The Zoo, Windmils and Tulips

I woke up today and felt like there was elephant sitting on my chest. Elephant seems too gentle… Make it a tiger that has lived mostly in captivity and you think it’s probably tame but you don’t know.

I took Zoe to the zoo yesterday. Trying to make things as normal as I can. We watched a show in American kestrel, she watched a beaver amble from one cage to another. She learned about what it means to be a keystone species. She raised her hand furiously when they asked what other animals eat bugs shouted out “bats ” as only a child who seen a bat flying around her northern Minnesota cabin says. She made such quick friends on the playground asking someone to be her friend, grabbing their hand and running off with them. She has made such incredible strides. And what I told her quietly that it was time to go, that we had things to do before going to the hospital… It wasn’t a tantrum as it can often be, but a quiet acquiescing.

I track her brother through the CaringBridge like most of you and through my discussions with her father and my brief visits in the evening. My head feels like it’s floating. I try to feel my feet on the ground. I remember when my grandmother was ill and I was in college my favorite professor was so kind to me and she said in times like this you just have to feel your body. Feel yourself in the chair. Feel your feet on the ground.

It makes no sense at all. Your mind tries to wander down all the possible paths that life could take. Right now we are just in crisis mode.

I know you know about my best friend Alicia who died last year. I have another best friend who I met the following year when we were in the 8th grade. She’s phenomenally strong. A single mother of five kids her second eldest child, a daughter, was born with a rare genetic abnormality. Her daughter has exceeded every expectation that the doctors had of her. I remember seeing a video my friend posted of her daughter’s Christmas concert biking down the aisles, waving, truly amazing. My friend just shared with me that the genetic counselors had told her that this child would bring them no joy.

The same friend shared an article with me a few days ago called welcome to Holland. The narrative device goes something like this: you plan to trip to Paris you have all the guidebooks have your itinerary you get on the plane and instead of Paris it drops you off in Holland. It isn’t the place you planned to go. But in time you’ll understand that there are beautiful things about Holland. Windmills. Tulips.

There may be windmills and tulips but I cannot see them from here.


2 responses

  1. How could you see them from here? It’s too soon, too raw, still too disorienting. I read G’s journal entry on Caring Bridge about watching W climb the garage walls to the roof like Spiderman, just 10 days ago. Everything is upside down now. Be in your body, do the ordinary things with Z., even though she knows something big and wrong has happened, but that seems so critically important. I bet it feels impossible to feed the chickens. So glad people are pitching in with meals. Wish I could come by and do all your laundry. A million hugs.

  2. I’ve heard that narrative about planning for Paris and arriving in Holland being applied to infertility. Life is different, but there are still wonderful things to be enjoyed if you do not have children. Having been to Holland briefly, I know that besides windmills and tulips, there are pretty wonderful people there. Kind, hospitable people. Much better reputation for being friendly compared to the Parisians. Trust me on this.

    You are all where you need to be in this crisis mode. Your head is in a bubble and floating around… you will land. Continue doing what you are doing.

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