He doesn't look like anybody but himself. He might have his father's ears and his grandmother's eyes, but that pixie face belongs entirely to his youngest sister. He's got his mother's nose and also her heart. You can break that heart into a million pieces and the band plays on. Periodically that's damned inconvenient. Sorry, but not sorry, sweetheart; I can feel you from the other side of the world and that's a thing worth having.
It's a well known fact that the first born takes it on the chin. They are the science experiment called parenthood that begins on an invisible preordained track. They are the control subject for the next, assuming there is a next. Oftentimes they are their mother's first love which may or may not come as a shock.
How is it that I feel this way? Come closer, Love, let me have another look at you... as we huff at the top of their heads.
That huffing is a perpetual thing which becomes surreptitious as we age. Come closer, Love, I'm going to pretend to just hold you close. I'll inhale your scent on the sly.
There was book he loved. The sort of love that demands at least one daily reading; possibly even twelve. I thought it was silly, maybe slightly absurd; but since I'm the one who brought it home, I suppose I'll have to own it. It's meant to be a children's book, but it's not. Not really. It's a book about relationship.
It's the ending that changes the tone. It's the ending that changes it all. It's the ending that says: Consider This! Mother. Consider the fact of my love for you, which is not at all what you were expecting. It's not a thing we can wrap our heads around when they are four years old.
It was his favorite part of the book. I thought he liked the end because it was silly. It seemed silly to me; but what did I know? I was all of twenty-six the day I brought it home.
On August 11, we sat on the rocks on the shore of the Saugatuck Reservoir on the Weston/Redding line. I showed him the hole in my gut by way of explanation and in his very own way, he went up the ladder and climbed through the second floor window.
That's a metaphor. I don't have a second floor window. It's all right there at ground level.
He went up the ladder and he carried me down.
Also a metaphor, but not entirely.
It's taken this many months to fill in that hole well enough to allow for the truth.
'Don't stay alive for the sake of anyone or you'll resent them one way or another for the rest of your life. Stay alive for you if that's a thing you can do.'
What he showed me was this:
I'll stand right here. I won't move an inch. I'll stand right here and look at you with all the grief in my heart and all that's in yours and I'll stand here until the end. Maybe the end will be a few decades out and maybe it won't. But I'm standing here.
This man will turn thirty-four at 12:43 and a half (yes, and a half, exactly) this morning. That's just short of thirteen hours away.
I was squatting on the greenhouse floor, picking at the November grasses coming up through the slats. I spent about an hour that way; trying to focus on something just over the horizon. He was sixteen days late and I wanted him OUT. But not really. After that hour I got up and got on with having a baby. I was twenty-two and so it was easy.
Come a little closer, Love, and let me breathe in the truth of you.