We got a notice in the mail about a week ago that said our community yard sale is scheduled for April 28. Happy birthday to me! I've been waiting for the yard sale... I need a reason to clean out a lot of.. ahem... stuff. The attic, while good at hiding years of boxes, is starting to become impassable. Though I can think of better ways to spend my 33rd birthday, the opportunity to purge years of quasi-hoarding habits comes in about 14th.
I think we're finally ready to part with those old college textbooks that we spent so much money on and swore we'd use once we got "real jobs," but haven't cracked open since 2000. And dang, those things are heavy to tote around (Rochester to Syracuse to Binghamton to Durham to Raleigh to WF... is that possible? 6 moves?).
It is time to get rid of old kitchen dishes and gadgets... the ones with small chips, the mismatched sets of silverware, and the pots and pans we were given when we each still had our own apartments.
The purge feels good. It sure is a lot of work to go through this many boxes, and breath this much dust. I've enjoyed the past couple of evenings, going through boxes that are labeled as "Nancy Drew books" and actually contain dozens of balls of yard and unfinished crocheted blankets. I never know what I am going to find.
I was churning happily through boxes, organizing things into "keep," "sell," and "garbage" piles, going through an aptly named 'Hats' drawer on Sunday... perusing our collection of Old Navy infant baseball caps and hand knit winter hats when I came upon two things that stopped me in my tracks.
The ducky Pez dispenser is the most appropriate, widely recognizable Easter item I could use to demonstrate the size of these matching baby caps.
These are the hats that Will and Luke wore together during their first Easter, back in 2007 when they were still in the UNC NICU. They wore matching green outfits and these hats when we re-introduced them to each other, after being separated at birth and put in their own cribs... because they were too critical of patients to be in the crib together.
When you're pregnant with twins, all you can imagine is them growing up together. The tightest of relationships. Never apart. But for us, because Will and Luke arrived 11 weeks early, those ideas of togetherness weren't possible. We spent the first 4 weeks of their lives frightened and confused... and asking ourselves so many times: why is this happening?
Easter was on April 8 that year, 4 weeks to the day from our babies being born. Will and Luke had their first shunts placed on April 4. Within 4 days of their surgery, Will was completely off of oxygen and they were both stable. On Easter Sunday, we were allowed to dress them, and have them lay together for the first time since before they were born. It didn't matter that they slept the whole time, or that when the magic moment was over, they went back to their own cribs. What mattered is that at that moment, there was no longer a need to ask why. They were together, as we had always dreamed they would be. Hello brother!
For some people, it is a smell or a song that takes them back to a moment in time. For me, it is small items and photographs. I suppose that is why I scrapbook. These feelings and moments are so real and so important to remember. Finding these hats was a tangible reminder of how small these guys were... how those caps covered up huge post-surgical scars of their heads... and how on Easter Sunday 5 years ago, we finally found a moment of peace.
With the time that has passed, the fear of whether Will and Luke would survive has disappeared. The fear that Luke would need a repeat heart surgery is gone. The fear that Will will never learn to swallow and chew has been negated. That fear of the unknown... that all encompassing time when we didn't know which way was up and questioned everything about the path that had been chosen for us and our little boys... is gone.
What we have now is the happy memories of the day they were finally reunited. The day they wore green hats the size of baseballs and slept to the soothing sounds of NICU alarms and feeding pumps. The memory of the day that still stops me in my tracks.