Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Photo Project Day #17

Day #17: A picture of something that has made a huge impact on your life recently.

When Jennifer first sent me this Photo Project info and saw the theme for Day #17, my heart literally sighed and I thought: Ylaria.

I met Ylaria on November 10, 2007. Yes, I remember the date exactly. It was my first night ever volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House in NYC. The group I was volunteering with had prepared dinner and some of us were walking around and chatting with the families. At one point, I walked over to Gino and introduced myself. He introduced himself and said "and this is Ylaria". At which point, I, like any other sane person would, said (in a louder voice than I should have, but it's me we're talking about. Normal has never been my style.): "Ylaria!?!?!??! I was on your caringbridge site!" I can say with a fair amount of confidence that they both at that moment most likely thought I was insane, and getting to know me more could really only confirm that, but they loved me in spite of (or perhaps because of) my little bit of crazy.

Whenever Ylaria was in NYC, I would run to the RMH after work and we would spend hours playing together. We did anything she wanted: watched movies, did arts and crafts, played in the pretend kitchen, read books. I always brought band aids. She'd always cover my hands in them. I would leave them on until I got home. I can't even begin to imagine what people thought when they saw me walking through Manhattan with my hands (and sometimes arms) covered in colorful Dora band aids, but I never cared. I'd get home and place a few of the band aids on objects throughout my room. They are still there.

Once, Gino got tickets to a Yankee game and at the very last minute Ylaria refused to go. She would have none of it and she quite frankly couldn't have cared less who the Yankees were. So, I offered to stay with her at the RMH while Gino went to the game. We played hide and seek in the room, played with play-doh, and just generally had fun. Everything was going so well.

And then, it happened.

To this day, I still can't remember what I did, but whatever I did, it was NOT good. At. All. And, Ylaria made sure I knew it. I was quickly put on a time-out. Literally. I sat in a corner on the floor with Ylaria giving me a stern look, shaking her finger saying : "No talking." I said: "OK" and laughed. (Cut me some slack, it was funny.) She got even more serious and said: "No laughing." At which point I, again, said, "OK" and laughed even harder. It went on like this for a while. With Ylaria saying "No laughing", "No talking" and me just agreeing and cracking up until there were tears falling down my face. Eventually, Ylaria gave up and let me go. Just like that. I was no longer in time-out and we went back to playing with play-doh or watching whatever show was on Nick Jr. This memory still makes me laugh. This is how it always was between us. Ylaria ran the show and I was her trusty (err...ridiculous...) sidekick. I wouldn't have it any other way.

I can honestly say that I loved Ylaria from the very beginning. I loved everything about her. I loved her laugh. You couldn't help laughing with her because it was just contagious. I loved how she would jump up and down when she got excited and how she just wanted to share that excitement with you. I loved how when she was younger, she would call me "blah blah" because she couldn't pronounce my name. I loved how she would concentrate with so much intensity when she was working on a project and how she would love to read together with me. I loved how she would knock me over with the strength of her hugs. I loved how she would always make sure I was coming back to see her the next day when I left the RMH for the night. And, that I would remember to bring more band aids, of course.

To say Ylaria had a huge impact on my life is an understatement. She is part of so much of what I do and who I am that it's impossible to remember my life without her in it. I miss my little best friend. So very, very much. Ylaria, thank you for all of these memories and the many, many more that I hold in my heart. I love you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm loving all these stories - thanks for sharing. Your account of meeting Ylaria was very moving - R.I.P.

Looking forward to reading more!