At the ice cream shop last week I had a brush with my old preemie-birth PTSD, once again through the sense of smell. I was washing my hands at the sink there when I caught a whiff of the soap -- the same exact soap that they had at the NICU when C was first born. It is so strange, I am telling you, one little sniff and suddenly there I am, that weird feeling of being piloted around in a wheelchair, the way the wind blows across your face even though you are inside, because your husband is pushing the chair really fast, because he walks faster when he is pushing a wheelchair, and he walks pretty quickly anyway. The cabinet of gowns, the hot water sink, the little telephone where you call and ask permission, may I please come in and see my baby? The worst part was the walk from the door when they buzzed you in, all the way to your baby's room. Once, they moved him without telling us. What's it like to get to your baby's hospital room and see an empty bed? I relive it every time I smell that damned soap.
Note to self: bring hand sanitizer to the ice cream shop to use instead of their soap. I don't want to start associating ice cream with IVs and little beeping machines.
This week our air handler went kaput but we were blessed even in needing this pricey repair. Just one week earlier and the heat would have been too much to bear, but this week we just left the windows open, ran a few fans, and got along great. Truthfully I like the fresh air circulating around the house, and I feel, strangely, as if we all cooperate better. Part of this might just be the relief of fall (and I can't help thinking how much the Florida summer is like the northern winter -- the time when you need all your mental faculties and stoutheartedness to get you through) but I think part of it is being subject to the whims of the outside. We band together as a family because we have no choice but to take the weather as it comes.
It will be nice to have the handler repaired (especially come April and May of next year) but part of me will be a little sad to see it go. Something about open windows and swirling fans that that particular smell of Florida in fall makes me feel like I am a kid again, and the good part of being a kid -- sundresses and sandals, make believe, and sandboxes. I am back there again only this time much richer with my own little darlings.