Sunday, June 12, 2011

Weekend Remembering

The other morning I was out running with some friends. If you've ever run long distances, you know how important well-fitting clothing and good biomechanics can be. Bodyglide usually works well to remedy the latter for me, but Saturday I made a rookie mistake with the former. Without getting too personal, I had to do a quick deposit of an article of my clothing in a Dumpster mid-run. While my friends were shielding me as I made a quick change, I joked how I was going to get caught, um, with my pants down, and the headline in the newspaper would read: "Mother of two arrested for indecent exposure."


Make that, "Mother of three who's a fucking moron."

You know. It just slipped out. Mother of two. Fuck, man. I was with two friends who know my Calla life intimately, and I'm almost positive they knew what I meant. But I felt like a total asshole as the words were leaving my mouth.  I could insert a million reasons here, but really, it doesn't matter.  I was thinking two and said two. 

Forever my vocabulary will be filled with qualifiers, spoken or not. Forever my life is filled with this missing.

On that run we did a loop of the cemetery and visited Calla's marker. It was sprinkled with grass clippings from a recent mow. There are, what appear to be, several young soldiers on her hill, buried there, protecting her. I noticed for the first time another stone, from September of 2010, Quinn Patrick, "Born to Heaven."

Mothering a dead baby is so strange.

This weekend was the big dance recital. My mother-in-law has a dance studio and my sister-in-law and she teach most of the classes. Along with the other teachers and helpers they really do an amazing job every year putting on the show. It's fascinating to me, who danced exactly one year in my whole life (as an ADULT! I was IN the RECITAL--another story for another time), to watch this production and realize the hours and sheer talent that goes into its execution.

But it's hard, you know? I find myself choking back tears watching all these beautiful girls and young women twirling and tapping and leaping across the stage. There are a few boys up there, sure, looking cute and dapper. And yes, it's an assumption that our little girl would be enamored with the tutus and tap shoes. But I can imagine, right? And the imagining and the missing together are so very painful.

As I was watching and wondering and crying just a little, I was also holding baby O. And just when I thought I was going to have to leave the auditorium, he put his little head on my shoulder and hugged me.

It's okay.


  1. Sadly, that is probably what the headline would have said, even if you said three. And, yes, mothering a dead baby is strange.

  2. Oh yes, the imagining and the missing, that's my life too, and it sucks. x

  3. I just wrote a comment that I forgot to do the password to, so I just pressed publish and clicked off. *sigh*

    It made me laugh because I have ditched my skivvies here and there on runs, rides and whatnot, so I get that fear of making headlines on the police beat or on the weird news of yahoo or something. I was in a place this weekend where I was asked what I do for a living, followed up by how many kids I have. I felt stuck. Three or two? What answer do you really want? Because the three is followed up with how old are they? Someone asked me what my tattoo was and I just said, My daughter's name. And they never asked me how many children I have or if she was alive, and I just didn't explain it, and that felt good. Lucia is my daughter. Dead or alive. Sometimes I just don't want to qualify it. I have two daughters. One son. One dog. A good husband. Sorry to go on. Guess there is a blog post here.

  4. I do this all the time. I have said countless times in this pregnancy, "number two". Duh. Especially given this is the third time I have done this in three years. And I wonder why other people don't even bother to remember, when I don't seem to be able to manage myself.

  5. So I was wondering as you said that at the Dumpster: Does she expect that we expect her to say two? Of course not, but since you aren't able to mother three, even though you are the mother of three, I can see how your brain might spit out "two" on the fly. Especially since you were making up a headline - we use headlines as short, quick snippets that don't require too much thought. You'd have to explain the headline to all the readers who'd say "Three? I thought she had two boys." As you've noted before, language fails us in times we need it most.

  6. I think there is no one-size-fits all answer, you say what feels comfortable and natural in the moment and fits the situation. It doesn't minimize Calla at all, it's just that different situations require/trigger a different response.