Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Dear Small Boy: On Your Birthday



It was a snowy December.


It snowed while we waited for you to arrive. We took midnight walks along the path, urging you to get moving, our boots crunching and the light from the street lamps making the ground sparkle. The branches were weighted with snow and I walked slowly, slowly because you were so heavy inside me and I didn't want to slip. Every night we knew that our walk might be the last one before you came.


We lay on the couch next to the fireplace with our stockings hung with care, three stockings, watching Saturday Night Live and big clumps of flakes falling outside, waiting, waiting.


I wanted you to be born before Christmas, you see. I was terrified you'd come on Christmas Day and your birthday would be ruined forever.


The day before you came I woke up early and I knew. I let daddy sleep and I got up and baked butterhorns while the light came through the kitchen windows and the snow fell and slowly, slowly you started making your way to us.


You got closer and closer and the snow kept falling and we pulled out all of the Christmas movies to watch, one after another, to distract me from my body getting ready. When I couldn't be distracted anymore we got in the car and drove through icy roads in the dark and I shouted and punched the car window and daddy carefully, carefully got us to the hospital. That car ride felt like hours and hours and hours.


When we got to the hospital I shouted and cried and cracked the respirator of the laughing gas because I bit it so hard. Finally I got some relief and the room got calm and quiet and we were ready for you.


             You waited until the wee hours to arrive and then all of a sudden you were here.


We couldn't wait to bring you home so we got an early check-out, on your birthday. Tiny, sparse flakes fell in the darkness as we carried you out into the world in your car seat. We buckled you in and drove slowly, carefully, home.


You are scary and exquisite. You are joyful and fun and precious and every moment with you is fleeting. You are almost always inconvenient. You are a wonder and a glory. You came to me in winter, making my life more complicated and frightening and beautiful. You are the snow to me.



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