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Do you remember when you were a kid, the first time you were told to “grow up” and it sounded like the person saying it actually meant it?

I do, the memory comes back every now and then. It has no set schedule like the coming and goings of the tides or seems to have any rhyme or reason for popping itself back into my head. One minute, I’m sitting there all calm, cool and collected and the next thing you know, I’m flashing back way too many years and recalling an event that on the face of it, seems so insignificant and trivial that it amazes me that it still resides inside my brain. I’m sure, that as the years have gone by, I’ve forgotten many much more important things that helped carve me into what I am. I guess that’s just one of the many strange things that makes life what it is.

I was probably about eleven years old or so and a fresh carpet of snow had fallen and turned the cement from the dull gray it was into a bright white carpet that didn’t seem to make any noise whatsoever when you walked on it. Since I was practically raised as an only child, there were no other siblings around and I had to pretty much fend for myself when it came to entertainment.

As kid, I loved football. I loved the thought of scoring the winning touchdown or making the game saving tackle. My hero’s at the time had names like Joe Namath and Dick Butkus. I’d watch my beloved New York Giants with a passion that bordered on obsession and could name just about every player, their position and their stats with the drop of a dime. Every Sunday, it was a ritual for me and my dad to go to the bar and watch maybe half of the game and come home to a Sunday dinner that my mom had prepared. Sometimes, even though the Giants sucked and were expected to lose, my father would take the loss exceptionally hard. Maybe he had money on the game or something but if he did, he never told me about it and I never found out. I think it was more his love for the team that disgusted him when they played like shit. I mean Christ, my mom would cook a huge Sunday dinner and the house would be smelling all good and stuff and if the Giants lost a heartbreaker, he’d say he was sick to his stomach and couldn’t eat.

In retrospect, as the years went by, the heartbreakers seem to come more and more with an alarming frequency. It got to the point where I started to dread these times but since I was a loyal soldier and still not quite so jaded, I felt it was my job to put the positive spin on things. I wasn’t aware of it at the time though, I thought it was just something that kids did. You know, the old “Things will be better next week, you’ll see” kinda stuff.

Anyway, about six inches of snow had fallen and I was out in my backyard, football in hand and playing this imaginary game. I’d throw the ball to myself, make this great diving catch and acknowledge the cheers that existed only in my head. I’d run and dart and weave my way through a stream of would be tacklers and leave them in my wake. I’d dive for an imaginary goal line that nobody else could see and score that winning touchdown just as the clock ran out. When I was out there, I was my own hero, if only for a little while and if only to myself.

I don’t know how long I was doing it. Maybe a half hour or and hour or so when my back window popped open. My dad stuck his head out and said something to the effect of…

“Cut it out, you look like some kinda idiot” and shut the window behind him.

Well, if there was anything that could let the air out my tires or take the wind out of my sails any faster than that, I don’t know of it. I tucked my ball under my arms and headed back to the house. To say I was dejected couldn’t begin to tell the whole story.

We still watched football together but it was never quite the same. Oh, we’d rejoice in victory and shed tears in defeat but something along the way had changed. Maybe it was the way we looked at each other. See, we didn’t talk much outside of the world of sports and they seemed to be the one thing that we were able to share without getting on each others nerves.

Maybe I grew up just a little bit too much that day.

But then again, maybe not enough. After all, I still got a bit of kid that lives inside me that still shines every now and then.

He says with a smile…

Math Campbell makes a perfect example of bad Linux advocacy, though he didn't refer to Linux specifically.

In yesterday's edition of The Register, Lucy Sherrif published Campbell's letter1 demanding that John Leyden goes "back to your crack den, agent of Satan!" And all for pointing out that Internet Explorer gained some ground over Mozilla Firefox.2

I'm interested in both of these writeups because they affirm two things:

  • It doesn't matter what computer you use, or what applications you use, or what operating system you use. You negate any uniqueness the moment you connect to the ultra-common Internet.
  • Flamers like Campbell don't do any good to the Linux, GNU or Open Source communities.

For the record, I'm not so much pro-Microsoft as I am anti-idiot.

  1. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/08/16/fotw_1608/
  2. http://www.theregister.co.uk/2005/08/15/firefox_share_drops/

Oh no oh no oh no. We've been through this.

Another terrorist attack in sunny Israel, another brainwashed religious whackjob doing his god's work by murdering innocent civilians - and wouldn't you know it: It's another Jewish terrorist from the occupied West Bank.

