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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

the sweet and the sharp


In less than two weeks Smiler will have another birthday.

Thirteen years ago I was sat around watching the days pass by waiting for this infant of mine to make it to the outside world - the world outside of me.  
Thirteen years ago I was restless and exhausted, eager to get the pregnancy bit over with and get on with the parenting bit.  
Thirteen years ago I imagined what life was going to be like, what my child was going to be like ...
Boy oh boy did I have it sideways.
I'm not sure how much anyone really knows what to expect - I certainly didn't, but it's tricky to know how much of that was because within hours of giving birth I was being given a whistlestop tour of the neonatal intensive care unit.

So Smiler's birthday is always a day of mixed emotions for me.  He's happy and excited (even though he's not really sure what's going on) and loves the attention - the balloons, the cake, the birthday badge; the candles, the singing, the wrapping paper - he loves it all.
I love to see him engaging with the people around him - with the world around him, but deep inside I grieve for that baby I was expecting, that baby I didn't get.  
Even as I smile at his delight, somewhere way down deep inside I can feel an ache for the innocence, the naivety of the days before his birth.  A sharp stabbing reminder of way back when - way back when I knew nothing about blood clotting factors or portage or anaesthesia or makaton.  When the death of a child was an inconceivable tragedy, a desperately sad but ultimately distant event.  Not something that was ever going to touch my life.  Not something that could ever happen to my child.

I wish that I could see the smiles without remembering the tears;
enjoy the laughter without hearing the screams;
feel the warmth of the hugs without fearing their lack.

I wish that I could calmly breathe in today - just today, as it is.
No heavy dull ache from thirteen year old memories,
nor flinching at the sharp edges of the months to come.
I wish that I could just breathe.

• • • • •

2 comments:

  1. What a beautifully written post, with an equally beautiful photo to illustrate it. Happy birthday in advance for your not so little one. Thirteen, it's funny how time flies, yet that anxious day of childbirth can still feel as recent as last week.

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  2. Such a moving post, birthdays can be so bittersweet as our babies grow so quickly, what a gorgeous child! Thanks for linking up to #brilliantblogposts x

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