Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Boy

Tell me my birth story, again, he says, and I curl his everly-more elongated body, naked and cool in the night air, onto my lap and begin again.
I can feel his heart beat through the thin skin of his chest, his ribs are now easy to feel, all traces of baby fat gone. He is lean, now, like a little coyote, springy and frisky and wiry.
His hair is thick and the color of sun-kissed wheat, and I kiss it, smelling the summer sweat buried beneath the layers.
I begin to tell the story, again, it is the third time in two days, and he is hungry to hear it again. He used to be sad that there was no birth music; the girls all have birth music. But he is understanding this now, what I told him in the first place: your birth music was the only music I was fit to hear, it was the sound of a baby's cry.
I'm telling the story again, about the long night, and the wiggly-jiggly baby, and the midwife who can't find his head. I'm telling him about the long short ride to the OR, and the three people who held him before I did. I'm telling him about how his dad's eyes filled with tears, and his face fell slack with a look of almost shock as he saw those feet emerge, and then the tiny, live backside of the same boy who is now lying on my lap, wearing his birthday suit. I try to tell him about what happened to my heart the moment I knew he had lived, but I can't find the words.
I can't figure out how I could ever put that into words, ever.
I want him to know, I so desperately want him to know what that moment did to me. I was a butterfly who burst out of her cocoon so abrubtly she tripped on her wings in her joy, grasping at the very air around her. I was alive and on fire, the liquid, red-hot molten embers of my previously extinguished happiness bubbling forth with a vengeance, rediscovered after a year of smoldering. I was quivering, faint, and barely aware.

He had been mad at himself, a few days earlier. He had done something wrong and was ashamed, down in the front yard, not wanting to see Greg. My poor boy, so hard on himself, wanting to be a good boy all the time. I sat down beside him. He said, I wish I'd never been born.
Oh, Liam. I said, calmly taking his hand. I breathed quietly into the side of his neck. You saved my life when you were born.
I did? he said, his eyes wide.
And for the first time, I could see in his blue-green depths, he was hearing something new.
And that night, he asked it for the first time. Tell me about when I was born.


Hope's Mama said...

Amazing. Absolutely amazing. You capture the experience of a live son being pulled from your body after birthing a daugther who didn't live better than I could ever hope to do.
So glad our sons saved our lives.

Taking Heart said...

Beautifully told.

kris said...

Oh, Carol. What a story. What a gift for sweet Liam, to know of the power he holds inside. Extra hugs to him and to you.