These f***ers are hacking our moral higher ground to bits. If we don't fight them as fiercely as we fight Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, we might as well give it up now.

The terrorist du jour, 40-year-old Asher Weissgan from the settlement of Shvut Rachel, worked as a driver - regularly driving Palestinians to work in the bigger settlement of Shiloh. Today he got out of the car at the entrance gate, took the security guard's gun at knifepoint, and shot the two workers in his car. These were people he had been driving to work every day for a good while. People who knew him by name. People who dared to work in a Jewish settlement despite being pressured not to by most of their society.

This is all wrong. We're not supposed to be the terrorists; Isn't that what the Palestinians are here for? We're supposed to be the Good Guys who have to put up with Evil Suicide Bombers, right? RIGHT?

The terrorist then went into the settlement and shot around some more, killing another Palestinian worker and seriously injuring others. He was eventually captured and is now being questioned by the police (though I honestly think he deserved to be lynched like the last one). Another worker has since died of his injury, making the total death toll four.

We're finally doing something right (getting the heck out of Gaza). Naturally, some people have a problem with that. Some of them will stop at nothing to force their insanity on the entire Middle East (religious whackjobs are funny that way). But if Asher Weissgan isn't hanged right now (a wonderful opportunity to reinstate the death penalty in this country), this will happen again. The Palestinian reaction, which is being courageously suppressed at the moment, will be devastating - and justified.


(Or, The Story Of The Last Five Years Of My Life As Told To Mostly Strangers)

Let me start out by saying this: I make a lot of money. I'm not trying to be egotistical here, I'm just stating a simple fact. My job tends to pay a good amount, because it's hard to find folks with that perfect mix of hardware and software knowledge (and curiosity) that working on embedded computers requires; and on top of that, I know I make a bit more than the typical engineer with my experience in my field, because I work for an excellent small company that treats employees like actual people instead of resources.

And yet, we are always short on cash.

After I graduated from college, I started working for the place I do now, and loved it. I was reeling in the dough, still living with my parents, setting aside a bit for savings but mostly spending it on fancy computer equipment and other high-priced toys for myself. When my wife proposed to me (yeah, that's the kind of person she is) I realized we would need a place to live, and I didn't want to rent, so I went off house-hunting. I finally found a little place in Aurora that was charming, if a bit of a fixer-upper. I saved up for the down payment and bought the place.

Back during the big tech bubble, I thought our company was impervious: after all, our work primarily dealt with hardware, not these ridiculous Internet startups with more vaporware than sense. I hadn't realized that our main customers were in the telecommunications industry, and you all know what happened there. Our work dried up so fast we got whiplash, and I still remember the haunting e-mail telling us all that we were going to have a company meeting and that attendance was mandatory. Now, attendance had never been mandatory for a meeting before, so I knew something had to be up -- maybe salary cuts across the board or something like that. I wasn't expecting layoffs of the entire company save for a skeleton crew.

And so, for one year, I was unemployed, though it certainly wasn't for lack of trying to find a job. I took several contract jobs, made a debacle of a website (see "biting off more than you can chew"), did some Visual Basic work for a family friend, to pay the mortgage. Meanwhile, food, gasoline, and other bills went on the credit cards, which had a ludicrously low APR and ludicrously huge limit due to my previous lifestyle of purchasing a bunch and paying the whole balance down each month. My wife and I got married, which gave us some cash to get by and gifts to furnish the house. We had a determined resolve that things would look up eventually, and then we could get back on track and pay down that accumulated debt. My wife got a mediocre job doing promotional materials for a slave-driver of a boss in an office that probably violated every OSHA standard on the books... but it was money, and that's what was important.

But through it all, we made some costly mistakes. We stubbornly maintained the lifestyle I had when I was employed, confident that we could pay it all down as soon as things got back on track. We did not cancel satellite telvision, nor the mobile phones. We still shopped at Dominick's instead of Aldi. I bought a laptop for my wife with the excuse that it would make her work easier. We got a Playstation 2 and a Gamecube for each other as presents. We brought in two boarders, friends of ours, who moved in with the express purpose of helping us pay things down -- finding out shortly afterward that they too were unemployed, in the IT field, and lazily avoiding looking for jobs of any sort. And I, being the soft heart I was at the time, stuck my head into the sand, figuring they were just down on their luck like we were and would eventually pay us the months of rent we were owed, not to mention the cost of the food we had to buy. The credit balance grew larger and larger as time went on.

