Monday, January 20, 2003

Hey Henry:

We made it out to St. Michaels. The sun was setting and it is as beautiful as you remember. Here is a photo from inside the "kids" bedroom. You always took the big bed with Jack and/or the cousins in the bunks.

Listen to what is going on inside my mind when we got there. Henry, Henry, Henry, Henry, Henry, Henry, Henry, Henry, Henry, Henry, Henry, Henry, Henry, breathe, Henry, Henry, Henry, Henry, Henry, Henry, Henry, breathe, Henry, Henry, Henry, Henry. There is a new flag pole out here by the dock. See.

I thought it might be fun to raise and lower in the morning and night. But Papa Sy tells me it is a "perma" flag and always flies. It's like the way I am always thinking of you.

When we got there mom peeked into the shops, and I sat in the car with a sleeping Joe and Jack. I sat there and thought about getting ice cream at Justine's, feeding the birds corn kernels down at the Crab Claw, and of course choosing Marbles at the toys store upstairs at Calico Gallery.

Do you remember last summer when we went fishing off the dock at Nana and Papa's house in St. Michaels. You, me, mom, Jack and Papa Sy must have caught at least 5 fish a piece, probably more. I never laughed so hard watching mom get excited when she'd land the fish and when it would flop about on the dock. You were awesome!

We brought Speedy to St. Michaels with us. I thought about the time when you and I left Uncle Peter and Aunt Alice's beach house on our way to Hackensack and saved that turtle. Now that I think of it we did a lot of beach to hospital runs. Whatever. So remember how we were right outside of Bethany and saw the turtle crossing Rt 29 or is it Rt 26. We stopped the car and snatched the turtle right off the road and placed him on the side where he was heading. We both knew that you always put an animal on the side where they are heading or they'll start back across the road. Another life saved. You know that you probably saved some more lives by being in the newspaper, remember that New York Times article with Molly. I know that there were people who realized their kids needed new blood just from reading the article, and there were people who decided they would be donors, like Beverly was for you.

Jack and Nana and I went to Blackwater Wildlife Refuge, which is not too far from St. Michaels. Sorry I never took you. Papa Teddy took me there once when I was a little guy. With Jack and Nana we saw snow geese, great blue herons and a bald eagle. A nice man let us look at the bald eagle through his telescope. Papa Teddy got you a huge telescope for Hannukah so we gave it to Jack, from Papa Teddy, for Jack's birthday. Jack really wanted one of those things I put together for you with pictures from your adventures. The best thing to call it is a photo montage. We did one in Minnesota 2 months ago, but the ones I remember the most were the ones I did for you after we flew to St. Michaels in Uncle Dan's plane and the time you, me and Mom took pictures from the kayak of the ospreys and the swans. Remember how we paddled close to the osprey nest and got just close enough to get the mommy and daddy osprey mad at us but also close enough for great photo. I'll find those and post them. In the meantime here are some photos we took of the birds at Blackwater and Jack's photo montage, which he brought to school for show and tell.

Uncle Dan was here last night. He flew in from St. Louis. When We flew with Uncle Dan and Papa Sy to St. Michaels it took us something like 15 minutes to fly there. And then the man working at the airport drove us to Nana's and Papa's house. You were really into the way you sounded like Henry the Robot when you talked on the headset in the plane. "I am Henry the Robot." I hear you saying it in your robot voice. "I am a robot."

I am transferring all of the video that we took of you over the years to DVD. I am writing as I do it, you are yelling "Dad, dad" to try and get my attention. I see you and I hear you. You are at Shabbat sing and wearing your Old Navy muscle shirt with orange trim. You know I always loved going to Shabbat Sing and I always cried (but you never saw me doing that, did you). There was something about the combination of all of the kids together singing songs that I grew up singing. You have a bruise on your bicep. Sorry.

