Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Her Cranberries

What were you doing 6 years ago tonight? Do you remember? Maybe you were frantically preparing for a Thanksgiving feast? Maybe feeling nostalgic as you watched "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" with your kiddos? Was it cold outside? Maybe you were curled up by a fireplace somewhere, watching snow fall outside your window.

Most days I can hardly remember what I ate for breakfast earlier that morning...but 6 years ago. 
Wow. I can tell you every detail.

Matt and I were living in our house on Danielle Drive with our sweet, sweet Charlotte and our two rowdy pups. It was the eve before Thanksgiving...and boy, did we have a lot to be thankful for that year. A new baby. Successful open heart surgeries. Doctors and nurses who literally saved our little girl's life. Family and friends who rallied behind us and carried us through some very dark days. 
Come to think of it, thankful feels like such a small word.

Six years ago tonight I gave Charlotte a bath and noticed quite quickly that her color seemed a little bit off. I checked her O2 sats, as I did most every night, and watched as the numbers on the digital display jumped all over the place. I hated that damn machine. Tucking my concerns in the back of my brain, I finished getting her into her jams, tamed her crazy hair, and took her downstairs to do some last minute preparations for our trip to Omaha in the morning.

Six years ago I volunteered to bring cranberries to Thanksgiving dinner. I'd never made cranberries. Heck, I didn't even know if I liked them. But what I did like was the thought of replacing the gelatinous canned version on our table with the real deal. It just felt festive.
I remember melting butter in a pot on our glass top range, all the while sneaking glances at Charlotte sitting nearby in her bouncy seat. 

I remember adding the shiny red cranberries to the pot and thinking "I'm just being paranoid."
I remember asking Matt over and over what he thought...but never letting his reassuring words reassure me.

I remember the sound of the berries bursting open as they cooked, and at the same time feeling like I could burst along with them. Sigh. That little girl and her blue tinged lips...
I remember hitting my breaking point, giving Matt instructions on what still needed to be done with my cranberries, and loading Charlotte into the car.

I remember the cold air on my face as I carried my 6 month old into the hospital. 
...The look on the triage nurses face as she saw Charlotte's O2 sats. 
...The relief that washed over her when I told her that those numbers actually weren't all that bad compared to Charlotte's baseline.
...How silly I felt for dragging by child to the ER for what was ultimately deemed the common cold.

I remember it all.

Every Thanksgiving Eve since that night in 2010 I have made "Charlotte's Cranberries," and every year the memories of that night come flooding back. Who knew that something I didn't even know if I would like, would turn into something that I absolutely love.

The holidays are hard, and I often have to remind myself that despite it all we have so much to be thankful for.
Tonight its festive red berries and memories of her.

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