Things did get back on track: my boss called me, exactly one year to the day after the layoffs, saying she had a project she'd like me to work on, and that she'd hire me back on at the same pay level I was at before. In early 2002, this was virtually unheard of given the job market. I lept at the chance, and started receiving paychecks again. Eventually my wife quit the job for the psycho boss, and got a much better job in the city, doing stuff she loved to do and getting paid a great salary for it. Now we were making far more than we needed, and significant chunks of our debt were being paid down.

Except that my wife and her new boss didn't get along well at all; she called him on bad management decisions and generally made her opinion known to the company. He grew angry that she was not putting forty-five to fifty hours a week in on a regular basis, and eventually terminated her. Now we were back to just my salary, except that there was this additional credit card payment on top of the other bills. Around that same time, my wife was diagnosed as bipolar. Being fired from the job she loved so much destroyed her self-esteem to the point where she could not hold down another job. I'm not the most stable person either, and when either of us is depressed, what's the first thing we do? Buy stuff to cheer us up. Not huge things, usually, but small things, $10 or $20 at a time, maybe a new CD or DVD. Things that seem innocuous but add up terrifyingly quickly.

Over the course of the intervening time, I have gotten several raises. We have refinanced the house twice. And we have completely maxed out our credit. Amazingly, both of our credit scores are still on the very high side of "Fair", or the low side of "Good", for throughout all of this I have not missed payments. But there is no safety net there anymore, no "overdraft protection transfer" to kick in if we make mistakes now. I suppose that's what scares me the most.

No, what scares me the most is that it happened so gradually, so easily. It's so much like an addiction, because you don't realize how your spending habits creep up on you until you suddenly look back and say "how the hell did that happen?" If you think you're good with money, don't be so sure until some adversity hits you and you're suddenly faced with the prospect of altering those habits that have been etched into you like the way water carves stone. It's far, far harder than you might think. And I suppose that's why I'm writing this long-winded, angsty daylog: as a warning to anybody else who thinks they're on top of the world and can handle anything life throws at you.

Even with all I've written here, I'm still a stubborn jackass. We still have satellite television, two cars, and a cellphone. I still don't shop at Aldi, although I've been trying to go to Jewel-Osco more often since their prices are a bit lower. I still feel the urge to go on a spending jag now and then, even adding items to online shopping carts despite knowing there's no way to pay for it. Change is hard, and we are trying our damnedest to remake ourselves into people who are thriftier, more deliberate, and less materialistic (all things I thought I was until I had that plastic card with its enormous limit in my hands).

Some Tips to Help Avoid What I'm Going Through

Cut up every credit card you have. Do it now. If you're really squeamish, stick them in a drawer somewhere where you won't have immediate access to them.

Close the credit card accounts, if you've memorized your number and don't think you can trust yourself with online purchases. If you have a balance on any card, set up a debt reduction plan and stick with it. Obviously, everyone says to pay more than the minimum or it'll take forever to pay things off; however, it's often very beneficial to pay as much as possible toward your highest-interest card first while paying just slightly more than the minimum on the other cards.

Don't pay anything with plastic of any kind. Instead, withdraw spending cash when you are paid and use that. Humans have an aversion to handing over those physical bills and coins, as opposed to deducting some intangible number from another intangible number. If you make an online purchase, take the equivalent amount of that spending cash and deposit it back into the account first.

Balance your checkbooks with a pillow, e.g. pretend you have $500 less than you actually do. This is another psychological thing, as you'll strive to keep that recorded balance above zero subconsciously even if you know there's actually more in there. (My mother actually maintains a $2000 pillow! Shame I didn't inherit my money sense from her...)

If your living situation changes, act as though the change is permanent. If you are laid off, do not assume you'll find a new job right away. Bite the bullet and cancel luxuries to fit your new situation. The sooner you get rid of it (cable/broadband/mobile phone/etc.), the less you will get used to it and fall into the false sense of security that putting it on credit can give you.

And remember: there is no such thing as a small purchase. Ten $6 cappucinos bought over the course of two weeks may seem like nothing compared to one $60 DVD box set, but it's all the same to your wallet.

Heck yeah, this is preachy. I don't want others to fall into this trap, and I especially don't want folks to say "haw haw, that idiot, he got what he deserved for spending so much". Yes, we are entirely to blame for the situation we're in right now, but the point is that I was one of those people.