Wow, that's weird. I am transferring all of our old tapes on to DVDs and I am watching video I took of you and Jack inside the toy store in St. Michaels. The same exact stuff that I took photos of this weekend. There you are eating ice cream at Justines. All I have to say is thank god I was so afraid you were going to die at transplant that I took so much video before we went. I never told you that before, of course. I really wish I had taken more the past 2 years. The whacked thing is that I figured I would wait until you looked "normal," "like yourself" and not puffy from the steroids before I took a lot of video again. Or maybe I just settled in to thinking you'd be around forever so I didn't need to be so aggressive about capturing every minute. I used to throw out photos because I didn't think they "looked like you" with the thinking that I'd start keeping the ones after you went back to looking like Henry. Mom used to ask the doctors all of the time if we could taper down the medicines that made you look so puffed up. And you were more and more uncomfortable with the way you looked. The strangest thing is I never saw you as being really puffy, but looking back at all of the photos we did keep from the last two years I realize that you were bigger than normal. You're still so gosh darn handsome. You look like mommy.

On the drive to St. Michaels, we were listening to the CD that has 3 Billy Goats Gruff on it. When it came on Mom said that you told her you really like this story. You brought home the book and the tape when from Liane's class. And when I talked to Mommy's friend Jane on the phone last week, she reminded me how we played 3 Billy Goats Gruff on the bridge on her family's property (their St. Michaels), called "The Knob." I was the troll and you and Jack were billy goats. She said she thought you guys were really cool.

On the ride back from St. Michaels, late Monday night, we were driving along and I just started crying. I was crying very softly, and I put mommy's hand to my cheek to let her know how I was feeling. And then when I saw that Jack and Joe were both asleep I started to sob out loud. It was like I was sad and the harder I thought about you the harder I cried. We rented a movie the other night called About a Boy. I read the book way back when we were in Minneapolis for your transplant. You'd think a movie with a name like that would make me weep, but it didn't. I really enjoyed it.

Hen, you know how lately you always wanted cold water and insisted it have ice. You totally made me work but I loved making you happy and comfortable. Well, you'd love what happened this week. The weather is so cold outside that our water cooler bottles have frozen. I can't even put them on the water cooler 'cause they are so heavy I think they'll break it. When I get them on top I bet we'll have the coldest water ever. Sorry you missed this. It would have been just the right temperature, but you still would have insisted on the ice.

Suzanne was here the other night. She stopped by to get the manual for the blood pressure machine. She sat with me and mom and we all told great Henry stories. She talked about the time you two went on the date to Cactus. Here is an email that she sent me yesterday.

Hey Allen: It was great to see you guys last night. (I didn't get a ticket on my car!). Anna was just telling me the story of another child yesterday who was really upset about having her port a cath accessed and deaccessed and when Anna put the tool box down she was so excited and begging to have the port de accessed so she could pick her bandaid. All of a sudden everything was all better when the tool box showed up! (She has such a hard time being in the clinic). Jada just said "Henry came to be with her".

So last night I was surfing the TV and I came across a program on the Discovery Health channel that showed a boy getting ready to go in to have his central line placed in his chest. Of course, I should have turned the channel, some might think this is self-punishment, but I knew that it would help me think of you. It would take me back to the many times you were being readied for surgery. And sure enough, this little guy, musta been 4 or 5 years old, starts to cry when they start to take him into the OR, even though his mom was still at his side. That is the normal, acceptable way it should happen, but of course you always went in like a guy without a care in the world. I think one of the saddest moments for me was when I realized you didn't cry any more at clinic when they took your blood. It had become such a regular part of your life that you just accepted it and it didn't really phase you.

Joe is getting to be a big guy. I hope you don't mind him playing with your lightsabre. He is able to make it "extend" with a snap of his wrist. He is the padawan and you are the Jedi master.

And check this out. He doesn't only walk, he climbs. He can make it all the way up the ladder to the top bunk without help. We need to keep a close eye on him. We miss having you help us with him.

I found these pictures from last summer when you played T-ball for Takoma Park little league. When were you sick? This must have been before August. You were such a good hitter. I was always excited when you smacked the ball so hard. You made those games really fun to watch. Thanks.

I love you slugger.


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