He hung it in the space between the living and dining rooms, where it stayed for months. It hurt to take it down--maybe it felt like an omen, like bad karma or something--and when we finally did take it down I packed it carefully in a box and stored it in the back room, where it has remained and will remain until she comes of age and I force her to assume responsibility for her own mementos. The banner is, to me, a reminder of that homecoming, which was horrible and sad and confusing but felt so good, it was so good to be home with our two-month-old daughter, who we were sure would come to love the city with the very same fervor. The banner was about struggling, and hoping, and coming back.
I included this photo out of desperation, mostly; I was already way behind in getting the pictures to her teacher. And it was so interesting to see it up on the wall that afternoon when I came to pick Sydney up, alongside a paragraph that read something like: My parents hung this banner when they brought me home from the hospital. Everyone was so excited to meet me!
Well yes--that was how it should have been. In reality the situation turned out quite differently.