You are not as infallible as you might think.

I was having my hair cut today and I noticed Angie slipping the clippers inside my ears.


"Do I have hair in my ears?"

"You sure do."

I sagged visibly in the barber chair. Ears aren't supposed to be hairy, their supposed to be bright, pink and peachy. Sure King Kong has some hair in his ears, but given his overall level of hairiness a few peepers ought to be no big deal. But I'm not a great ape, I'm a single man with hairy ears.

I've seen men with hair in their ears before. They were old, all of them the sort of guy you see sitting in boxers, a sleeveless t-shirt and gartered socks while reading the sports page. Hair in your ears isn't a sign of maturity, it's a sign of impending farthood, a sign i need to burn my Sleater-Kinney CDs and put on some Lawrence Welk. A sign that I'll soon be doing vodka and Geritol on a Friday night with the boys, that I'll be treating myself to ex-lax sundaes.

The worst part is this migration of hair downward to my ears has been accompanied by a decline of the hair on my head. I am in no ways bald, but my 'receding hairline' has been accompanied by a noticeable thinning. It's like these nice, dark hairs were headed for my scalp and took a wrong turn at the medulla. It's like they just couldn't get it up there any more.

Women sag too, and they sag in well-documented ways that are generally much more distressing to them than to the men who love them. Perhaps this is male sag, the slow displacement of hair downward to places where hair does not belong. Has Nicole Kidman ever been seen with a man with hairy ears? Not a chance, and while my odds of seducing here are slightly less than that of winning the lottery my self-image demands the continued delusion that There Is Hope.

But now hope fades, for the hair has gone to my ears.

I have a few thoughts about the nature of daylogs, and I'd like to share them. I know noding about noding is pretty tired as a concept, but please bear with me for a moment or two. Thanks in advance.

I've caught myself thinking about the daylog section of E2 as a "ghetto", but it's dawned on me that I'm in the company of regulars like glindsey and borgo. All I can say is that if the daylogs are a ghetto, I have some of the finest neighbors I could ever imagine.

I think that Raising the Bar at E2 has, on the whole, been a burr under the saddles of most noders, and I mean that in a good sense. It's spurred a lot of folks to contribute writeups that will be solid and lasting, particularly some of the factuals that blend well-researched topics with personal anecdotes and experiences.

The only drawback I've seen to Raising the Bar is that some subjective stories that are compelling enough to have a rightful place in the larger nodegel have been relegated to the daylog section of the site.

Then again, I think of writers like iceowl and riverrun who have managed to lift personal experiences from their own lives and make them worthy of the front page. I'm inspired by their talent and discipline, because it allows anecdotes and subjective tales - which are what drew me to E2 in the first place - a home in the greater part of E2. Iceowl, riverrun, radlab0, icicle, prole, and so many, many others are people to emulate when writing about the tiny, priceless jewels that string together to make up our lives.

But for most of us, daylogs are and probably always will be a repository for Our Stories. As much as I appreciate blogs and live journals, daylogs are infinitely precious to me. They are home to many of the people I am most fond of, and they are a place where opinion and personal anecdotes can roam free.

It's my hope that dayloggers will feel less marginalized in the coming months and years in the life of E2, because their contributions make up the heartbeat and blood of this site. They are reminders of our shared humanity, community, and experiences.

Sometimes it's a little bit frustrating to write a daylog that details a very momentous event and be forced to place it under a string of dates and numbers, but in a way I am glad for that restriction. It allows for the people who read and love daylogs to act as pearl divers, to daily submerge themselves in the honest and naked emotions that reside in this little niche.

Sometimes I also wish that daylogs didn't require their writers to post them as hidden writeups. When I give it a little more thought, though, I realize that the hiddenness adds to the overall feel that daylogs require a treasure hunt, a game of hide and seek for grownups.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled daylog.

Last night my mom and I drove up to my sister's house. Elizabeth's home is situated on a piece of property that overlooks the Snake River and the property on its bank where my parents make their own home.

The house is on a hill just tall enough to take in the entire Treasure Valley. On clear nights you can see the lights of Boise over sixtry miles away. The view from her back deck is something amazing. The river looks like a blueprint of a quiet corner of Eden, and the sere beauty of the hills that surround the house makes you feel as though you're in the middle of true wilderness. Come to think of it, you sort of are.

