I think about Stacy everyday. She was born nine years ago today and she left us nearly fours years ago. I still find it hard to write about her, mostly because I feel my writing inadequately expresses how I feel about her. Nevertheless, I must express how I feel, and I'm not a painter, or a sculpter, or an architect, so I write.
Stacy's life was much like my 3' x 3' garden--small, crazy, filled with fruit and blooms.
She lived 5 short years in 6 different places. She had people coming in and out of her life constantly. She rode planes, trains, buses, automobiles and strollers. As soon as she could walk, she preferred to walk, and she liked to take it s-l-o-w. Trips 2 to 3 NYC blocks took f-o-r-e-v-e-r. She didn't like riding in the car, for 15 minutes seemed an eternity to her. As much as she didn't like sitting still in a car she didn't like staying home any more. She needed to be doing, going. She collected new friends wherever she went--adult friends, kid friends, baby friends and animal friends. (One time a mother warned me that she was petting a squirrel in Central Park. She also liked to "save" the confused worms after rain storms.) Stacy liked to be visiting her friends constantly. I remember when we first moved to New York City how sad she was because we didn't have friends yet. I called several different children to extend play invitations because I could see how lonely two-year-old Stacy was only to be turned down again and again. So we headed to the sandbox at the Dolphin Playground. Within minutes Stacy was inviting children to her birthday party.
My little 3 x 3 garden has only required watering, and no weeding; Stacy really only required "watering" as well. She wasn't a very tricky child and she was very easily taught. Any problem that I had with her was a result of my inexperienced parenting. Despite me, she grew and grew and grew. She was rolling from place to place and could get anything on the floor by the time she was 2 months old. She army crawled when she was 4 months old, and by the time she was 6 1/2 months she was saying her first word (ball) and cross-crawling. Much to our delight she spoke complete sentences upon entering nursery. She could spell her name for her nursery leaders when she was just barely 2 years old. She could pronounce almost any word we threw at her, and she loved us so much that she'd play the parrot game with us at the dinner table over and over again. She could sit on a lap for hours and hours listening to me read books. Just before her death, I could read a chapter from a book like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and ask her any question about the plot or a detail in that chapter. I do not recall stumping her even once. I felt she exhibited good judgment to be wary of people on the Subway of NYC (Rebecca smiled at all of them.). She gave me so much confidence. I really felt like I was a good mom to have such a daughter. I see now that I really taught her very little, and that I really needed her to teach me a few things.
Stacy delighted in nature and made old joys new. I squished sand between my toes, sniffed flowers, buried myself in autumn leaves, and rolled in the snow with Stacy by my side. Everything was better through her eyes.
Stacy might have seemed shy and quiet a first, but she quickly got over that and once a friend of Stacy's she would never forget you. She was a friend without reservation, doing anything she could think of to show her love. She always would hold elevator doors open until everyone was inside the elevator. She'd pick bouquets to proudly share. When she would paint she would paint 5,000 pictures in one sitting. She quickly learned to write I Love You and would put it on every drawing that she ever produced.
Stacy's gifts continue. everything around me is more meaningful because she met me here for a few too short years.