Monday, October 8, 2012

Scribbles Around My Heart

In an uncontrollable fit of neatness to avoid actual work this past weekend, I cleaned my drawers.

Not those drawers, which are done on Monday with the rest of the family unmentionables, but the filing cabinet drawers in my home office. That reminds me, we’re out of Shout.

After sorting through a desk full of paper that means nothing at all, I found a thick packet filled with colors and textures in paints and crayons and markers and pencils and stickers. It was the kids’ artwork from the days when I was still the center of their world instead of that guy who knows all the parental control codes to the household electronics.

I went through all the papers. The homemade Father’s Day cards, the school art projects, the five-minute masterpieces made on long summer days between snack and cartoon breaks.

I pitched a few things that held no special significance, such as a sheet with randomly placed shark stickers Excitable obviously created and a coloring book butterfly outline polka-dotted with splattered water color from the Li’l Diva.

Then there was this:


The handwriting and heart are the handiwork of My Love. The rest, nothing more than a series of lines from a rainbow pack of markers, belong to Li’l Diva.

Those lines were all she muster on Oct. 8, 2002, the first full day of many she would spent in the hospital after being diagnosed with juvenile myositis.

The only reason I know this is from cross-matching the date I had written in the bottom right corner to a journal My Love and I used to keep to track all of Li’l Diva’s many hospitalizations, doctor appointments, medical procedures and medication changes in those early years. Here’s the note in the journal from that week:

Hospital Admission at Children's Medical Center of Dallas
for beginning initial treatment plan.
Diagnosed on October 2nd and over following 5 days
there was a significant decrease in muscle strength and pain
(e.g. difficulty of walking and getting up).
Hospitalized for 6 days to complete additional diagnosis lab work
(blood work, MRI, muscle biopsy) and to begin Solu-Medrol IV treatments.

This is the only piece of artwork I found in my folder that I had written a specific date on. And I know why.

I wrote it because, at the time, I was scared.

Scared I’d never see her again and all I’d have left were these little scribbles around my heart.

+ + +

Thanks to a generous friend of Cure JM, the all-volunteer nonprofit trying to find a way to put an end to juvenile myositis, any donation you make between now and Saturday, Oct. 13, to support me or one of my fellow fundraisers at the Baltimore Running Festival will be MATCHED dollar-for-dollar - up to a total of $10,000. So whip out your credit card for one (or all) of these caring bloggers:


  1. I love going through my Rubbermaid tubs filled with the kids' notes and artwork. This? Is a masterpiece.

    1. Tubs? Do I have to call the Hoarders folks? Thanks, D.

  2. And my heart just exploded into a million pieces.

  3. Thanks for making me cry today Kevin!!

    1. Imagine how I feel after my runs. Next time, you're coming with me, Ms. Mortician Babe.

  4. There is a company that will take all of your child's art work and bind it into a hard cover book. So that all the paper's can be thrown away.

    But some things I have learned, are worth saving.

    1. Hmm, do you know the company name?

    2. Artkive is a good service if you want to save things digitally. I just use the app but it looks like you can make actual, you know, stuff, too:

  5. Replies
    1. I'm going pretend the bulls are after me. Thanks for the very generous gift, man!

  6. You just brought the tears.


  7. It's a beautiful drawing - a keeper. I've just clicked through and learned about JM. I didn't know about it before. You've educated another parent about it, and I'll help spread the word too.

  8. Yes. And this is why I keep so much of Herself's artwork, even though we're long past the crisis.

    Run like someone's chasing you, my friend.


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