Her husband George had the house designed with a healthy portion of enormous picture windows, all of which open the house to truly breathtaking views. (One of the prettiest vistas is most accessible if you're sitting on the toilet off the master bedroom. If you leave the door open you can see the entire hillside and the sparkle of the Snake River far below. One of Elizabeth's friends calls it The Crapper With A View.)

Sometimes my sister wakes up to a perfectly framed picture of a herd of deer serenely munching her lawn, a family of skunks trundling across the gravel drive, or an enormous covey of quail and their chicks scurrying along the dirt road that leads to their doorstep. A few times the neighbors' cows have made bids for freedom and wound up distracted by the temptingly lush grass that surrounds Bit and George's house.

It's the kind of grass your feet sink into gratefully, a lawn that's perfectly tailored to the pudgy toes of children.

It took George a long time between building his house and landscaping the immense yard. The first two yeears they lived there, Elizabeth's constant request was for grass, for flower beds, for green, and the piles of dirt mounded outside of her kitchen door bothered her no end. George finally got around to it during the months that Elizabeth was pregnant with her triplets. They were anticipating three sets of little pink, fat feet, and George wanted them to have a lawn to play on.

When Elizabeth lost her babies, George made sure to keep the lawn and flowers growing. The landscaping was a silent promise to Elizabeth (and probably himself) that he would not let death climb in the picture windows, that their home would always be surrounded by growing things, things that both promise and deliver life.

Elizabeth is pregnant again. She wasn't supposed to be able to do that, was told by doctor after doctor that the only way she'd ever be able to conceive was through test tubes, glass dishes, sterile labs.

It's been two years since three of the five embryos the doctors placed in her womb took root, grew, and slipped out of my baby sister and away from us all. Those doctors should never have tried five at a time, should never have forced my sister to deal with the unthinkable choice of "culling" a multiple pregnancy. She was given the option of a selective abortion as soon as their three heartbeats, faint and strong as the beat of hummingbird wings, were detected by ultrasound.

She couldn't do it. She'd waited so long for those babies, loved them instantly. She couldn't choose to let go of just one, not while they all slept their dreamless sleep inside of her.

We found out later that in most fertility clinics triplets are considered a failure. Implanted embryos, however many are introduced, grow at a normal rate, unlike natural multiples. Natural sets of twins and triplets are smaller, more manageable, less of a strain on the body of the mother.

Sometimes I wish that the doctors would have been firmer about the necessity of selective abortion, told Elizabeth the risks, allowed her a better chance to let go of one to save the others. That might have saved her the crushing anguish of delivering those three babies - all alive, just a few weeks too small, too fragile to breathe on their own for more than a few precious minutes.

Elizabeth says that her choice would have been the same, though, and I believe her. She's a risk-taker at heart, and she loved all three of her babies on sight.

So Mom and I have a nightly ritual of visiting Elizabeth and her baby up on the hill. We take a short evening walk with the four dogs - an obese and haughty chihuahua, a genial if hard-of-hearing black pug, and two miniature dachsunds.

The dachsunds, Rascal and Daisy, are sisters, littermates. They're getting on in age, but on walks they are fearless, indomitable. Rascal in particular is a Chaser of Beasties More Wee Than Herself. She defends us all from the menace of rockchucks, cottontails and badgers, occasionally (and disastrously) spooking the odd skunk. She's been known to tear after startled deer. We always wonder what she's do if she managed to catch a doe.

We walk and we compare our days, share our thoughts, try to solve the solveable problems and vent about the unsolveable ones. The sunsets here are spectacular, so sometimes we walk in silence. Sometimes silence is all you can manage in the wildly colored wake of the sun.

We walk a leisurely half-mile, up the gentle grade that takes us higher than the homestead. The river is smaller from up there, and at that time of day it is usually draped with pink and orange streamers of reflected sunset.

Always we come home to the back deck. We sit quietly and allow the evening to arrange itself around us like the soft folds of a velvet cape. Lately a mama cat has made her home beneath the front deck, and each evening she anxiously and watchfully leads her three tottering puffballs out onto the lawn. We keep an eye out for hawks and wandering dogs. We sit near her and are very still so that the kittens wobble their way over to us, curious and new and downy. We know Mama-cat is nervous - she chirrups and mews over her brood - but she allows us to touch her babies anyway, to hold them in the palms of our hands. I think she understands that we mean them no harm.

