Monday, April 4, 2011

Alan Around.

Lily turned two at the end of February and I recently found myself thinking about how her actual birthday celebration didn't break me down emotionally as it might have. And I marveled at how I pulled through it with such joy. And then I remembered a moment during the party in which I did find myself in a bubble - looking out at the families around us - moms and dads doting on their kids - feeding them pizza and cupcakes - snapshots of what the two of us are but also what we might have been.

Had we been three.

It was then as I was kneeling next to Lily, perched at the head of her long long table, that I whispered my gratitude for her in her ear and told her how much she is loved by me and her dad and everyone that was there. It was a fleeting moment but one that the two of us shared.

I am grateful that she is such a happy little person, and that our lives are graced by so many old and new friends and family members. It is beautiful to watch her forge friendships - I love hearing her yell to a friend across a room or playground to come swing with her, to come jump with her - I love to hear her exclaim to her teacher "look at me!!" when she and I are dancing together in a class, or to a neighbor as we gallop down our hallway, to her Tio and Tia as they enter a room or to her Granny when she has something to show her. "Do it!!" she'll say to a friend if she wants them to experience the joy of a party blower, or if she wants you to repeat something you've done that she finds hilarious.

She lives life with the transparency of a two year old.
Confident, shy, ebullient, skeptical.

I hope Alan can see how she's evolving into a little girl. No matter how she and I go about our daily lives together, not an hour goes by that he isn't in my thoughts. In our thoughts, as Lily mentions him too. Often.
I want to ride a bus with Dada.
Dada come to Lily's house.
I wanna go there with Mama and Dada (pointing to a picture of me and Alan in Yankees Stadium).

I never want anyone to forget Alan. In snippets I introduce Lily to him every day. Yet every day as she grows closer to him in knowledge, his physical presence here, is one day further away.

But within the last month I was reminded by two different people - how Alan is remembered. And those moments were the best gifts I could ever receive. One acquaintance who had only mingled with Alan at occasional parties commented to me how she remembered his quiet, ever observational presence, his sweet unassuming demeanor; and a dearer friend mentioned to me that Alan had been on his mind a lot last week and proceeded to reflect on Alan's character in so many nice ways.
Then he launched into his disdain for the overly commercial new Yankee Stadium.
And another friend joined in about the scoreboard crowded with logos, & barely visible scores.
Alan was chiming in from above. Nodding his head.
Spitting out sunflower shells as he did.
I know it.

I heard him. I could see him.

Unexpected, heart-stopping, gifts.
I love to talk and to hear about Alan.
Moments like those help to reassure me that his presence is very much alive.

Yes, he's gone, but he's still here.
And Lily will know him.
Through herself, through me, and through the eyes of others.

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