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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Love Song

Today is Ruby's second birthday. Two years ago today she was pulled out of an opening in my side( just like the Buddha) and lain on my chest. I will never forget the instant recognition, the only time I have ever met someone I already knew so intimately. After that, they tell me, I spent the next 4 hours laying on the table while panicked nurses and my uber competent hippie doctor tried very seriously to stop me from bleeding to death. " We have to do a routine C-section. Don't worry, we do them all day long. It'll be over in 20 minutes."
After 4 hours of surgery I said goodbye to my left ovary and my entire broad ligament and hello to motherhood. Not a bad trade really.
Now she's talking in complete sentences, mostly about cake.
Since someone has already elucidated everything there is to say about the unparalleled immensity of parental love, I won't try to describe what I feel for my child.
I will say this, though. The care and love one gives to a child is an exhausting pain in the ass that is absolutely and completely and totally worth it. I saw an old friend of mine the other night who is five months pregnant. She has responded to pregnancy like I did, like she is allergic to it. I recognised that look in her eye, and I remembered the despair of unrelenting sickness and pain for 10( yes, it's actually 10 months) I read about a tribe somewhere that say your ancestors begin digging your grave when you conceive, and filling it back in when you deliver. In a very real sense that is true. For many women it is the closest they have ever come to death, and you can feel it with every step. Any number of things could go wrong at any moment, and just the fact that you are carrying a being that is both here and not-here, alive but not yet living, puts you in a very strange and supernatural sort of place.
Luckily for me and my friend, technology has come up with wonderful devices lately that make it safer than a root canal to pop in and deliver your baby. But they haven't come up with much to help ease the discomfort of the nine months preceding the actual birth. You're on your own for that part.
I wanted to give her a glimpse of what was in store for her. I wished I could make her feel for one minute what it's like to have your toddler's perfect tiny hands grasp your fingers as she says," Come on Mommy!" to show you something she finds exciting( probably cake, or a picture of cake)
I can close my eyes at any moment and call up the smell of her breath as I kiss her goodnight, or the downy feel of her cheek. For some reason I am enchanted by her perfect little teeth when she laughs. If I think about the way she mournfully told me that " A boy bite my boobie at school!" it will make me smile, even in traffic.

Every day there is something new that inspires a feeling of total joy somewhere deep in my heart. These moments carry me through the hardest times, like tiny doll sized torches through a dark night. They are small, but there are so damn many of them that they light you up.
I wish I could give my friend that sense, just for a minute. I know that if she could feel a minute of the love she will feel for her baby she could bear this awful, frightening time of her pregnancy so much easier. But I can't. I can only attempt to explain it to her in these well worn cliches. Since I can't come up with any novel way of my own to express how happy I am on my daughter's second birthday I will quote someone else.
" I can hear her heartbeat a thousand miles, the heavens open every time she smiles."

Happy Birthday to me.


  1. thank you for writing this, sunny. i just looked at all the first photos of baby olive...and then i went and sniffed my sleeping child. happy birthday to you both!

  2. your writing is insanely warm and wonderful to read.