April 5th, 2007
Tanya and I caught the glint of his eye at the same moment. For both of us time slowed as we realized he was going to try to run for the first time. We also saw, too late, his loose right shoot. We saw his foot lift out of the shoe and catch on the top plummeting him forward. He thrust out his little hands, but not quickly enough. He broke the fall with his nose. He is ok, but Yana now calls him “little blue nose”.
As he lifted himself up, face contorted in a scream, we saw the blood emerge from his nose and realized we had a boy on our hands. I rushed up to him once time began to move again and lifted him to my arms. Quickly we took him to a doctor who checked him and assured us that his nose was not broken. Then Mama was there to comfort him.
We traversed back up to the music room where Yana had stayed to calm Dascha – though given Yana’s reaction to the site of blood; it was a toss up as to who was comforting whom. Dascha, concerned for her brother asked if he was ok and then went to him as he was cradled in his Mama’s arms. Gently she pressed her mouth to his forehead and tenderly gave him a kiss.
By that afternoon, Nikolai was running. He still falls from time to time, but he has learned to catch the fall with his hands. Falling is still frightening when it happens. When he does, he becomes immobile, mouth frozen in a scream until Mama picks him up. Then the scream is released, and the cry. Mama cradles him as he embraces her. An hour later he is running again.
Years from now, my son, you will read this and perhaps understand why it is after all these years we have believed in you and what you can do so fiercely. You always are, and always will be our lion heart. Remember always the little boy who even when faced with great adversity, never gave up.