Sunday, May 9, 2010

Little Liam

Fresh, yeasted Belgian waffles steamed on my plate, with freshly-picked strawberries bleeding into the lightly toasted wells of their surface. Syrup pooled beneath it. We lit Charlotte's candle, and my children surrounded me.

Mother's Day morning, and it could hardly have been more perfect. From the kitchen, where the speakers are, I had Pandora radio playing. Suddenly my ears perked up, hearing something vaguely familiar. At first I could not place it, but then I realized what it was. Years ago, I had heard the singer Mindy Smith interviewed by Terri Gross, explaining how she had lost her mother to breast cancer, and how her heart still missed her so deeply. She sang this song on the radio, and I cried and cried by myself in the car, imagining what I would do with just one more moment with my baby in my arms. Even thinking back on that time in the car makes my eyes fill again; the thought of having one more moment with her yanks me, as if on a string, back to the moment I handed Charlotte to Trudy and knowing that if I'd stalled for two more minutes, I would have had two more minutes with her in my arms.

So I gasped, gasped at my plate steaming with waffles, and my eyes filled with tears again. The family looked at me, and I explained to them why I was crying.

It made me think about how I just wanted one more moment with Charlotte, how much I would love to just have one more moment with her in my arms.

Liam stared at me, hard. His deep, bluish-greenish eyes were heavy with concern, so I thought, and then he broke into tears and crawled into my lap like a baby. He bawled and cried, and I stopped because I was worried that I'd scared him because I had said that the singer's mother had died. But he shook his head, and cried harder, so I carried him into the living room and laid him across my lap and let him cry.

He's so sensitive, and so sweet, and I imagined him hearing that my heart was aching so, crying in the car alone because I wanted one more moment with my baby. He knows babies now, I realized, and he's realizing how deep my sadness must be. I wondered at his amazing compassion, and I wept with him, my ever-growing boy, so full of love.

I asked him, is it hard for you to know that I carry such sadness in my heart?

He looked at me, so tearful, and said, well, it's not exactly that.

Tell me, I said, Tell me about your sadness.

It's just that I'm sad about Charlotte, I'm sad that Charlotte died. He said this, and he cried thick and hard on my shoulder, and he hiccuped and cried some more. He missed his sister, and he wanted a moment, too.

I knew one day this would come, he would miss her himself, deep and hard. It surprised me, still.

He cried for a long, long time.


Gina said...

So sweet! What a beautiful song as well. Brought tears to my eyes!

Hope's Mama said...

This just makes me want to cry along with Liam.


kris said...

Oh, Liam. How incredible and special and wonderful that she is real to him, though. Sending big hugs to Liam and to you.

Pietrowski's of North Andover said...

Children are truly amazing. Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of every day life, it is easy to forget how much they can absorb... Liam sounds like such a special boy and is lucky to have you for his mom!!

Meg said...

Wow. That made me cry. He is so sweet.

Ya Chun said...

aw, poor little brother.

I am beginning to think how we will introduce little Beatrice to our tragedy - the death of her big sister.