I am glad that October is finally here. October is one of my favorite months. It's officially fall and very fall-like. I am sure that I have shared already that fall is my favorite season.
I love fall for many reasons. Fall reminds me of being in school-- and we all know I love school! I love the cool crisp air-- and it's awesome to run outside in that weather! The leaves start to change color. I love trees, most especially in the fall and I love hearing the crunch of the leaves as I walk. And for reasons, I have never been able to explain, fall reminds me most of my brother. Maybe it was because he was diagnosed around this time. I really have no idea why but there are days when I am walking outside, or putting on a sweatshirt to keep warm, or feeling the air all around me as I run and I just feel like Manny is right there with me. They are comforting and beautiful, these moments.Sixteen years is a long time to miss someone. I am grateful for all of the little moments that remind me of being with my brother, those unexpected instances when I can really, really feel him right beside me. It's a difficult feeling to explain, really, but I know there are those of you reading who understand.
Today, on the first Saturday in October, I woke up and I had another fall memory. One with Ylaria. On the first Saturday in October last year (exactly a year ago tomorrow), Belen and Ylaria were flying into NYC (getting a connecting flight to Vermont). My mom and I decided that rather than spend 3 hours waiting in the airport that we would pick them up at LaGuardia and hang out at the house before dropping them off again. It was another one of those days where I ran home from work and counted the hours until I would see them. As I was taking the train into this morning, I remembered this first October Saturday in 2010. Is it ok to admit that I wished I could rewind?
After picking them up from the airport, we went home and ate some food. I showed Ylaria my room and where I kept her pictures. I showed her the Dora band aid on the dresser and the Build-a-Bear I had made on the day we went to Build-a Bear together a few years earlier. I introduced Ylaria to my cat, Lucy. I think she really liked Lucy, And Lucy liked her. They followed each other around the house a lot.
After lunch, Ylaria and I baked cookies together. Well, to be honest, the dough was pre-made/store bought and I cut up the dough into circles. Ylaria did ALL of the decorating. (I have already told you, I was her sidekick. She ran the show. It's how we worked.) We only had Christmas sprinkles but Ylaria didn't seem to mind. By the time she was done decorating them, the cookies (and baking sheet) were COVERED in sprinkles. Absolutely covered. Simply put, it was an amazing piece of artwork. (As the pictures clearly demonstrate.)
Once the cookies were in the oven, Ylaria insisted on cleaning. In true Ylaria form, she made sure the counter-tops were absolutely spotless. Not one stray sprinkle was left.
I remembered these pictures today. I hadn't shared them before and I thought today would be the perfect day to post them. Looking at them now, I remember that day so clearly. I remember running into the terminal to look for Belen and Ylaria so excited that my stomach was full of butterflies. I remember how eagerly Ylaria followed Lucy around the house. She giggled and crawled around with her-- at one point, I thought Lucy thought Ylaria was another cat. I remember how intently Ylaria made sure the cookies had as many sprinkles as they could possibly hold. I remember how carefully she sponged everything down when she was done. I remember how sad I was when they left for their Vermont flight. I am a very selfish person and I was especially selfish with Ylaria. I always wanted more time. I still do.
Ylaria, as always, thank you for all of the memories. They-- you--continue to inspire me. Every single day.