Writing has been on my heart for days and days. It’s my mind that won’t cooperate. Stymied by the enormity of trying to write all that has been these last weeks, these months of anticipating Anna’s birthday. It’s actually a few days after the fact as I sit here, but the content is representative of pre-birthday. So I’m fudging.
It used to be that my emotions were the only reality that mattered, nothing superseded them. So powerful there was no choice but to spit them out all over this blog in order to open up some space in me to do something else. Now, a year later, I’m running away from those emotions by doing everything else. But our little girl deserves time, and space, and presence. Certainly she received that on Wednesday, but to not carve space here as well in the venue in which she has existed for me and so many all this time...well.
For months I dreaded her birthday. Literally since June. The very thought seized my insides and sent my mind into panic. ‘What would we do?’ ‘What could possibly be good enough?’ ‘What if it isn’t good enough?’ ‘What if I regret whatever we did or didn’t do?’ ‘What in god’s name does a couple do for a baby-who-isn’t that is enough enough? For us? For her? That isn’t so little as to not honor her but not so big as to turn people off?’ I think mostly I just didn’t want to face it. The horror of trying to pull off a first birthday for an absent child is as unthinkable as every hour we faced in the hospital from 11:26 PM onward. The pressure as a parent who loves and wishes for that child with every ounce of body and soul to commemorate her in a manner that is worthy of her, that is satisfactory to us and the others that miss her, that is well-received by the friends and family who have held us up all this time, and that is not in poor taste to the world at large?! Ugh. Not to mention the significance of the “One Year Mark” for Brad and I in general. But that’s another entry.
So I avoided with extreme success, which only added to the pressure. (One would think I’d be developed enough after all my years of self-improvement quests and therapy to take the reins and be proactive in my dealing, but in fact, no.) Still. At the end of the day, in partnership with my husband and encouraging feedback from close friends in those couple of weeks leading up to the 15th, I think we made it. The buttons and bracelets made it on time, Brad and I used our blizzardly Saturday to address and stuff envelopes, he braved the roads to get them to the post office and between myself, my Mom and my friend we delivered baskets to my workplaces Monday. With a sigh of relief, it seems we did it. What people decided to do with the buttons and bracelets was up to them. But as Anna’s Mommy and Daddy, we did everything we knew to do to show our love for her, and to encourage our world to remember her. And that....feels....as close to being a good Mommy as I’ve felt all year. Which may be what I was looking for all along.