Our family traveled to Bryce Canyon in August with the hope that we’d “see some stars.” Once the sun went down, we stood at Paria View (which we had all to ourselves) and gasped at the sheer numbers that were visible from that vantage point. The Milky Way sprawled directly over our heads across the entire sky. I was in tearful awe.
When I commented on how beautiful the Milky Way was to behold with the naked eye, Abby turned to me and asked, “Where?” I casually pointed to the bright white sheet that covered a significant portion of visible space.
“I don’t see it! Where is it?”
I pointed again and explained that the entire spectacle was the Milky Way. As we continued to smile at the sight, Abby grew mildly frustrated. “Over there? I don’t see it! Where is it?” She could not shake the idea that we were referring to a fixed point, or some specific star, and was jealous of our enthusiasm for having “found it” while she still searched. She good-naturedly began to laugh with the rest of us, though, as each of us proposed an alternative method for helping her understand that we were talking about the whole thing—to no avail.
Finally, I pulled Abby into my arms, took her little hand in mine, placed my cheek against hers, and drew her pointing hand all the way across the length of the visible Milky Way. “All of that?” she asked.
“Yes, Abby, all of it. That entire white cloud is actually billions of stars!” Abby smiled contentedly as she finally saw the glory of what had always been there. I wondered, then, what glories I remain blind to. Perhaps in years to come, I’ll sense the gentle arms of the Lord around me, and a still, small voice that simply whispers, “All of it.”
Responding to a comment Abby made about dying, I initiated a discussion about death at the dinner table. As a sort of pre-assessment to determine where the girls stood on the subject, I asked, “Abby, what happens to you when you die?”
She looked up from her plate, put her hand to her right ear, and calmly stated, “My ear gets fixed.”
My mouth opened to provide additional insight, but I couldn’t think of anything. I learn a lot from Jane and Abby every day.
The lingering effects of Abigail growing up on Charlie & Lola include her persistent British pronunciation of the words “can,” “can’t,” and “there.” I cahnt say I don’t enjoy it.
I recently read an article in the Deseret News about cytomegalovirus that reminded me how blessed we are.
Brain damage, deafness and other birth defects are among potential problems… Studies suggest early treatment with anti-viral medicine may limit hearing loss and may benefit the child’s development, too.
Abby participated in those very early experimental studies, and has provided data to be able to support the use of early anti-viral treatment for other children. Utah just so happens to be the only state that requires screening for CMV following a failed hearing test, and there were knowledgeable people residing in Utah at the time of Abby’s birth who had studied cases all over the world and were considered leading experts. It’s truly a miracle that all of this was available to us right when we needed it.
Abby’s hearing in her opposite ear and her eyesight all check out just fine. I know that not everyone has been so fortunate, and my heart goes out to those families whose life trials have included extreme complications with a variety of diseases and ailments. There will come a day when all such burdens are taken away and all bodies are refreshed and restored. Our family has been overwhelmingly blessed through these mortal years, but we are most grateful for the eternal promises that are offered to every family that follows the Savior. Through thick and thin, we will always try to side with Him.
Jane and Abigail make friends with just about anyone. Even imaginary friends.
- Feeties – My feet are often hugged and “tucked into bed.” They don’t say much, but they do occasionally reach over and tickle Jane and yell “Hurray!” at the dinner table when she finishes all of her food. Jane often talks gently to them, and they nod their toes in response. I don’t really remember how this all came to be, but Jane has been friends with Feeties since the beginning.
- Snake – When Jane bonks her head or scrapes an elbow, she’ll often call for Snake. My arm, again without any words, will come and listen to explicit instructions about how to comfort Jane and where the problem area is. He’ll then immediately move to the opposite area and begin treating her. I have to explain again that it is her knee that got bumped, not her elbow. Snake will then proceed to caress her opposite knee. “No, Snake—I’m sorry Jane, I don’t understand what his problem is—Snake! Jane is hurt! It’s the other knee! …………not my knee, Snake.” Jane is often laughing within a minute.
- Joey & Charlie – If it’s a cut or sore throat (or something else that will take a while to resolve), we call for Joey & Charlie. Joey & Charlie are cells in Jane’s body that speak in a Brooklyn accent. They consult with Jane to determine where the problems are, and then Joey will ask Charlie to grab his tool bag, tell Jane they’re on their way, and encourage her to get lots of rest so it’s not too bumpy while they’re working on fixing her up. Jane feels a lot better when Joey & Charlie are on the job.
- Lighter – When Lily has to run into a store, and the kids and I are waiting outside, we usually receive a visit from Lighter, the friendly face in our car. He often sings “Popcorn Popping” with the girls, and will even wink a light from time to time. Lighter likes nothing more than a delicious snack of girls’ sunglasses!
- Pretend Cousin Dragon – Though not her only “pretend cousin,” Pretend Cousin Dragon is probably the most amazing of the lot. Judging by Jane’s descriptions, Pretend Cousin Dragon knows just about everything. She can fly, many of the things that bother Jane don’t bother her, she knows how to do many of the things that we don’t, and she has a car with a rocking chair and an oven built in. And she’s pink. We haven’t heard from Pretend Cousin Dragon in quite some time. I’ll have to ask Abby if she’s seen her.
- Giraffe, Hippo, Dr. Nevets, Mookie, Witch, etc. – We have a slight puppet infestation in our home. And all have distinct voices and personalities, much to the delight of our whole family. If you get a chance to hear it, Lily’s witch cackle is not to be missed.
I look forward to meeting some of the friends Abigail will likely introduce us to, as well as enjoying the company of some of these old-time pals for years to come.