It happens frequently when I see my neighbor Daniella. She is finishing her junior year in high school, she is on the volleyball team, goes out with boys and drives the family car. She is tall and kind and pretty. She has been my neighbor since she was born just five weeks after Maggie was. Her mom and I were pregnant together.
Sometimes when I see her hopping into a car with her friends or leaving for school I think. And I wonder. She and Maggie would have grown up together and either have been close friends or simply tolerated each other. Don't get me wrong. Daniella is lovely. she always greets Maggie and is very sweet, but they are not peers. She is living Maggie's other life, the one way back in my imagination that only gets dusted off periodically.
I had another one of those moments today when I saw Maggie's class project for the end of the year. All the kids did one and I'm not even certain how it was done. But I love this picture, drawing or whatever it is. It looks like a typical kid. There's no trach, no wheelchair, no equipment of any kind. Those things have come to be such a part of Maggie that I don't even see them anymore. But I noticed immediately when they were absent. And it made me both happy and sad at the same time.. .
I scanned it the best I could but it wouldn't fit. The frame has descriptive words about Maggie all around it, Sassy, happy, cheerful, shy (?), loves music, etc. I think I'm going to hang this one in my room.
It's just Maggie - stripped down to her personhood.
She's still cool.