Most days, there's an enormous amount of energy spent showing others that I'm okay. I've gotten pretty good at it. So good that sometimes, I am not sure they realize how much I have changed, how different my life is now.
It had been a long day at work, a long night before that. I can feel it when I open my eyes some mornings. Immediately there's a difference. Immediately it's a bad day. Today was like that.
Pulling into the driveway I noticed something in the mailbox. Thick Manila peeking out from in between the hospital bills and dry cleaning coupons. Yes, you still have to pay when your baby doesn't make it. Lovely, huh?
Scanning the package I noticed it was from a high school friend. Not a close friend or a best friend, just a friend. Someone I know. Someone nice.
There was a notebook inside with a familiar face on the cover. Your brother's. A picture that I had taken in our living room had been slightly enlarged. I ran my fingers over the shiny surface. The title read: "Frankisms". I opened it.
There were tears for the first time in weeks as I read them. Pages of them, these things your brother has said since learning to speak. Funny things, sweet things. Crazy toddler musings. Adorable inferences. Significant insight. I recognized all of them from countless status updates and shares. Yes, I'm that parent. The "Frankisms". Little celebrations of innocence and trust. Phrases uttered on holidays and during family dinners, between bath arguments and sidewalk chalkings. Mimicry and wonderment from trusting lips. A fluid document, its last entry from two days ago.
The card said she wanted to make me smile. She had hoped the book could serve as reference on a particularly sad day. Evidence of the happiness in my life, of the love that surrounds me on a daily basis, empty pages filled with potential.I thought of her then. I thought of the time she must have devoted to this gift. Scouring the archives of my profile, careful to include each priceless statement and corresponding date. I thought of her enlarging the picture and laminating the cover, her fingers binding the pages.It is one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever received.
Inside the envelope, there was also a pendant. "Never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly." On the back, the most beautiful letters in sequence. Your name.
I couldn't stop the tears if I had wanted to. I cannot convey how it feels to know that someone had thought of you, someone who didn't have to. I wonder if she knows how good it feels to see your name in print. I wonder if she knows how many never speak it, how many pretend like you didn't happen.
Turns out I was wrong. Today is good. I just needed someone to remind me.