Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Letter from Aunt Anna

Like so many others, I read Toby’s blog every day. The four of you are never, ever far from my mind. I think of you when I wake up in the morning and all throughout the day. You're in my prayers at night, and I've even dreamt about you. One would think that for all those thoughts, I would have words to put on paper, but each time I've sat down to write you, my heart has seized up, and I've been left with nothing but tears.

I don't know what to say or how to say it. Even after my visit to New York in July – no, especially after my visit in July – I am at a loss for words. Toby is beautiful. He is so unlike any other three- or four-year-old I have known. He is like a little Buddha come to earth to extend some unknown wisdom to us all.

There were so many moments during my visit when I was struck by just how beautifully different he is, but there is one moment that stands most clearly in my mind. I was alone in the outpatient room with him. It was Tuesday, I think, so he was still very much in pain from the surgery just a few days before. One of the nurse practitioners came in and, needing him off the bed, she helped him down. She moved a little quicker than was necessary, and I could see how much she hurt him. He winced and knitted his brow – but then I saw him look up at her, and he simply breathed out and let it pass. I couldn't believe what I had witnessed, but I could see exactly what he had done. He had, in that brief glance up at her, recognized that she hadn't meant to hurt him, and so, the pain having passed, he let it go. He just let it go. Every three-year-old I have ever known would have punished that nurse– maybe with an accusation, a scowl, a turned head, a tantrum – but not Toby. Striking back is not in his nature, forgiveness is.

I could write about a dozen other moments similar to that one. I witnessed that gentle, peaceful, empathetic nature many, many times during my short visit. But there is something else that needs saying. Not only did I witness a beautiful child with a beautiful soul, I also witnessed the parenting that has nurtured that little soul. Toby is a special child, but he is also the product of two people who have clearly surrounded him with lightness and love. You have – obviously by example – taught him to find the beauty and wonder in the world and in others around him. You are the reasons behind “it’s so beautiful here”. You are reasons he delights in the fact that the numbers on top of the taxi match the numbers on the back. You are the reasons he forgave the nurse. Yes, he came into this world equipped with a beautiful soul, but you two have kept it that way.

I’m not a numbers girl, either, Mooki. Dad tried hard to help me grasp the concepts, but it was no use. Those rules that made perfect sense to him were just words on a page to me, and it always seemed that just when I thought I had the right rule memorized, I had missed some other consideration that changed the whole equation. Who knows but maybe that coin toss that’s suppose to be 50-50 isn’t such a perfect equation after all. Maybe there’s a smudge of ice cream on one side that’s going to make the odds 60-40 instead. Maybe Toby has a little something, too, that will turn the coin in his favor. Maybe that’s the difference between the children – something we can’t see or grasp. Everyone who has had a chance to interact with Toby agrees that there is something wonderfully different about him. Who knows what part that difference is playing now?

I will continue to keep all of you in my thoughts and prayers.



Anonymous said...

Thank you, Anna, for your very beautiful letter, and for sharing some of your intimate moments with Toby! A less sensitive person may not have observed the delicate nuances of behavior that you perceived. Your presence helped Toby, and was a comfort to your brother Steve and Mooki. Thank you for "standing in" for those of us unable to be there. Like you our daily prayers and thoughts are with this dear family! Aunt Blanche & Uncle John

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful testimony to a very unusual little boy - perfectly written - a saver for Toby to read again and again as he grows older. Thanks, Aunt Anna. I would like to meet you someday when you come to Brooklyn for another visit.
A Friend

Tabby, friend of Anna said...

Anna, Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful and touching observations. It is evedent to me as well that Toby has wonderfully special parents who are right there with every fiber of their being helping Toby, Yoni, and each other get through this most difficult time. In the midst of it all they still find the strength to relish special moments with each other and find beauty and love around them where others might not even notice it. They are truly an inspiration.

sarah jo said...

It was nice to read that wonderful letter you wrote about Toby. I try to check the blog daily but with my work schedule I don't get to as often as I would like. My daughters don't think of Toby just as their cousin but as their friend. I am glad that someone was able to spend some time with Toby as well as Steve and Mooki.
Love always sarah jo