THE SENSATION OF RAINDROPS ON YOUR HEAD.
When Abby was trached, she was not able to get her head wet very often because of the fear that it would go into her stoma, then her lungs. After she was decannulated (and a few times when she wasn’t), she experienced so much joy from the simple feeling of rain on her head. She always said that it tickled and would giggle like crazy.
THE WIND AGAINST YOUR FACE AS YOU SWING
Hands down, Abby’s favorite thing to do was swing. She could be pushed for hours at a time. It was never high enough or fast enough to suit her. I can still hear her call out, “Higher, Mommy! Higher! Higher! Higher!” Just a few days before her death, Abby asked to go outside to swing. She hadn’t been outside for over a month, and the simple act of sitting in her beloved swing, in the fresh air and with the sun on her face was amazing to her.
APPRECIATE THE NATURAL WORLD
Oh, how Abby loved flowers. The color (especially if they were purple), the smell, the anticipation of checking a bud every day to see if it was opening yet. The phrase “Stop and smell the flowers” really is true.
Enjoy the natural world around you. Watch a single bloom over the course of days. Feel the smooth skin of a frog. Squish mud between your toes. Watch a lightning show. They all hold wonder and amazement that, as adults we don’t take the time to appreciate nearly as often as we should. Abby did all this and so much more.
THE WONDER OF THE NIGHT SKY
When was the last time you took a few minutes to look at the stars, the moon, on a day that wasn’t talked about on the news? The same sky we see every night? Many of our trips home from the hospital were after dark. Most of that drive, Abby would stare at the stars and the moon and she would get so upset if it was cloudy and she couldn’t see them. No matter how badly she felt when we arrived home, she always wanted me to hold her for a few moments while we just looked at the night sky and talked about how far away outer space is.
Abby’s illness taught me many things as a parent. In the scheme of things, a lot of what we consider important is not. Put down the cell phones. If your child wants you to go outside instead of doing the dishes, do it. The dishes can be done tomorrow. If your little girl dressed herself and wants to go out wearing the craziest combination of clothes ever, let her. Who cares what people think. Your girls want you to splash in muddy puddles with them? Do it. Clothes come clean, but you will always remember the sound of their laughter and the joy on their faces. Go camping. Ride roller coasters. Play hopscotch. Spin in a chair until you’re dizzy. Make as many memories as you can. You never know what the future has in store for you or those you love. Take advantage of every single minute you have with them