Sunday, July 11, 2010

July 11

Julyeleventh. Today is the sixth anniversary of my first due date. Of the seven boys I conceived, only two were born to me. But they will all live with me forever in my heart.

I have no grave sites to visit, no true way to mark the passing of babes who never breathed. I heard the heartbeats of a couple. But I never saw any of their faces, only their ghostly white profiles lit up by ultrasound. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, ghosts to ghosts.

I am so grateful for the two who crossed to this side, who bless me daily with their smiles and tears, the sweet soft comfort of their living flesh.

The new baby is nine months old now, a great strapping boy with a heady giggle and a loud squall. He taught himself to sit up on Friday.

Turtle was at the table eating a peanut butter sandwich while the baby performed elaborate contortions on the floor. All of a sudden his exertions ended with him sitting happily on his hind legs.

Turtle beamed with sheer delight and pride. What a gentle, selfless, joyful nature he has.

Turtle," I said, "it's amazing that you and I were both here watching at the very moment the baby learned how to sit up. It's as if we were watching very patiently and saw the exact instant that a flower bloomed." I thought this would go over Turtle's head. Did he even understand about buds and blossoms? And could he stand to see so much sentimental excitement being lavished on his little brother for something as mundane as sitting?

"Mama," he said, "let's pretend to be flowers blooming!" He crouched on the floor with rounded back, then unfurled his arms like petals. I joined him in bloom and then we both just laid there for a minute, keeping the baby company, basking in the square of afternoon sunlight that shone on the floor.