Today is just one of many trips up the long sidewalk towards the North Tower.
I always tell the kids that this is *our* hospital.
It’s in our blood.
It’s where our family is born.
And it’s where we die.
Decades of poignant personal memories are buried in these hallways.
Holding my hand, Maggie asks if we remember the time we all watched fireworks from the 7th floor window at midnight as 2015 rolled in. She deliberately hops over the sidewalk cracks as we chat. Caleb, who will be five years old in two weeks, is holding my other hand. He’s wearing his muscular Robin costume from Halloween and skipping with the same concentration as his sister. He had surprised me by asking that same question yesterday morning during another trip up that sidewalk. He had been so young at the time!
“Step on a crack, break your mother’s back!” both kids shout suddenly, clueing me into their shared game.
Jack, a few feet ahead, looks back and comments that this is where they all had their very first sleep over – right after being born! That evolves into me relaying silly birth stories for each kid. My straight and narrow eldest son is always embarrassed when I tease that he was born completely naked in front of everyone.
We keep walking. Hand in hand.
I have a memory from when I was 2 years old of walking up a hospital sidewalk to visit Mr. Wilber, a sweet elderly gentleman who played a grandfather role in my life. I was holding my Dad’s hand on the right and my Granny’s hand on the left. I was wearing a frilly spring dress. And white Sunday church shoes.
Will my kids catalog all of their childhood moments as vividly as I always did? I hope not. The human capacity to remember is often nothing more than a rancid curse.
On the slow elevator ride up to the 7th floor, we learn that The Terrace Cafe on the lower level of the North Tower is closed today. The $5.00 guest tray available through room service will be our only dinner option. And I hate that. I was looking forward to the large make-your-own-salad at the Cafe, where you can fill up on all of your favorite toppings for one low price. But alas. Pretty sure The Rolling Stones wrote a terrific song in 1969 just for moments like this.
And then the elevator doors opened and we all stepped off.