…though I must wish you a belated birthday here in Blogland. You would have been 19 years old one week ago today, Father’s Day, 2013. June 16th. I had planned to write this then but, as usual, I wasn’t sure exactly what I’d be feeling or how it would manifest on the day. Your birthday without you was one of the most difficult days for me yet. As I have done every birthday since the day you were born, I began remembering, “Last year at this time… last year at this time… last year at this time….” followed by, “Nineteen years ago at this time… nineteen years ago… nineteen years.” I remember certain things about every one of your birthdays but most vividly I remember last year at this time and nineteen years ago.
I remember the excitement at those first painful contractions and I remember tucking your big brother into bed and telling him that he would have a baby sister the next day. I remember sitting in the rocking chair that now sits in the waiting room to my home office, my feet up, rocking us gently and watching the clock ticking away the time until the next contraction then the time until the next moment of relief. I remember the midnight call to your grandma asking her to come now, “It’s time.” It was raining that night, as it is as I write this, a warm summer rain. We had a bit of a drive, it seemed like an eternity of suffering, something I truly know the meaning of now. I was able to walk into the hospital and most of the way down the hall before I couldn’t walk any further and your dear dad went to get a wheelchair. Walking was easier! Like grief, no way to know how labor will feel or how it will manifest on the day.
As I begin to type this sentence the word count is 311, the address of the home we moved away from on Thanksgiving of my pregnancy with you. It’s a number that would get my attention as is the time this draft was saved, 7:11. These are numbers that you know would get my attention… Thank you, sweet baby, for the gifts of knowing that you are with me as I write this. Thank you. 🙂 or as you would have said, “) …correction, as you are saying! Ahhh! As you said on your birthday! The message on the screen of your iPhone was from Dictionary.com and the word of the day was Palinode!!! This is not exactly a poem, but correct my correction with palinode! I so feel you here. I so feel us actually conversing. Do I share this with the world?? “Well, let’s just see. No rush, yeah?” Yeah.
This time last year you had just turned 18. On your birthday you were quite excited to be getting a tattoo and I was excited with you! You had decided on the image of your three pet rats. I was happy and felt honored that you let me help you find an image that spoke to your heart. I wanted to go with you, “Don’t hurt my baby!” but I relaxed and let you go with a friend. Earlier that morning, before you got up, I wandered through my garden and picked a small bouquet of flowers for you. I set it out next to the birthday plate that I painted just for you as a gift on another of your birthdays and I made the fruit tart you requested instead of a cake.
You usually didn’t have a specific request for gifts and you usually said, “Well, maybe ____ and whatever surprises you want.” The ___ was always something simple, inexpensive, easy to find. You *are* an old soul, aren’t you. So when you said you wanted a really nice camera I couldn’t wait to go all out! I got you the best I could afford and it made me so very happy to do so!
It tears my heart out every time I touch it now because the first thing I see is your image at the top of this blog, holding this camera, snapping a shot of what I thought might be your future; your version of this world. I knew it would be amazing and I felt your passion and your own excitement of being gifted a tool of expression for the things you kept within you; the things that didn’t feel quite safe to express to any other human being or in any other way. It humbles me to have it. It nearly brings me to my knees to pick it up. But I’ll do it for you, my Sweetiebee. I’ll continue to reach for this tool in hopes it will help me to see the beauty of this earth, of this life, of this time that is so short despite the way it drags here without you.
Earth is a special place. I want to capture all I can so next year I can say, “Last year at this time…” Well, when I say it, it will hurt… because this year at this time, IT HURTS!
Why do we do this? Why do we come here? Do we have a choice? Does it serve a purpose?
I like to believe that there’s a reason and I don’t know it. I like to believe we come here because this planet is unique among all planets just as we each are unique among humans. Do we have a choice? I’d like to think we do. Does it serve a purpose? I think we’d all like to hope it does.
Happy Birthday, DanniLove. Happy Birthday To You ❤