On my index finger, I’m wearing a tarnished, golden smiley-face ring. It’s dented a bit, and it’s too small, but I like to wear it sometimes anyway, because for such an insubstantial ring, it’s heavy with memory.
I like to call it my $67,000 ring.
It was given to Avery by a troupe of clowns in the waiting area of Seattle Children’s Hospital. The clowns made all the children laugh (the parents, too) and I remember thinking how priceless laughter, or even a simple smile, was in these circumstances.
The ring carries other significance, too: the fact that it was a smiley-face reminded me of an essay I wrote about how, so often, when I’d tell other mothers one of my children has Down syndrome, I’d get a blank stare, what I called the “smiley-face” response.
The ring became our talisman–the nurse removed it from Avery’s finger before they took him away from us, and I put it on my pinky finger, so as not to lose it, but at some point I began thinking that as long as I had the ring on my finger, everything would be okay. I wore it for a long time–after we were released, after we stayed in Hotel Deca, after we drove home, which is how it got so tarnished. I wore it as I washed away all the gummy residue from the electrodes; I wore it as I changed Avery’s bandages.
And now. It reminds me of the power of joy, and how little things can become so important, in a crisis. Which is why there is a new badge here at Pinwheels–it’s an easy way to support The Art of Elysium , a very worthy organization that brings art to kids in hospitals. To help, click on the badge. All it costs is about 5 minutes of your time.
Plus! Today is the first day of a brand new season, which is why there’s a new look here. Happy Spring!