"I am going to find a way to pay you back."
Stephanie said to me when I visited with her last week.
I tried to communicate how much she already has paid me back. How much my life has changed dramatically in such a way that can't always be processed. Because of this situation I've met some incredible human beings. Been given words, gifts and food daily by strangers and friends. Gave me a chance to have a household of lovely children. Grew closer to my family. My husband. My God.
(Someday I intend to tell her the story of how the world changed while she was sleeping. I'm satisfied with posts, e-mails and hand written cards as evidence. Otherwise, how could she believe what blessings were born from a fatal plane crash?)
"How about you move to Utah, be my neighbor and we'll help eachother raise our children?"
Today The Chief played side-by-side with Ollie in the girl's closet. Now that my talented child can sit up (big boy!) I take advantage of my ability to prop him somewhere while I change the laundry from washer to dryer. (Laundry!) Today they were playing with large plastic insects, metal cars and the zipper on Claire's backpack.
The Chief--bless his heart--has no idea that he's actually an only child. In his lifetime he has known these sisters who use him for the baby fish when they play ocean, or call him "coconut head" on account of his perfectly shaped noggin. Gigs has to be restrained from devouring the baby which he can proudly call by name. Then there is Ollie who can make The Chief laugh (chuckle derived from the gut) like no other specimen. We missed hearing that bellow while Ollie was out-of-town. The Chief gets very delirious around the children (and sometimes over-stimulated, yes) and lonely when they are off to their daily goings on.
And in the spring, Lucy will add another baby to the mix child stew.
So here we are, and here we will be.
Stephanie will be moving to rehab soon. She will learn to use her muscles again. We aren't sure how long she'll be a patient in a new hospital, but we're planning on her recovery continuing in Utah. She wants to come home to a new life with her husband and her children. The mountains have always given her dual strength. Her body climbs them, her spirit cherishes them. And we, her family, her mother, her loyal Y mountain can't wait for her to come.
I think Steph liked my neighborly offer because after I suggested it she quickly turned her head towards mine and decidedly nodded.