But I only tell people about the three they can see. The fourth came first. He brought innocence and purity, which he took when he left. I haven’t told the other three about the first. Because I don’t know how to explain about really bad things.
When the next one came I stupidly forgot to hide the soft part of me. I left it exposed, like the new skin underneath a band-aid. I thought that nothing could hurt me any more.
I was wrong.
He cooed like a wounded owl. And he didn’t speak. Didn’t have a voice of his own. So I gave him mine knowing he might still never know what he meant to me.
The next one clung to me as if we were suddenly reunited after a long trip apart. Never leaving my side, resting in the place on my chest that seemed designed for the shape of his head. Asking me if I loved him over and over again until it became a game that we played. Silly to everyone else but fiercely serious to him. Making sure that I understood I could never leave him.
Then, a surprise. The last one born on the day the first was supposed to be. Coming into the world warm and kicking and squirming with life. Joy and guilt combining in a sweetly painful way like cinnamon gum. And in spite of everything, filling me with irrepressible hope.
I’m riding in the back of an ambulance with my eight-month-old. We’ve had a car accident. Max bumped his head on his car seat and the cop at the scene told me we could go right to the ER to have him checked, and of course I said yes. Max is crying, but not because of injury. He hates the strap they have tied around his head, around his body, to keep him still, When we get to the ER, I run in with Max before the cops. Two doctors swarm around me, but instead of being sympathetic, they snap. “Is this the first time he’s had an injury?”And then: “What did you do?”
“We had a car crash,” I say, but the doctors whisk Max from my hands and start examining him, shining lights in his eyes, testing his reflexes, and when they look at me, it is with disdain. It isn’t until one of the cops saunters in and confirms the accident, that things change. One of the doctors comes over and gives Max back to me, settling him in my arms. “He’s fine,” she says, smiling, and I hold him tight and all I can think is both how glad I am they look out for babies, and how dare you, how dare you.
I have two girls and seeing them grow NOW is wonderful. Babies are way too much work, and I am so glad I am beyond that stage. Ugh, diapers, bottles, sleepless nights, worrying about fevers and cuts from glass tables; it's remarkable these unpredictable, moving objects make it through infancy...
At 7 and 10 they are little ladies and have their own characters that were set in stone from the moment they were conceived. I want them to be mini-me's so I can predict what they will do next and save them from all the stupid things I did.... But I also want them to be themselves and grow more than I ever did and be better than I ever was or will be.
Stop, sit, watch and listen to them. REALLY listen to them, cause they have so much to share and teach us. They are little sponges of curiosity and look up to you for whatever guidance. Be their mom and their friend, which means be strict and fun all at the same time. Although it's such a profound thing to say, it is OUR responsibility to teach and show them right from wrong, which can almost be seen as an 18-year sentence, since you have to be on your best behavior at all times.
I got the best compliment the other day: "Mama, you're like our best friend!"
And that is what keeps us going. My girls ROCK!
Marrit, Aruba and PA, super mama wannabe, model and amateur environmentalist chomping at the bit to do more!