(continued from "The Story Adam Has Been Waiting For")
"I know where it is, but getting to it will be hard," I tell my mother a few weeks ago. We were standing in my office, closet door open. In the closet were many boxes of various sizes (some quite heavy), carefully stacked. What I was looking for was, of course, in the large box at the very bottom. I didn't know this for certain, but where else could it be? The box, which I knew held elementary and high school memories, just made sense. I offered to wait until Danny (our roomate) or Adam got home to pull it out. But my mom, like always, didn't see any reason to put off the task. She lifted and moved boxes until finally she slid the bottom one out into the middle of the floor. I opened it up, rumaged through, and for a moment I thought it wasn't in there. Man. Where else could it be? But then suddenly I saw a glimpse of the familiar cover - a light purple corner. I cleared the other items aside and pulled out what we had been searching for. It was a hardcover journal that read Precious Moments at the top. On the front were two little children - one boy, one girl, in the Precious Moments art. My mom sat down on the floor next to me as I opened the book.
The first line read "This Book Belongs To Alicia Mellinger". It was dated 12-22-1994.
I turned the pages to find an entry that I remembered from my Uncle Steve (a close friend of my dad's).
"Hey Kiddo! I came to see you today and you were sleeping once again. I even stopped by and got a picture of a snowman painted on my face. Your mom took a picture for you. It's just for you sweetie! If you ever want advise about boys come ask your uncle steve. Dads aren't too good about explaining that sort of stuff (especially yours!). I looked at you 1/2 hour after your operation and you looked as cute as a princess. I know what they are, I married one... I was thinking about you all day long and said special prayers for you. They must have worked, you are looking great and the doctors say all is OK. Now, what can I get you? You already have a special friend in me. How about a dance? I'll bring the music and cider next visit. Take care - I love you. Uncle Steve. And your Dad eats like a pig!"
We continued flipping through the book. I stopped at two entries by my friend Katie and her parents. She and I have been friends since kindergarten. Then I read a short entry by my mom, who kept amazing records throughout the book.
"Hi Alicia. We prayed for you all day today. You are such a special girl that we had to come see you with our own eyes. You'll be happy to know you look very good! (Don't ever worry about putting on any weight, because you'll look great!). We met Dr. Singleton in the hallway and he said the operation was long and difficult, but that you were doing good. Praise the Lord! We are coming back on Christmas day to see you again. We love you. Love, Eric & Joann Forbes (and Colleen)."
"Dear Alicia, I just came from where you were (did I spell that right?)with your dad. Everyone was saying that you look great! Your mom was saying to my mom how your one nurse is assigned only to you. This book is really neat. You left your card at my house so I brought that with me along with a card I forgot to give you. The nurse was just taking your temperature so I left to sign the book. Your Friend, Katie Forbes."
"Daddy read to you four chapters of Charlotte's Web. Got up at 5:00AM left you about 9:00AM. Love, Mom."
A few pages later, another entry by Uncle Steve...
"Hi Honey - I came on Christmas Eve to tell you how much I love you and wish you well. But! You were asleep again. I heard you smiled today. See, I told you you would be OK cookie. I love you and miss you. Have a great Christmas. By the way, your daddy is still ugly as hell but really does love you - don't tell him, though. Uncle Steve - HO-HO-HO."
I continue reading, but start to become a little emotional. It's hard to wrap my head around the idea that the world was going on around me while I lay dorment in my hospital bed. It's also overwhelming to see all the names and entries of people who came to visit. So sad that I don't see or talk to these people as much as I would like to. So thankful for their love, concern and their prayers.
I hand the book off to my mom, who continues to read for a while. I sit next to her, quietly sorting through my tangled thoughts and feelings.
(To be continued...)