From Julian's COTA Journal.
When I was very young, my family lived in Calgary, Alberta.
My memories of Calgary are fragmented, like little clips of video in no particular order. I remember our house and the surrounding neighborhood, the back alleys that connected us to our friends, the Safeway down the street; I remember hikes with mom, past those crazy magpies on the path to the river; I remember sleepovers at Gramma Julia's house, and how she'd walk us to 7-11 the next day to buy us candy; I remember going to the hospital with my sister so we could both have our tonsils out; I remember the car crash where some guy ran a red and t-boned my parents; I remember watching the delivery guys unload my dad's new radial arm saw, and I remember the Christmas when I got my very own hammer – a real one! - and a bag of nails.
But most of all I remember being happy.
I also remember leaving Calgary, when my family relocated to Regina, Saskatchewan. I remember my aunt & uncle taking my sister and I to the Grey Cup parade while my parents loaded up the truck, and I remember my mom pulling up the sign on the lawn before we pulled away. I don't remember the trek from Calgary to Regina (7+ hours!), or our arrival in town, or even seeing our new house for the first time. All I really remember about that night is my sister and I eating apple sauce, using a moving box as an impromptu table, in a dining room otherwise devoid of furnishings; later we rode around on our tricycles in the vast, unfinished basement.
It was December 4th, 1974. I was three and a half.
Actually, I was 3 years, 7 months and 2 days old.
I know – it seems random. It only stands out for me now because today Julian is exactly 3 years, 7 months and 2 days old. And today we received word that Julian's kidney transplant will take place next week, on Tuesday May 20th, 2008.
No small thing.
In the same way my parents started a new chapter in their life, relocating to a new city where they knew literally no-one, I feel like Stacy and I are about to turn a page in our own story. It's one we've been anticipating for a long time, but now that it's here, I can't help but feel nervous. Once that page is turned, we have no idea what to expect.
Everything seems unknown. And that can be unnerving.
Don't get me wrong, Stacy and I know deep down that the course we're on – dialysis, transplant, and subsequent care – is the best one for Julian. But every now and then we have little pangs of doubt – do we really need to do this? Is there any other way? I mean, does he look sick to you?!
Being at the Ronald MacDonald House has actually been encouraging, because several of the families are on the same path we are. One family in particular has a daughter, younger than Julian, who had a kidney transplant a couple months ago. And she's doing great!
Ultimately, we're all in God's hands. Stacy and I feel distinctly that God has led us to Palo Alto, and has brought Cheryl into our lives as well. I'd love to get some of her thoughts here on the blog, because I know this has been a unique journey for her as well. Maybe this weekend...
Anyway, all of this is stirring in my mind because it occurred to me that Julian will probably remember it. Maybe not all of it, and maybe not in chronological order. But I remember what it was like being his age, seeing the world through three-year-old eyes. And if his memory banks are open for business, then what's going on in our lives right now – the dialysis, the hospital, Cheryl and the surgery – will all be indelibly recorded in his little mind.
I'm not even sure why any of this is important, but somehow it seems like it should be.
Maybe because in a new way, Julian is on this journey with us now. He won't remember his stay in the NICU in Denver when he was born, but he'll remember Palo Alto.
Years from now, we'll haul out the archival mass storage device (future-speak for photo album) and flip through the pages. His face will light up as he remembers the cable cars, the 'Donald' house and the beach at Santa Cruz; sourdough at Fisherman's Wharf, coffee at La Baguette, and the waves at Pacifica.
I think – just maybe – this all seems important to me now because it speaks to a future we'll share with Julian once our time in Palo Alto is a distant memory for us all.
I only hope his memories are happy ones.