– I live here? (Part 2) –
As Chris began opening that door, I asked again, but this time just to myself, “I live here?”
That was the last sentence of my last post about the first time visiting my home while staying in the hospital. That illness called encephalitis affected my memory big time, keeping me from remembering anything about that sweet little apartment my husband, myself, and our two young daughters called home. (1*)
As I felt uncertainty about all that was around me, my husband opened the door. There I was, standing in my home that, to me, felt like the first time. Pretend it was your first time visiting your friend’s new place. You go in, begin looking around, curious at what you see. Even though I had lived there a few years, that is exactly how I felt.
Once inside, one of the first things I noticed was my mom, who was standing in the living room with my two daughters. She held our six-month-old, Trina, as our three-year-old, Cassie, was standing there glued to her Grandma’s leg. I did recognize the girls, since they had visited me a few times in the hospital, but not instantly. After all, that was my first time seeing them outside the home I was used to: the hospital. Sad to say, but having a Mommy-type feeling toward them was still hard to find.
“This is where all four of us live,” Chris said, as he and my mom sensed a cloud of questions floating over my head while looking around. They knew not to overflow me with information about the things I was looking at. Slowly I began asking questions about those things that stood out.
“Who gave this to me?” “How long have we had this?” “Do we use this a lot?” “This is a paper towel, right?”
I’m sure I more than once asked, ‘What is this?’ After all, things like a microwave, rocking chair, or changing table, were things I didn’t recall seeing before.
“It’s time we now go downstairs,” my husband said, finally sensing I was enjoying looking around.
“Oh, cool! More neat stuff to look at,” and down we all went.
“You mean all these clothes are just mine? This shower is a lot bigger than that one at the hospital. I know what those are,” I said with a grin. “Toothbrushes! Is this one mine? It’s yellow, right?”
And now the one thing I can perfectly picture me saying. “So this is where I sleep?” feeling all around while sitting on it. “This bed is huge!”
Remember, I was only familiar with twin-sized beds from both hospitals.
I stayed on my bed most of the time in the hospitals, so of course seeing that bigger bed stood out.
The things I saw that, to this day, stand out the most:
“What are those little boxes? They sort of look funny?” I asked while looking under my bed.
Looking under my bed? Yep. By this point I was having fun looking above and below, inside and out of almost everything.
“I don’t know,” Chris answered. “but they do have a certain look that gives me a clue what they are. Let’s pull them out.”
Chris and my mom must have giggled inside, knowing that was the best time for them to explain what wrapped Christmas gifts were all about. My face must have had the same look of excitement as a little kid who is about to unwrap Christmas presents.
“I wanna see what I got for people,” I said, grinning from ear to ear.
Of course I forget what they were, but I do know I’ll never forget sitting on my huge bed, my three-year-old-daughter, Cassie, who was now a bit more comfortable standing closer to me, hoping she would get to see a gift that was meant for her.
Christmastime, ever since, is very special to me when watching little kids open up gifts. And I believe it’s because I got to experience opening up Christmas presents as a twenty-three-year-old little kid.
Marianne Petersen is a member of Northwest Christian Writers Association and author of a forthcoming memoir about her experience with encephalitis. You can follow Marianne on Twitter at @marimemoirs and read more at her blog, MariMemiors.com.