Tuesday, December 13, 2011


My heart beats quietly beside her, as we're lying in the dark. I've stopped doing anything, everything I do in my life these last few weeks to let my little tiny one sleep when she wants, and it is paying off. This evening it's just past eight and she's beginning to doze beside me, even though her last nap ended at just before half-past six. So we lie there together, side by side, and she falls gently into slumber while I sing softly to her. It takes her about twenty minutes to fall into a deep sleep, but I have the time. This is the most important thing.
I think to myself, as I look at my baby, falling asleep in the safest place she knows, what a lucky little baby she is, to be falling asleep in her mother's arms, comfortable and cared for.
And what a very, extremely lucky mother I am to realize that there is nothing more important in my life right now than to lie there with her, breathing in this fleeting, delicate moment of her babyhood.

Today is the 13th of December. One year, it was Charlotte's seven month birthday on this day, and the next year she turned 19 months while her brother turned eight months. Some years later her sister turned one month, and then that next year thirteen months.

Eight years ago on this day Greg and I stayed home from work and sat across from each other at our dining room table and made wax-resist Pysanki eggs to hang on our Christmas tree. We wrote her name on them and wept as we did so. I was pregnant but could hardly think about it.

This year, as Greg was carefully hanging his egg, the last ornament to grace the Charlotte tree, it somehow slipped from his grasp and fell to the floor, breaking. The look on his face made me want to run away, it was Grief I saw, that haunting past I haven't seen him turn into for quite some time. He lethargically retrieved the broken pieces off the floor and spent the next half-hour in silence, filling the shell with cotton and using a hot glue gun to try to piece it back together. Liam was slightly horrified at this whole scene, and was continually approaching Greg and saying tentative things to try to mend the awkward intrusion of Grief into our holiday together.

Liam does not remember that Greg always used to cry when we decorated the tree.

The 13th of December, today. A Tuesday, the night where Greg is out and I tuck all the children into bed myself. A cold, blustery night, twelve days before Christmas.

(I have five children)


Hope's Mama said...

Been thinking about numbers myself today. The number three, mostly. And the multiples of that number. They all seem to hold a lot of significance to me.
She would be three.
I have three children.
Angus was born one year and three months after her.
Juliet arrived three months before Angus' second birthday, and the day before Hope's third birthday.
And on your theme, it was December 13 four years ago that I found out I was pregnant with her.
So I've been thinking about my baby girl a lot today (well, yesterday).

Sara said...

I can feel that moment of breakage, the slow motion fall, the shattering inside and out.

This is the line that sticks: Liam does not remember that Greg always used to cry when we decorated the tree.

kris said...

You do...a priceless 5. I gasped as I read about Greg's egg.
Love to you all. It is Wednesday night now--I am off to write. It is a place where I always think of you, and Charlotte. Her story is in those walls.

Mel said...

I thought of you when I read this article: http://boingboing.net/2012/01/03/cells.html

This is really exciting and comforting news to me. Biological mothers hold cells from each of their children. (Bonus: these cells are helpful in fighting cancer and autoimmune diseases.)