“Auld Lang Syne” means something like “Days Gone By.” It’s certainly an appropriate phrase for a New Year’s song and also apt for Blaise’s birthday.
I think about Blaise being a short-gut kid a lot – I worry about her weight, I fret when she gets sick, I see the scars on her belly every day. Still, two years later, it’s thankfully a very different set of concerns than it was on New Year’s Eve 2008. It’s hard to return to the events of that night (and the following morning) but I also find it hard not to as her birthday approaches.
Moving to a new city makes it a little different: There are places in Boston and Cambridge that have a weight associated with them that no place here does (and that I hope no place here acquires). Still, there are little things…when Blaise was admitted to the hospital in Fargo for IV fluids overnight, carolers came and sang to her in her room and a nurse brought her a donated toy as a present. Even though we were heading home in a few hours, both Erin and I found both of these things remarkably tough to deal with. The nice things people did for us always had a way of getting to us the most. I could usually deal with singing to Blaise during bag changes and other not-fun things, but when some friends came by to give us an envelope full of donations they’d collected for us, I was a total wreck afterwards. Having people at Sanford do these things for us didn’t have quite the same impact, but echoes of things that happened before can take you back.
Letting myself remember B’s first New Year’s Day can be difficult, but today I find that it also makes it easy for me to see and appreciate the accumulation of happy developments over two years. When Blaise was born, I was struck later by just how rapidly our lives changed profoundly – this is always true with a new child, I suppose, but the maelstrom of activity surrounding Blaise’s birth meant that hour-by-hour our lives looked completely different. Today, even following a move to North Dakota, the tempo of our lives is so much steadier. There aren’t numbers that we hang our hopes on every day. The changes we talk about after she’s in bed are things like the books she likes, the phrases she comes up with, and the things that she thinks are funny.
There are other indicators of how far B’s come: Around this time last year, rice mum-mums were the main food of choice because they barely had any ingredients…this year, we know Blaise would rather eat Saag Paneer than pretty much anything else. Walking wasn’t on the horizon for another few months on New Year's Eve 2009…this year, Blaise does a vigorous happy dance in place before she tears off to chase after me, Erin, or her favorite stuffed friends. As for language, Blaise chatters away to us all day about all kinds of interesting and funny stuff she sees going on. These things sometimes make it difficult to believe that Blaise’s life began the way it did, but never so difficult to believe that we forget.
This all means that this New Year’s Eve, I still find myself thinking about days gone by and remembering how tough they were. But, I’m also thinking about days to come and how much fun they’ll be.
I’m going to close by giving you all a version of the same pitch we gave you last year: Blaise’s first birthday present was donated blood. Anybody can save a life. Please give blood if you can.
A happy and safe new year to all of you, and as always, thanks for reading!