“Look to this day for it is life, the very life of life.
In it’s brief course lie all the realities and truths of existence;
The joy of growth, the splendor of action, the glory of power.
For yesterday is but a memory, and tomorrow is only a vision,
But today well lived makes every yesterday a memory of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day!”
Ancient Sanskrit Poem
The air had a chill in the mornings and the leaves were turning yellow with tinges of orange. There is nothing like the sweet smell of fall when the deciduous leaves are dying and the evergreens are all the more vibrant. As in the cycle of life, no two autumns are the same; more rain, less rain…. a long Indian summer. My mother taught me to appreciate the change of seasons from the vantage point of our home in Michigan. Apple picking was the sure sign that fall had arrived. I wanted Natalie to experience a full life in spite of diet restrictions and the medical equipment that surrounded her crib.
At the orchard we visited one Saturday in September, Natalie sat beneath the tree inspecting the apples that dwarfed her hands. Even though the fruit sugar they possessed was on her restricted list I allowed her to bite into its juicy meat. She giggled as the sweetness dripped off her chin. I stopped filling my bag to run back to the car where I had left the camera. Natalie’s dad suggested we could get one next year and I acquiesced which was not uncommon. I guess the picture didn’t matter in the end. My mind has a special place that keeps three dimensional memories far more accurate than a picture.
The following week while on a walk in a nearby trailer park, Natalie and I were selecting pine cones for a Christmas wreath. She investigated the sharp points on the plates and even though she was only a week shy of one year old I explained that the seeds to grow another pine tree were nestled inside the pine cone she clutch in her chubby little hand. She looked into my eyes and listened as if she understood.
“Good times” as the kids say now. Natalie’s disease just required a different way of living. I seemed to be able to figure out how to share the world with her in spite of her tedious feeding schedule. With careful planning, glucose and snacks readily available, we could have fun where ever we ventured.
Lesson Learned: Seize the day!