I knew that Avery was going to be my PITA Girl since the day she was born. She somehow learned to become a world-class (for her age bracket) troll by the time she was 6 months old. In the last month, she taught me that she is a fighter.
Reading last month’s Avery update is a strange exercise. The details are familiar and accurate but everything about it feels irrelevant. Avery’s time in the hospital feels like a dividing line between two distinct eras; it reminds me of the way I felt in the days following the September 11th attacks. I knew things were going to change. I just didn’t know how.
Well, four weeks and two surgeries later, Avery has battled back from all of that uncertainty. My father-in-law snapped this picture of the Gravy Boat at play this morning. She was grabbing stuff. Putting stuff in her mouth. She’s looking and moving like the Gravy of old. Last night while she was getting suctioned, she screamed and fought the therapists. I turned away from them to smile with my eyes closed. She’s getting her voice back. She’s getting her strength back.
As you know, it is our tradition to take pictures of the twins in their Mets jerseys every month. Just before we took this picture, a nurse gave Avery a bath. She was wide awake. She was squirming and shouting. When it was time to take the picture, she was sleeping. Kind of. Every so often, she’d open her eyes ever-so-slightly. “C’mon, Avery! Picture time!” I said. She made eye contact then closed her eyes. “She’s sleeping, Phil,” Lynnette said. “Just let her rest.” Of course Lynnette was right. But deep down inside, I couldn’t help but wonder if Avery had returned to her trollish ways. “I know you’re not sleeping,” I whispered to her. Lynnette carefully got Avery’s jersey on. “Lift her up,” I said. I took a few photos. Lynnette implored me to leave her alone. I did. But I wasn’t not going to get my picture. I wasn’t going to let her win.
I have to be honest. I hope she wasn’t sleeping. I hope she was trolling me. Because that would mean she’s one step closer to going home.