February 2, 2014
Good morning, my little star,
Each day as I make my way down the stairs to the main floor of our home (more times than not with dirty laundry in my arms) I am taken aback by the little blue ball that still sits way up high on the second story above the front door on the ledge under our front feature window. How did it get there? Well, I know that YOU know and I know that it wasn’t deliberately “placed” there as you can only reach that narrow ledge with an extendable ladder. It “ended up” there as a result of a bad shot in the mini sticks hockey shoot-out that occurred regularly (sometimes, daily) on the landing at the top of the staircase to the second story of our house. The place where the space opens up to a high ceiling, few walls, and a white wooden railing that was the only stopper to that little blue ball ending up downstairs on the floor… or, less likely, on the ledge above the door where it still sits. I remember the countless times I asked that you boys take the game downstairs where it didn’t matter where or how the ball was hit; downstairs where I could close the door to the basement so I didn’t have to hear the play by play of each shot and the thunk, thunk, thunk, of feet running up and down the stairs to retrieve that little blue ball.
What I hear in my head now when I see that ball and what I remember more than anything else is the sound of boys giggling with delight at the simple fun of hitting a little blue ball (a ball soft enough that it couldn’t possibly damage anything) with little hockey sticks. It’s quite remarkable how things that used to drive me crazy back then speak to me in such a different way now. How I long for those days where listening to you and your friends, or you and your brothers, just simply laugh because you were having fun. Its true that in between the laughter there were negotiations and arguments on fair play and sometimes stoppage of play because one of you would get hit with the stick and have to rub your hands together while jumping up and down to shake off the pain. I also remember the same repeated question I’d get when I asked you to move the game downstairs… “awe, Mom. Why? We’re not wrecking anything and its “funner” here. The shots are more fun when they can go further.” When I’d respond with a more serious and stern voice that what I needed (wanted) was silence, then and only then, was there compliance.
Seeing that little blue ball now conjures up a different feeling. And with it the yearning that if only I could have those days back, relive those precious moments where the sound of boys laughing and giggling was what really mattered, I’d take them back in a heartbeat. I have no desire to retrieve that little ball from where it now sits because it is a reminder of you and that makes me smile. It took a long time before my tears turned into smiles upon seeing that little ball but somehow even through the tears I knew that I didn’t want to take it down, that in time it would become another sacred memory of you. And now that’s what it is.
From time to time (ok, once) I had to maneuver the long, awkward (and scary) extendible ladder into the house and get my butt up there to dust that ledge. That was a while ago and I’ll need to do it again soon, as the dust seemingly multiplies faster in the places where you can’t reach easily. Once up there I put the little blue ball in the pocket of my sweatshirt while I “swiffered” the dust onto the floor below. Before I carefully placed the ball in the exact same spot where it landed on that mini sticks game day, I cupped both my hands around it and brought it to my face. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and planted a kiss on it as if it were your cheek. That place is now home to that little blue ball. And I’m pretty sure it always will be.
Love you, little blue (hah!). More than a bus on top of a tall, hard to reach ledge.