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.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

I Will Not Fail Her

"You look like you're going to have another baby", my 5-year-old niece says casually.

I pause. I'm not prepared. I glance at my 7-month-old baby playing on the floor. I regret my outfit choice.

"Oh, really?", I say, keeping my voice as measured as possible.

"Yeah, look like you're going to have another baby", she says a bit louder. Conversationally.

I pause again. I'm not prepared. I lick my wounds. I look down at my stomach. I really regret my outfit choice. I think about the weight I've gained since the birth. I think about the cookies I brought. I think about how I used to look, how I thought I'd look, how nothing fits the same and my body doesn't feel like my own. How embarrassed I am. What a cliché I am. I'm still pausing. And then I think,

I will not fail her.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Dear Small Boy #7: This is Hard

Dear Small Boy,

This is hard.

Sometimes I get so angry so quickly. It surprises and frightens me. I want to yell at you and apologize to you at the same time, and the irony is that you don't understand either. Sometimes I hold you close and cry and whisper, "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry" in your ear because I keep making mistakes, I keep losing my patience, and I know there is no end in sight.

I walk into your room for nap time like I'm preparing for battle. You hate to go to sleep. You hate to stay asleep. It is, by far, the worst thing about you, the dark spot in your sea of smiles and giggles and curiosity, and I spend hours every day thinking about it, theorizing, strategizing, and when you are finally asleep at night I lie awake, fruitlessly dissecting it. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Dear Small Boy #6: On Mother's Day

📷 Sharalee Prang

Dear Small Boy,

Motherhood is damp.

I don't wear my wedding ring anymore. Breastmilk gets underneath it and it's sticky and I can't properly get it out when I wash my hands so it bothers me all day.

Motherhood is damp with everything you can imagine. First with water and blood, then with breastmilk and puke and tears and pee and drool and sweat and formula and poop and more blood and more puke and OH SO MUCH PUKE. How much could there be? Always, always, more. Motherhood is constantly damp.

Dear Small Boy, morning is my favourite time of day because you are so happy and giggly and funny. Nighttime is my favourite time of day because you have gone to sleep and I can breathe, breathe, breathe.

Motherhood has turned me into a pile of contradictions.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Dear Small Boy #5

Dear Small Boy,

Dear Theodore,

You came into the world on a cold, snowy day. You came after swearing and punching of the car window and some movie-level-drama emergency room screaming. You came after I baked butterhorns in the kitchen and rapped Hamilton in the bathtub through contractions. You came in a quiet, calm room with Bob Dylan playing and your Daddy and Auntie nearby. You came quickly, quicker than I thought, everyone in the room was surprised and scrambled into action, and when they placed you on my chest I asked, "Is this our baby?"

I felt you come out, I felt your body slip through mine, I felt how you were still attached, and I felt your weight on me as I asked, "Is this our baby?" 

You felt bigger than I thought you would. You looked different than I thought you would. You have blonde hair and a dimple on your right cheek just like me. You knew right away what to do and you latched on and stroked my hand and I looked down at you and asked, "Is this our baby?"