Bagpipe music

This afternoon I sat on the living room floor feeding Willow some yougurt. The windows were open and I could hear a neighbor and his daughter in their yard. It sounded like she was practicing karate and trying to break a board or something with her hands, but I’m only guessing. The girl sounded like she was close to being a teenager and the father was impressively calm and patient. He’d say, “A little more this way,” or, “Put your hand there next time,” and she kept saying in an exasperated voice, “It doesn’t matter,” and “So what?? I don’t care,” and “SIGH, yeah Dad, whatever.” I looked at Willow and wondered if she’d ever be so sassy to her dad.

John was sitting in a chair near us and I could also hear the scritching of his charcoal pencil on paper as he sketched. I could hear our windchimes. Well, what’s left of them since they’re ceramic and share a home with Sophie and Nate and several balls. Then I heard bagpipes. The first time we heard them the kids and I were outside. We all listened. I thought at first they were coming from the nearby jr high school, maybe someone practicing in the field or something. Then I figured that the somber and mournful song must be coming from the cemetery a little further down the street. Today they played a song that sounds like Amazing Grace but isn’t. I’ve heard it lots of times; I think it’s traditional. It was sweet and sad, to have all these sounds of life around me and hear that. I don’t really know how to explain it, but I was reminded to feel grateful for this life and my loved ones and to feel for the family and friends standing and grieving in the hot sun so close to us.

It’s been an odd few days. Willow had her EEG. I sat and watched her breathing irregularly in her drug-induced sleep with dozens and dozens of brightly colored wires sticking out from her head. She did fine, and she is fine and I think she is nearly done with all the testing and visits. Being back in the hospital was eerie. I feel so relieved that she isn’t seriously ill and part of me feels guilty because so many kids there are. It’s almost like gloating. There was an obituary in the paper on Easter for a young man who died of cystic fibrosis. He was 22, and looked like he could have been Willow’s brother; handsome and blonde, with blue eyes. I read it and thought how different our path would have been if she did have cystic fibrosis. And I am so so glad she does not.

On Saturday we were driving to pick up Nate from a party and this man nearly drove smack into us. It would have been a horrific crash and it’s good that John was driving and not me. It was really close. Then as we were leaving the party, Lexy jumped out of the van as I was buckling the girls into their seats because he wanted to go back to the house for a drink. He went across the street without even looking and almost was hit by a car. Again, it was such a close call. Five or so seconds of difference could have ended up with him dying. When we finally made it home we decided to stay there for the rest of the day! My mom and my brother came by to see the kids for a little bit. I am grateful for my family and for this life.

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