Posted in Wisdom of Youth

Baby Blue

I’ll never find anything here,” I mumble to myself as I pull up to the curb across from the second-hand store.   I’ve ridiculously waited till a few hours before my blessingway (a spiritual kind of baby shower) to shop for that special something.

I knew what I wanted:  a dress, in the same shade of blue that kept shining in my mind’s eye this last trimester.

It was strange to be so infatuated with this particular color– given that I was having a girl.  Medically speaking, I didn’t know this for sure, but everyone thought so. Her name would be “Lila”, after my grandmother.

Don’t say that Mom! “ my four-year old chided from the back seat.  I had forgotten he was there.  “You’ll never “manifest” what you want like that!” he offers in rebuke of my pessimism about finding a dress.

I had been listening to the Wayne Dwyer’s “Manifest Your Destiny” in the car during the last weeks of my pregnancy, and my son (the original “Lila”)  had apparently taken it all in from the backseat.

You’re right, Lloyd,” I say, attempting to match his optimism as we cross the street and enter “Twice Blessed,” the used clothing store. I feel more bouyant as I began working my way through the racks.   After twenty minutes of searching, however, it’s pretty clear that I’ll be leaving empty handed.

Time to head home,” I call to Lloyd, who was doing his own searching on my behalf.

Wait Mom!  I found something,” he says, and I turn with the tiniest bit of hope in his direction, only to see him holding a bold, tie-dyed tank top.

I don’t think that’s my style honey,” I say, too discouraged to be more careful of his feelings.

Please Mom, try it on!” he presses.   Lloyd had recently grown obsessed with tie-dyed clothing so I force myself to indulge his enthusiasm.  “Now you can wear tie-dye like me,” he says.  “I’ll even buy it with my own money.”

I force a smile as we get in line at the register, while inwardly I scold myself for making this hasty attempt at finding an outfit for such an important occasion.  I don’t know what had gotten into me.   I just kept seeing myself wearing this pale blue color that had become an obsession.   It was the same blue of my grandmother’s ring that I had taken to wearing.

Voices interrupt my thoughts as Lloyd counts out two dollars and fifty cents from his purse.  “Can we see that?” ask two women in front of us, pointing to a collection of outfits on the wall above the check out counter.  I always forgot to look there.

My eyes follow the clerk as she lifts the pole to hook the item they had spotted:  a gorgeous pale blue dress.  My heart stops as “my” dress passes in front of me and into another’s arms.

That was the dress,” I gasp to Lloyd, as the women make their way toward the fitting rooms.   I feel sick to my stomach.  The dress that I had imagined actually existed, here, at the used clothing store, and I had missed it.

Sorry Mom,” Lloyd says, squeezing my hand, and feeling less excited himself as he hands me my new tie-dyed top.

I linger a moment longer near the counter, hoping the dress won’t fit either of these women, and then I drag my feet toward the door as they get in line to purchase it.

As I placed my hand on the door, their voices once again caught my attention.    “Look, there’s a stain on this,” one says to other.

I turn in slow motion, and watch in utter relief as they hand the dress back to the clerk and head out the door past me.

In one dramatic sweep, I return to the counter and within moments, this beautiful godsend in my hands.  I quickly examine it for its miraculous stain and find a relatively small one at the back of the dress, near the hemline.

I tremble as Lloyd and I move toward the fitting room.  Although this dress was everything I could want–blue billowy cotton; simple, yet elegant, with subtle beadwork on the bodice—what were the chances it would fit me?

At five foot two and shapely, I was a hard fit when I wasn’t nine months pregnant; and this wasn’t even a maternity dress.  What was I thinking!

I could hardly breath as I lifted the dress over my head.  Lloyd smiled at my flushed face as I stepped inside and then bent down so that he could zip me up.

It fits!” he said. And it did. Perfectly!  See Mom, I told you that you could manifest what you want!” said my four-year guru about the blessing of this dress.

Two weeks later I gave birth to a baby boy with eyes the same shade of blue.

Advertisements
Posted in Milestone Moments

A Love Story Stretched Thin by Time

Kelly Salasin

It felt like I waited a lifetime for my son, though it was truly only a handful of years. Once my clock began ticking though, each minute without this child was achingly painful, and each month without conception was another grave disappointment. Then, two promising pregnancies were followed by the devastation of miscarriage.

When a child did take root in my belly, past the six-week mark, and then over the steep hurdle of the first trimester, I broke down in tears- finally allowing myself to believe, just a little bit, that I might get to be a mother.

I loved those months with a baby inside me, feet tucked up under my ribs- both of us competing for space. I remember lazy summer afternoons lying in bed waiting for him to “appear” on the stage of my belly, and my delight with each passing of an elbow or foot.

