Sunday, April 5, 2009

T-minus 20 hours...

This may end up being a bit more rambling than I'd like, so I'll start with a cute picture:
Sorry it's a bit small...Erin managed to catch Blaise mid-smile with her cell-phone camera and sent it my way while I was in Denver for a conference. Totally made my morning. more day. We've got a hotel room next door so we can stay here as late as we want tonight and not have to leave tomorrow. Monday is opening day at Fenway Park and we both had visions of getting stuck on the T while a million drunken fans poured onto every subway car. I think my head would actually explode under those circumstances, so the Longwood Inn it is. 

What does today feel like? I guess it's no surprise that it's hard to find the right words. The closest I can come is to try and articulate a feeling I've had many times before, but never so much as today. 

There's an expression they taught us in French class when I was in high school: "L'esprit de l'escalier." We learned (with apologies to our Parisian readership if this is all wrong) that it meant the "Spirit of the Stairwell" and referred to a spirit who whispered to you all the things you should have said in the conversation downstairs while you were on your way upstairs to your bed for the night. Whether it's really a French expression or not, it gets something very right in my mind: Too often we know what we should have said too late.

That doesn't quite describe where I am today, but I think it's related. Many times when I've been facing something big, I have this feeling like I already know I can't say enough to the people around me. It's like there must be some way to talk about the importance of what's happening, but I know I'm not up to it. I can't stand this feeling. I hope my parents don't mind me saying this, but one of the worst cases of it hit me when Mom and Dad dropped me off at MIT for the first time. We had breakfast somewhere in Cambridge, they drove me to the dorm I was living in for the first few weeks, and then we said goodbye. Needless to say, that's a big goodbye, and that whole morning I just couldn't figure out how to make the most of those last few hours we were going to hang out together. I wanted to say something important...something bigger than just saying thank you or telling them I loved them. But what do you say? What's going to capture all that extra stuff without just sounding trite? 

The answer, of course, is that nothing will...I've come to believe that some things are just a bit too big. The morning my parents left, I thanked them and I told them I loved them, and I hoped like hell it was enough. Today and tomorrow morning, I figure I have to do exactly the same thing for Blaise. This feels a lot tougher, though. Part of it is the enormity of what happened the day she was born, part of it is how hopeful and scared we are for tomorrow, and the rest of it is that Blaise is smart, but she's not talking yet! Words aren't really the language we use right now...I know she can tell we love her and that we're proud of her, but I also imagine the Spirit of the Stairwell hits you even harder when you couldn't really count on words in the first place. I wish I could tell her what was coming. I wish she knew how brave and incredible we think she is. I wish she could really know how many of you are out there thinking about her. I promise I've told her...I've told her a hundred times at least. I just hope it came across, and I don't know how I'll know if I've ever said enough.

Sorry if this was long...when I don't know what to say, I sometimes say too much. Thanks to all of you for your kind words and for keeping Blaise in your thoughts. I can't wait to tell you all how things go tomorrow.



Jarasa said...

As magical as language is, sometimes words really can't convey what's in our hearts. But, love transcends words. Blaise knows you love her, because you communicate that to her in every sound you utter, in every soothing touch, in every warm cuddle, in every look and in every smile. She knows, even if you can't find the words and even if she can't yet understand them. She knows because she can feel what's in your hearts without the need for verbal internediaries.

We are keeping you in our thoughts every day, and especially today.

Vanessa said...

Greg and I are thinking about the 3 of you today.

JRS said...

Hi Erin and Ben,

I found out about Blaise via Yuko's blog, and just wanted to add my chorus of support. I've not met you, Ben, but I know your work - and Erin is my academic 'sister' via Jim Morgan... I hope everything goes as well today as can be hoped!

warmest wishes,

Jenny Saffran

Dan said...

Praying now.