Today they hit this milestone:
Officially learning to drive a car.
and I’m learning too -
to let go of their childhood,
to let them be independent.
To trust that they can do this thing called life.
Life as I knew it has just changed forever.
I’m learning that no matter the age, you will always worry
and that’s okay
and they are too.
When I was pregnant with William, I was frightened.
Not of having a baby -
more of having a baby boy.
I struggled to get my head around it.
As much as David wanted to have a boy, I was very happy raising girls.
I knew my fear stemmed from having a wild, rough and often abusive brother
and of course a wild, rough and abusive father too.
I knew it but I didn’t figure it out until I was about 36 weeks pregnant.
When he was born
everything changed .
I didn’t care anymore because I was sure that this sweet little boy was more David and less…
well, less of me.
I loved him every bit as much as I loved the girls
and then everything changed again
because Will died
and I never got to find out what it would be like to have him as my boy.
The guilt of fearing that son in the first place often had me at the very edge of life and death in that first year.
I blamed myself,
Finally pregnant again, I willed my body to be carrying at least one boy of the two babies that were growing inside me
about six months after that
I got to meet him.
We called him Noah because it meant peace (and because it was the only name that Dave and I could agree on).
I was hopeful that he was my second chance
and I almost blew it in that very first week.
I walked into the NICU,
it had been a very bad day for Noah
and he was struggling
as most 30 weekers do
but in that instant
in exactly the same nook
in exactly the same NICU
I couldn’t see Noah
I could only see that sweet little baby
as his brother.
I’m ashamed to say
I walked out of that unit
and didn’t go back for a week.
A whole week.
I went there,
I took the kids to see them with David
but when it came time to step through those doors
I couldn’t do it.
I went and expressed like a mad woman
and lamented to the wooden sculpture of a mother protectively encompassing her newborn child, just outside the one place I needed to be more than anywhere else.
Everyone was so patient with me
and I tried
oh, how I tried
but I would always be left at those double doors a quivering, horrible mess
my midwife and friend
told me to pull myself together and see Noah for what he was;
a beautiful new lifeforce
and so I was allowed a third chance.
He’ been such an easy baby to love.
He’s easy going;
but somewhere along the way
we have moved apart.
I think it has alot to do with my not being at home much over the last four years,
spending so much time in the hospital with his sister
or maybe he just relates better to everyone else in the house
or maybe I have silently pushed him away because he is a boy
or because I am protecting my heart
or maybe it’s because boys are different from girls, in the way they show their affection
I’m not sure.
I love him more than life itself
but his preference is for his father
I could sit here and write that I am okay with that.
I don’t want forced relationships with my kids.
Time with children is so fleeting
before they are suddenly independent
and you find yourself having to untie the apron strings.
I want them to feel happy, secure, loved
but not obliged.
I could sit here and say that I’m happy to wait for the moments.
Happy to take what I can get and hold those memories close to my heart
I’d be lying.
I want him to want me first.
I want him to miss me when I’m gone, more than he misses the car that I take.
I want people to remark on the bond that we have,
the way they do when they see he and David together.
I don’t want all of it.
I can share.
Perhaps I’m too late though.
Perhaps his little soul cannot forgive me
for not seeing his beauty,
when I should have.
Even though I have no plans to stop connecting with my boy
it leaves me wondering;
maybe there are no more chances.
Heath is his name.
He is eternally sweet, for a four year old boy and danced with Ivy, in the kindy mosh pit.
When she refused him a fourth time because her father was buying her an ice block
he took it in his stride and moments later returned to her side
with his own water ice,
When you order up the same iceblock, in a four year old world,
it must be love.
Noah had been watching these interactions
and we his
with an amusement and sweetness reserved for parents of sisters with brothers
or in our case
sisters with a twin brother.
Heath and Ivy were sitting
enjoying each other’s company
when the brother sidled up to his father;
“I don’t like that boy sitting so close to my sister“, he hissed in protest to the scene.
“Does Ivy have a boyfriend?” Dave asked, leaning in close to his son, merriment dancing in his eyes.
“Yes” scowled the boy.
“What’s his name?” his father asked.
“It’s Noah” he replied, arms crossed, a deep furrow on his brow
and with that he went and sat with Ivy, almost on top of her suitor.
When there is a brother on the lookout, you barely stand a chance!
When I was little I wanted to be a nurse and a mother.
Not necessarily in that order.
Funny how things turn out, hey?
The pull to motherhood was very strong and, in all honesty, started to consume my thoughts around the time I was nineteen.
Young you think?
I was drawn to all babies.
When I held one I felt that pull, that longing to have one of my own.
Of course, due to fertility issues and miscarriages, I didn’t lay my hands on my own baby girls until I was twenty three years and nine months old.
As soon as they were born, I knew I wanted to have more. I loved the beautiful earthy smell of newborn skin. I loved how they changed and grew and became these amazing interactive beings.
I loved that they made me a Mum.
I was always of the mind (especially after I became a midwife) that women just knew when they were finished.
Society at large (mostly my father, actually) prevented me from trying too soon but when Lily came into our lives I still felt that drive to be pregnant again
and so it went that William and then Ivy and Noah were born.
After that the doctors tied my tubes and deemed my uterus closed for business
I was devastated.
For the first year I grieved the loss of my fertility, that I would never ever carry another life inside me.
I longed to have another baby.
I’d had six kids, four miscarriages and all of the trauma that goes along with it plus I had two little guys, not my own but mine, who needed love and attention but I just didn’t feel finished.
I spent nights crying trying to work out why I was so upset. Perhaps I felt that a part of me was still missing because Will had died. I wasn’t sure and I knew that another baby would not fill that terrible hole.
Ivy and Noah were not brought into this world as a stop gap.
I just loved to be a mother, I loved having those tiny new babies and I loved being part of that world.
Time has marched on.
Friends and family have fallen pregnant and I have felt that tug, that cluckiness, that want to be pregnant.
I have kept my distance and tried not to hold those sweet babies, so as to protect myself
but on the weekend I held this:
Gorgeous, Phoebe, moon goddess, second baby to my sister in law, Amy
and I felt
She is so beautiful and soft and deliciously new that I could have held her all day
but that pull has gone and I know that I won’t be having anymore babies in my lifetime.
I’m not sure when it happened, whether it was the last three years that have taken its toll on my drive to procreate or if it has been a slow acceptance that I am ready to leave those baby years behind.
and it feels
a little sad
a little like I’m leaving something important behind