Wednesday, May. 25, 2005 | 7:53 p.m.



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Still More Coolness

Stingers

When the chiropractor makes an adjustment that is painful, he says, "That was a stinger," in a somewhat dissonantly cheerful manner. Because he knows it's going to hurt, but he knows that ultimately, he's making an adjustment that hurts for a time, but puts things back to right.

Yesterday, Jeff was going through stuff in the garage. There are boxes out there that were never unpacked after we got home from St. Louis, boxes that were full of the debris we collected while living at the Ronald McDonald House. Mostly, little toys and diaries collected by Jasmine and Gab. Both girls were (are) fond of writing on one or two pages in a diary and then moving on to a new one. I remember that feeling from my own childhood. Once you write in a diary it becomes something different, no longer just a promise, but a record. Even if I didn't think of it in quite that way then, I know now that's what it was for me. And the record felt more weighty than the promise, not quite as mysterious or inviting.

Naturally, we found another one of Jasmine's one-page journals. This was a book of wishes my mom got her the Christmas before her transplant. It's gel-pen-ready black pages are full of prompts for writing, like "My Ten Most Magical Wishes" and "If I could change the world, I would..." Interspersed throughout are little checklists, like the one for house wishes. There are only two pages with any markings. One is titled "My Family Wish List." Underneath the heading, it says: Write family wishes on the lines below. The power of each wish will grow and grow! In carefully printed capital letters, Jasmine wrote, "TO GO HOME SOON." A few pages in, that checklist I mentioned. Jasmine wished to live in a mansion. She wanted a house with a magic garden, a waterfall and hidden passages. She wished to live next door to a movie star. Her mansion should have a special room just for making magic potions. Jasmine wanted a secret getaway that was underwater and she wanted her backyard to look out over the ocean.

I felt her yearning for the sea yesterday as strongly as I did the first day she ever beheld a beach. That day happened in 1999, when we were first told she would need a lung transplant. She was only six. We lived here then, in Arizona. Our doctors sent us to UCLA's medical center for an evaluation and we decided to make a fun trip of it, stopping at Disneyland and staying with my cousins in Huntington Beach. Disneyland was fun, but our first visit to the beach was the real memory of the trip. I will hold forever in my heart the image of Jasmine's slight figure as she ran ahead of us -- and running was not something Jasmine did much at that point -- down the stretch of beach, into the faint haze created by the spray as the waves crashed on the beach. The tide was coming in and Jasmine ran with her arms outstretched, parallel to the water that rushed up to kiss her feet. Jeff and I stared at each other in amazement. It was phenomenal.

For a long time we have known that at least part of Jasmine needs to go to the ocean. We took her to Jamaica intending to leave ashes, but it wasn't right. It was the ocean, but it wasn't the right ocean. And it wasn't time yet. But when I looked into that journal yesterday, I realized the time is right now. Jasmine wants to go home, she wants to go to the ocean. I think we need to take her this summer. I feel sad, but resolved. That moment yesterday was one of those that leave no room for question. And that was a stinger.

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Recent Entries ...
Go Here - Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2006
Short, But Sad Good-bye - Sunday, Oct. 16, 2005
Jasmine's Story ... Our Story - Friday, Sept. 30, 2005
Ache - Thursday, Sept. 29, 2005
Twists & Turns - Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2005

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