Sometimes it's difficult to find the right words -- or words that seem adequate to express the myriad of emotions that this experience made me feel. Two months later, I have no better words, so here goes...
As some of you know, a year ago last August my niece Avery (then five years old) received a heart transplant. More than one year later, she is a happy, energetic six-year old, and regular biopsies report zero percent rejection of her new heart. Avery was critically ill for a long time before her transplant, so our family had a lot of time to think seriously about what it would mean for Avery to get a new heart -- not just for us, but for the donor family, whomever they might be.
In August of this year, while vacationing together on Martha's Vineyard, our family was able to personally thank the family of the little boy whose heart now beats in Avery. More than just an opportunity to thank them for making the decision that saved Avery's life (and the lives of several others), it was a chance for us to learn about and celebrate the life of their oldest son, Dalton Lawyer.
Spending time with his parents and three younger brothers was at once, poignant, comfortable, and quite simply, fun. I don't have many opportunities to be around "little boy" energy, which is much different and laid back than the "little girl" energy to which I am accustomed...
From the arcade: you need MORE quarters????
To the beach: closed for E-Coli????
To shopping: where are your shoes???? and, Was that Obama???
To Texas hold 'em: so you're a 6-year old card shark???
To arts & crafts: peace, love & Beadniks!!
To words of wisdom: "I just don't get her sometimes!" (and alas, you never will, Austin!)
...I think it's safe to say a good time was had by all.
Thank you Jim, Jeri, Ty, Miles & Austin. I think of you all, and of Dalton, whom I've never met, and yet feel like I knew, more often than you might imagine.