Last night we drove by Carteret General Hospital where Elliott was born. He had never seen it. I always have mixed emotions when I think of that hospital and Elliott’s brief stay there. There are emotions attached to reliving the longest day of my life. There are emotions attached to understanding more each day the blessing that came from the heroic efforts the doctor and nurses put into saving Elliott. Although I’ll always have appreciation beyond words for the nurses that took care of Elliott in the NICU in Greenville, NC where he was whisked away to by helicopter, I’ll always believe a miracle took place back in Morehead City.
When we drove by and explained to Elliott that this is where he was born, his reaction was not what I expected. I’m not sure why I spend any time predicting Elliott’s responses to anything. It’s begging for failure. But as we pulled away, Elliott said, “hey look, cars are still there.” I let Katie break the news to Elliott that, in spite of what he obviously believed, the hospital didn’t close down after his birth. He must have thought the staff considered him a job well done and have since called it a career.
Our day today has been busy. We went to visit our friend Heather and our goddaughter Mary Addison. Heather recently married a wonderful man and I enjoyed getting to know him and his sons. It was awesome spending time with friends. For Elliott and Ian, it meant a trip to the park and lots of play time. Katie said the boys would call it the highlight of the trip. It might have been up until the visit an hour later to the aquarium.
The highlight of my day was a conversation I had with Elliott walking back from the park. We crossed the main road using a crosswalk. The digital sign in front of us began counting down, keeping us aware of how much time we had to get across the street. We made it with a couple of seconds to spare. Trying to teach Elliott a thing or two about safety, I asked him what would have happened if we had still been on the road when the sign hit zero. He told me without thinking that “we would have been squished.” I considered my safety talk over. His impression was a bit more dramatic than the lesson I had planned, but squished worked.
But it’s never over with Elliott. “Daddy, do you know what the worst thing is about getting squished?” he asked. I have to admit I did not. I couldn’t imagine that squished had more than one layer of disaster. I knew my imagination was about to expand.
“The worst thing about being squished is you don’t get up ever again,” Elliott told me. That was pretty much the definition I had in mind for squished. His definition wasn’t over, however. “When you are squished, you never get to blow up to be as big as your going to be, you just stay flat forever.”
Yes, forever flat would seem to be the worst part about getting squished.
The kids at the park.
Ian proves to be a natural climber.
The Lion Fish we saw at the aquarium. I find it a bit ironic that the sign in the background says beautiful.
The boys outside the aquarium.