows such strength and acceptance that the rest of us have no choice but to do the same. His Mom and Dad have been incredible through what must have been some terrifying hours for them, all the while looking down a road that stretches in front of them forever.
I learned many things from little Nolan during the days I spent with him. I learned that a tiny hand offered through a crib railing offers as much comfort to an adult woman as it does to a little boy. I learned that smiles through pain come from tremendous courage that rests in places I’ve never before explored. I learned that a single tear from big, brown eyes can make your heart ache. I learned never to complain again about a ‘bad hair day’ after seeing where golden curls had been shaved to accommodate an IV. I learned about acceptance. Courage. Trust. Love. I was reminded what matters most. What matters at all.
While snow continues to fall on cedars, my grandson will (hopefully) soon be back home. Safe. Warm. Content. Healthy. And if he should look at those beautiful stands of trees, he’ll find a large part of my heart tucked into a snow-quilted branch.
[photo © Erin Bond]