This afternoon, after nap time, Elbow was having a hearty snack. Cheese and crackers, blueberries and cherries, and a few olives, or as she says it “Ahvuz.” As she was eating, I noticed a mourning dove walking around the deck outside the slider in our kitchen. Elbow loves to see the birdies, so I wheeled her highchair around so she could see it. She said, “duff!” as she continued to put food in her mouth. She watched the bird for a while and then her eyes began to wander.
I had wheeled her highchair into a place where it does not normally sit. She had a new vantage point of the family room. She was taking it in. She discovered a new mirror where she could see Elbow, daddy, and mama. Very exciting stuff. When the novelty of the mirror was gone, here eyes continued to scan the room. All of a sudden her eyes stopped on something at the far end of the family room. She said, “Bug! Highchair! Touch it.” My husband and I looked at each other, looked over at Bug’s highchair leaning against the far wall of the family room, and both of us lost our breath.
The highchair is leaning there against the wall because we can’t do anything else with it. We don’t want to put it away. We can’t. I can’t really explain, but that would be just too difficult. It’s the same reason that Bug’s crib is still right next to Elbow’s. It feels wrong to do anything else.
There have been times when I have wondered if we should move these items, if it is somehow a bad thing that we keep Bug’s things as they were or still in view. The bad thing idea is sprung from what others might think mostly, and I always quickly come to the conclusion that what others think has absolutely nothing to do with what me and my family need. But the moment when my little baby girl recognized her sister’s highchair was a moment that vibrated through everything. My husband and I both felt it. It was beautiful and painful at the same time. Beautiful because my 21-month-old toddler has an unprompted association between an object and her sister who passed away 7 months ago. It doesn’t matter where the association came from. It is beautiful. The source of the pain is obvious, Objects and memories are all we have left. Though I do feel her with me, especially when I need her most, the truth is my baby girl is gone. I am so worried about how this will affect her twin sister. To see Elbow look at Bug’s highchair with a smile and remember her sister is a beautiful moment that I didn’t expect.