My labor came on fast and early one rainy August morning. The baby was breech- also a surprise- as we had planned to birth at home. I dilated the last couple of centimeters in the back of an ambulance as it climbed over the mountain to the nearest hospital. Once again I felt the fear that I might not get to be a mother after all.

By the time I was wheeled into the operating room, the baby was fully engaged, and they literally had to tug him out of me. I only saw him for a moment before they whisked him away to the examining table. Two hours passed before they would release me from recovery so that I might hold this long-awaited child who looked so familiar.

Later when the nurses offered to take him “so that I could get some rest”, I refused. I didn’t want to spend another moment apart from him, ever again. I held him in my arms as much as I could, and I was agonized to find that hospital protocol prevented him from spending the night in my bed because of the anesthesia I had received. I lay awake most of night gazing at him in the glass bassinet beside me.

On the third day, I resigned myself to letting the nurses take him for a bath so that I might have a shower myself. As the water poured over my empty belly, I began to cry. I felt like I had lost the sweet friend inside. I began to panic and had to very firmly remind myself that the baby that I had been waiting for was just down the hall.

My legs were still wobbly from the surgery, but I hurried back as fast as I could to be certain he was real. Only he wasn’t there. I waited a few moments and then called the nurses who told me that he was under the warming lights and would be back soon. The seconds without him passed like hours, and I rang the station again. “I need him now,” I said with a desperation that surprised me. “I’ve waited years for this baby, and I don’t want to wait anymore.”

The next afternoon, I left the cocoon of the hospital to bring this tiny being home. I spent those early weeks holding him almost every moment of every day. “Sleep when the baby sleeps,” my friends told me, but I couldn’t close my eyes. I couldn’t stop gazing at this miracle.

Almost a decade has passed since that time, and the depth of that love affair has been spread thin by soccer games, and lost teeth, violin lessons, playdates, and a myriad of laundry and dishes and carpooling.

It’s extraordinary to look back at my journal from those early days and be reminded of how intensely I felt. And to remember how painful it was when I first realized that the gift of motherhood came with the price of countless goodbyes- beginning with the separation at birth and stretched out over a lifetime. If I love this child this too much, how will I ever be able to do it, I anguished.

That awareness is no longer a part of my day to day life, but every now and then it creeps back up on me and I’ll feel that old familiar tug on my heart. Last week was a big one. It had started out as just another school day: rushing out the door, trying my best not to holler at him for taking too long to tie his shoes or for forgetting all his things.

On the drive to school, I drilled him on his spelling words, and then spent our last moments together in the parking lot having him write out those words that had stumped him. Just then, two young girls stopped their play to stare into our car.

What are they looking at, I wondered? And then I knew. They stood there eyes unblinking as my son and I kissed goodbye, and they followed him with those eyes onto the playground and down the hill where he met his friends at the tether ball court. He never even noticed. But I did.

There it was, another tearing, another good-bye that I would have to face someday–another woman. There would be years perhaps before this one came upon us, but the tugging had begun, and it felt like a needle had pierced my heart.

Posted in New Mother

Letter to a Newborn

by Kelly Salasin

(from my journal, September 1995)

“An angel sleeps upon my breast and dreams in my arms.”

My first thought when they showed me your face was, “He looks familiar,” and I knew you were mine.

I’m finally holding the hand of my child, touching his feet, watching his eyes discover the world, his fingers discover my breast!

People say to sleep while you sleep, but I can’t stop looking at you.  With all of  your dreams crossing your face–in squeaks and smiles and frowns, I’m afraid I’ll miss something.

We are lovers, spending every hour together–sleeping, eating, showering, smiling, crying–inseparable. We are everything to the other.

Sometimes I’d give anything to step back in time to the moment where you are placed into my arms–and stay there with you forever–like lovers who jump into the fires of hell rather than be separated.

I have always felt our separation.  Loving you is filled with the pain and joy of it.  Motherhood must be a series of goodbyes, each one letting go to another piece of our togetherness.

If I love you too much, will I ever be able to say goodbye?

How is it that we are lovers, but only for such a short time? (a metaphor for all human relationships and time.) Motherhood is such a sacrifice and such a lesson in life–full of its deepest joys and greatest losses, reminding us that living is a blessing.  What a gift you are!

I pray that you will always know my love and I yours, that our life together will not be filled with regret.

But I guess parenthood will be another lesson in love–realizing that although we have been bound in the most holy of ways–through flesh and blood and milk from my breast–we will some day be ripped apart, just as you were from me at birth; and my job, will be

to let you

go.

(Oh God!  What did I get myself into to!)