On the corner of Western Avenue and Birch Street, two dainty toddlers ruffled through vibrantly woven Easter baskets. A dawdling waterfall of sunlight beamed through the bay window, casting a gilded aura around their disheveled nests of Sunday-morning hair.
With contrasting hand strength, they each shook plastic eggs for clues to their contents and sorted accordingly — singular tumbling items signaled confectionary treats, airy silence correlated with dollar bills, and jangling vibrations equated to coins. (Careful attention was afforded to the latter, as a smattering of coins could tragically be mistaken for a lousy bunch of jelly beans.) The two girls sat in the limelight of the living room, nestled inside the tiny green house like an artichoke shrouds its beloved inner heart.
As tots, Easter was a song of jubilation for my big sister and me. Our outfits were adorned in ribbons, pinstripes, or lace accompanied by colorful designs of baby animals — bunnies with short bows between long ears or ducks with embellishments that out-ruffled their own feathers.
Knee-ankle-foot orthotics were a trusted accessory that served as the final touch to my ensemble. They swathed the fancy tights which clung to my twiglike lower legs. Since enervated crawling was my preferred mode of transportation, the areas around my knees usually grew tattered and dirty by day’s end.
In the caravan of my mother’s arms, I hunted eggs along the sprawling church grounds. After a few years, I was able to seek them in my power wheelchair, but still required a companion. Once spotted, I had no way of retrieving the pastel treasures lying betwixt jade blades of grass. As other kids darted from egg to egg with the exuberance of Easter’s pink-nosed mascot, I was the turtle that balanced festivity with calm and perspective.
We never knew what the weather would have in store for us, but Easter was the gateway to warmer days and the emergence of fond memories. The comfort of all Sundays allowed us to vigilantly discern triumphs from grievances, and bask in the light of a delicious new dawn.
Like most events in my life, I showed up for the fellowship and stayed for the food.
My grandma Mary often talked about how Sundays had one purpose, and that purpose was for family. Sundays were meant for gathering in small houses overflowing with love from within. Sundays were meant for broasted chicken splashed with savory gravy, potato pancakes relished with bright applesauce, dollops of sour cream, and summer’s sweetest corn cobs dripping of golden butter.
On Sundays, our stomachs peacefully protested against dessert, but our eyes had saved just enough room. No dessert served by my grandma was complete without a coffee cup filled to the brim with reminiscence of the old days. And with all of that food and love and cheer bottling inside the belly of such a small house, it was best to crack a window.
When my mind wanders in springtime, it feasts on the nostalgic comfort of Easter and Sundays, and the fortunate freedom of wondering what comes next.
In an unraveling buffet of the senses, it’s the curiosity of skipping stones into a graceful river. It’s the sunlight meandering through tangled bramble and twisted tree limbs. It’s the stagnant water beginning to stir with anticipation and waking energy of rejuvenation.
Rejuvenation isn’t about relinquishing the old, but nourishing the thirst for adding something new. It’s about cultivating the garden from humble buds of Sundays into blossoming petals of celebration and impermanence. It’s about adding more and more pebbles along the shoreline of one’s life. With openheartedness, rejuvenation pulls a compass from its pocket and proclaims, “What does tomorrow hold for me?”
Through breathing each day, I relish new adventures and keep close to my heart the comforts of way back when. Simple truths of good flavor, joviality, high spirits, and yawns of contentment. I have faith in the palatable bits of time which season the spread of each day. I find warmth through cracks of light that craft outward ambition from inner reflection.
The granted gift of comforting memories is a beautiful privilege for any human to cradle within the palm of their hand. Navigating the library hallways of my mind, I climb the rolling ladder in retrieval of Sunday recollections — vignettes of adaptive summer adventures, scrumptious menus of many-coursed gatherings, and portraits of love I can trace with my fingertips.
It’s a gift my SMA cannot take from me. Instead, we receive it together, arm in arm, like old friends who’ve grown through bickering, compromise, empathy, and gratitude. We accept the opulent outfits accessorized with leg braces, we move at our own pace in search of treasure, and we embrace the individuality of it.
After all, nobody else’s archive of Sundays is quite like ours.
Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today, or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.
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