We name the kittens. The creamsicle-orange one we dub Hector. The white one with the siamese points is Fluffernutter. The light-colored calico, dappled with greys and soft browns, we name Khaki. We sit on the grass and marvel at how tiny and perfect they are.

Foxes are active tonight, and when we settle back into our seats on the deck we listen to their eerie yips and tinny howls. Their cries sound far more human, more like the voices of children, than the mournful howls of coyotes. Elizabeth says the mother foxes are calling their wandering kits to come home. Their language is chilling and urgent, high and wild: Back to the den; come, my little ones; it is warm and safe here at home.

We watch the stars until the Milky Way surprises up yet again with its outrageous and immodest beauty, and then there are millions too many to count, and we are glad for it, for the bright familiarity of the constellations.

We wish on shooting stars, and our wish is always the same: Please let this baby live. Please let Lucy make it home.

When we refer to the baby, it is always by her name: Lucy Grace. She is solider that way, more real. Lucy for my mother; grace for what Elizabeth was given to conceive. This is a child of grace, a gift, and we are holding our breath for her arrival.

God, breathes Elizabeth, and it's half prayer and half exclamation. If only Lucy bakes just a little longer.

Halloween, my mother replies by way of answer. If she makes it to Halloween, she'll be okay.

All of us notice a falling star simultaneously; all of us make our silent collective wish.

Halloween is our incantation, our touchstone. Halloween has always been my favorite holiday, but these days it's informed by so much more than the promise of candy and mischief.

Elizabeth is exactly at six months now, and if she did have a premature delivery, Halloween would be the most ideal date for an unwanted occurence. Technically Lucy will be viable in less than a month, but we all hope for a full nine.

I hate that word, Elizabeth sometimes says, "Viable". In the hospital they kept telling me that the triplets would have been "viable" if I'd held on to them for another two weeks.

Sometimes when she talks about those first three babies I can hear the self-blame in her voice: she feels that she should have "held on to" those babies just a little longer, that somehow it's her fault. It isn't rational, but how much guilt really is?

I always remind her that there was nothing she could have done, nothing that would have prevented those babies from coming too soon, and she sometimes looks at me as though she understands that. Most of the time she doesn't look at me at all.

These days there's an optimistic feel tempered with dabs of anxiety. Because I live with my mother I know how much she fears another miscarriage, but she does her best to be strong for Elizabeth. Some nights more than others Elizabeth needs us to reassure her, needs to hear the litany of "it'll be all rights" and "don't worry yourselfs". It's most important that these confident half-promises come from my mother, I think because Elizabeth knows that she herself was once safe inside of Mom and that Mom understands all the leaping joys and crushing doubts that attend pregnancy.

I am not having children of my own. I decided this a long time ago, and I've been surprised at how personally I've been taking Elizabeth's pregnancy. I dream about babies a lot, dreams that are both profoundly unsettling and oddly familiar, strange and comforting.

In my dreams they are always my own babies, always infants, and always able to talk. Sometimes they babble, these dream-babies, managing only a few words through the organic static of baby-talk. Other times they speak full sentences, adult thoughts conveyed in clear and high baby voices. Often they tell me what I want to hear, what I need to hear: Lucy will be okay. She will make her way to Elizabeth's hungry arms. She will survive.

Elizabeth loves to pull up her t-shirt and feel the breeze on her ripening belly. It seems she's getting bigger every day. She's one of those women that likes being pregnant; she never really had morning sickness and she enjoys the alien yet familiar feeling of Lucy rolling and kicking inside of her.

I laugh at the comical sight of her round, white belly gleaming in the moonlight, and Elizabeth pretends to shoot me the stink eye. I ask if Lucy's moving around tonight, and she is; I cross the deck and tentatively place my hand on the lowest part of my sister's belly and am thrilled when I feel a barely discernable yet insistent kick. It gives me a tight anticipatory feeling inside my chest.

I imagine Lucy Grace whole and laughing and solid, tripping across the summer lawn, her toes curling around the blades of grass, her feet tickled by the green carpet. I imagine her picking a bouquet of flowers to bring to her mama. I silently will her to grow, to be healthy, to come into our lives and stay. I silently remind her that she is welcome here.

I count and hoard these moments, the seconds where Lucy makes herself known, tells me herself what I most need to believe.

Yes, I'm in here; yes, I live. Yes, I am coming soon.

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