Seven years ago today, I gave birth to a baby girl.
That sentence alone is the most surreal thing to write and read.
I am smack-dab in the middle of travel-hockey/another-snow-day-on-tap/beginning-swim-training-for-a-triathlon/winter-that-won't stop hell. My bandwidth is down to the width of a piece of dental floss, and I have a feeling when the Nor-easter comes tomorrow I will lock myself in a closet with a bottle of something and my cell phone and a box of tissue. My day breaks and sets with yelling -- and for the record, seldom my own anymore. (Pats self on back.) But the boy, oh the boy, he's a loud kinetic force who has spent too much time this winter in the car seat and in the cold hockey rink and he's ready to blow. That or he has a small hearing loss and is freebasing caffeine when my back is turned.
And I joke (through tears) that my hands are full, too full, and god help us all when the small one starts travel sports too because I will remember this crazy as the good ol' relaxin' days of yore.
And there -- this time of year especially, when I'm ramping up the annual fundraising project and dealing with my family's many seasonal maladies -- is something tugging gently, and then more insistently at my pant leg. I try and shoo it off, make a sweeping motion to show that I'm knee-deep in dinner prep, or getting two separate breakfasts, or -- crap, please leave me be -- driving in some snow/ice debacle, but it persists.
And sometimes it takes the leg-pulling to scream at me through the din and remind me:
I'm here. But I'm not. Remember me?
If she had been born healthy as I (stupidly) assumed all babies were, she would be seven today.
I didn't know them as babies except for one, but for some reason I now know a slew of children in the first grade at Bella's school. New kids in the neighborhood, younger siblings, kids of newfound friends. One of these just celebrated a birthday a week or so ago, and I didn't know her then but I do now and I find myself staring at her in wonder. Seven-year-olds don't bother me, but babies still do. They are all still mystical, lucky, elusive creatures that make me catch my breath and tremble. I don't understand them, I don't understand the allure in them, I don't get how so many of them are here.
The family scorecard has altered only slightly: Buddy is still here, the geriatric cats finally both dialed in their ninth (or, in Kirby's case, 49th) life. We have a new rescue cat name Violet; she's two, but acts as though she's two months and still learning how to play. Though she loves us all (well, except Buddy still figuring him out) she plays rough and we're all playing mama cat and telling her no. She is the current baby.
Bella is beautiful, Bella is overdramatic, Bella will someday make a great lawyer the way she argues ev-er-y-thing. She asked this morning if I was buying flowers, I said yes, and she smiled and showed me that she was wearing her blue Maddy bracelet. She is at once a selfish, impatient, loving, and fantastic big sister.
I did buy flowers as I do annually, and I'll light a candle at some point between appointments and dinner-prep and studying for the science quiz on salmon and Valentines. I'll quietly congratulate myself for carrying and delivering three babies, those beautiful flowers are there in part for me, too. But mostly I'll remember the delicate sweet baby that was mine for ever so briefly.
She was here.
I love you Maddy, and miss you awfully.
Side note: I switched web browsers (long story) and while it corrected many of the problems I was having, and my smile was widening, I clicked over to Feedly . . . and it had erased all of my feeds. All of them. I crawled through the FAQs and help sections and sent them multiple emails (all met with "Welcome to Feedly!" auto-bot-bullshit), and . . . nothing. And I was so sad and depressed I couldn't bring myself to even click in there and see the empty page. But I miss keeping up with even the annual posts of my old friends: If you still blog, if you were on my radar, could you please comment here if only to say "I'm still writing!" and I'll add you. I may not comment often, but I'll try and check in and read. I promise.