Thursday, February 27, 2014

An Earnest Vow

Dear Ellie,

When you were first admitted to the NICU, the three of us were given bracelets to specify that we "belonged to each other."  Every time we came into the NICU, the nurses would check our bracelets to make sure we were ACTUALLY your parents, rather than just baby voyeurs.  That, and you don't want to come into the NICU and weep over the wrong baby, do you?  We noticed that just about all of the other parents didn't have their bracelets on anymore, and since we were not just like all the other parent, we hovered over your isolette and with you as our witness, we earnestly vowed to never take our bracelets off until you came home with us!  Not once!...

So, we weren't really thinking clearly at that moment about how long 4-6 months really is, and if you can somehow remember us making that promise, let me explain the subtext of that vow.  Things got a little bit complicated.  First, its important to consider that those little bands are made of plastic.  Cheap plastic.  After the first week or so it started to shred a little.  Then a lot.  The jagged little shards of plastic began digging into our wrists, rubbing them raw.  And then they started to assume the ever so faint smell of cheese, because water got trapped in odd places and started to grow some intriguing colonies of bacteria/algae/protists.  Mind you, that wasn't enough to make either of us cave in and take them off.  We never once voluntarily took it off.  But, well, fate did for us.

A cheap plastic band is only as strong as its weakest part, and eventually, the little-adjusting-rectangle-thingie rubbed through the tattered-thin-papery-thingie and off it came.  But that wasn't the end.  Your Auntie Danielle took the ID section of the old band and refashioned it into a (very masculine looking!) bracelet.  At last!  A band that would stand the test of time...  for a few more weeks, at least.  I've rediscovered that steel apparently rusts and, when thin enough, warps.  So now my wrist has rusty colored indentations that smell of iron oxide.  

Oh well.  What would be a solemn vow if it didn't involve some element of suffering?         

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