Sunday, September 21, 2014


Today was a slow day. It was the day my mom flew back to California after a 10-day stay, her third and final visit since mid-August to help take care of Vivian. Her departure makes me sad, and I also feel some relief and, mixed with that, fear, for we're at the end of our summer trial. We have seen Vivian through halo traction, surgery, and (knock wood) the hardest part of her recovery. Now what? My god, I think, can we do this by ourselves? When Vivian was a baby--my mom was here then, too, and so was my aunt, both of them for months--one of our home nurses said to me, "This is just a season." It was comforting, and I told myself the same thing before we left for Salt Lake City. "This just a season. This is just a season." And now that season is just about over, like how yesterday was summer and today is fall, only you can't feel a difference in the weather.

Vivian had a job for me to do today. I was to repair Teddy, one of two stuffed animals she's had since she was very small. (The other is Bunny. Bunny has been through a lot, including a night in the gutter outside Tacoma's El Guadalajara--who hasn't been there?--and, well, being lost to eternity aboard a Delta Airlines flight to JFK, a tragedy that inspired the ABC series "Lost" and prompted me to rush-order a replacement Bunny, dubbed Sister Bunny, from the organic-plushy makers in rural Vermont from whom our friends Alison and Cady ordered Bunny in the first place.)

Vivian took this photo of Bunny I on Valentine's Day of 2010.
This is before Bunny's overnight in the gutter.
Imagine the "after" shot.

Teddy's life has been more mundane. Teddy was knitted for Vivian by my brother, Matthew, who no longer knits but was once a real pro. Somewhere I have a photo of Vivian receiving Vivian on Christmas morning of 2007 or 2008, but I can't find it right now. Anyway, she received Teddy, and she loved him instantly. He and Bunny come with us wherever we go. So of course they accompanied us to Salt Lake City.

Here they are, all packed and ready to go.

In the image above, you'll notice Teddy's skin graft, but you'll be too polite to mention it. It's ok. He had a hole in his face, and my brother was too busy to repair it, so Teddy went to the only surgeon he could afford (me), and I knitted and purled a square that almost matched his fur, and I threw in a scarf for free.

Poor Teddy, though. Vivian loves him because he's so flat, and she likes to use him as a pillow. Trouble is, for four of the weeks that we were in the hospital, Vivian had pins protruding from her head.

Teddy took a beating.

This left me with the grim task of restoring Teddy to his former glory or, barring that, of making him whole again. I took it on because, well, that's what I do.

Teddy declined anesthesia, but he did bite a bullet.

Knit, purl, knit, purl, sew, sew sew... some more, sew some more...

"The crying only makes it worse, Teddy. Here, have a swig of this."

Knit, purl, knit, purl...

In the end, Teddy took the needle and thread from me and finished the job himself. That is one tough bear. Stoic, too, for the most part.

"I am not an animal!!"

So, yes, it was a quiet day, a day of transitions. Summer is behind us, autumn is ahead, and Teddy has resumed his place under Vivian's head. When you see him, he would appreciate a nod to signal your esteem but nothing more. He leaves the theatrics to Bunny.

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