Fifteen years ago today, my life’s path was forever altered when our first daughter was born. She came into the world in an unexpected manner -breech, via a C-section- and has been doing unexpected things ever since!
I can remember exactly where I was in my life then. My husband and I were six months into the ownership of our first home in the suburbs of Boston. I was in my late 20’s, on the fast track in my career, yet still tentative and unsure of my abilities in so many areas of life. Somehow, having a baby then seemed like a good idea.
And she arrived. I remember the first nights home with her. Due to my C-section, we were sleeping in our extra bedroom that was on the ground level of our house, so that I could avoid the stairs. I remember her waking up every few hours to breastfeed and rocking in my glider, feeling totally inept and unable to protect her from the dark, scary forces that I was sure were lurking in the black darkness outside the bedroom window.
We had the summer to settle in and the world of being a parent started to feel a little less scary. I joined a new moms group to remind myself that I wasn’t crazy and not be alone in my struggles. I took long stroller walks with my new baby. At times I would walk through a small cemetery that was near our neighborhood. I remember one day, near the end of my maternity leave, noticing a headstone that I hadn’t read before. Based on the dates of birth and death, it was for a baby that had died several months before its first birthday. I stood there, frozen still, in my denim shorts overalls, red t-shirt and white canvas sneakers. I couldn’t even begin to imagine the pain and grief that that family must have experienced. I looked down at my own several month old baby and cried, trying to imagine how I would cope if I ever lost her. I made a silent promise to myself that day to not forget. To not forget this family and baby that I had not known, by reminding myself to hold and cherish every day that I had with my own baby.
And now a lifetime (hers so far) has passed. In some ways it feels like so much has filled those years, and in some ways they’ve flown by inexplicably fast. Looking forward, we’ve got a driver’s permit and a sophomore year of high school in our very near future. But for now, I will say a prayer of remembrance and gratitude for the blessing that all my children are still here on this earth with me.