Its early morning and I am up before everyone else, even the sun. The house is quiet and dark and it's a warm morning. We slept without blankets, windows wide open, the sound of traffic, crickets, someones dog barking. I like waking up early it feels like I am in on some kind of secret, I get to experience the day before anyone else.
I was laying in bed thinking about September, a month of birthdays for us. Elliott will be one this month, his party is on Sunday, how can a year have gone by so quickly? I remember waking up early one morning on a day not unlike this one with a feeling I could not ignore, the need to be a mother again.
A year after Stevie died, when the grieving became less a shock and more a part of my life, I decided that I needed to try and have a baby. There were all the concerns and red flags; Steve didn't want anymore children, he had a vasectomy, we were in an ugly place in our relationship, my heart was broken, I had a new business, Noah was keeping me busy, I was in my 40's....
I knew I would do this thing, it has happened before. My rational brain can protest all it wants but my heart has made a decision. I didn't know how I would make it happen I just trusted it would. I had no idea that it would be a long difficult journey and that I would have to go through much pain and heartache, that I would suffer loss again, that I would be pushed to my physical and emotional limits. Even had I known I would have still done it.
Here we are.
It was worth it, it was all worth it.
He was born on the 19th. I told Stevie if she was coming home she would need to be born on her birthday so I would know it was her. Elliott was born on the day Stevie died instead...19 is a magic number, it is Stevie's number. I think it was her telling me, "Now it's a day for celebration, I am right here, be happy mom, just be happy" She could not come home but she sent this little man, told him we had a trampoline, ate cake for breakfast, spent our summers on a stinky houseboat, that we were loud and opinionated, told him we had a big Christmas even though mom says she hates Christmas. She told him our house was full of music, bad magic tricks, family gatherings and dancing in the living room.
I sometimes look at him and wonder if he is Stevie but even if he was he is Elliott now, this is a new life, a new body, all new experiences. If Stevie came back she would want to start over. Elliott is all boy, Stevie was a girl, loved being a girl. He has big hands, a cleft in his chin, he is strong, big Pond colored eyes. He is stubborn like she was, has the same cheeks but that is the only similarity I can find.
Elliott is not an easy baby, he makes me work for it. He is stingy with his kisses, he nurses like a wild boy, he wants to drive the car, be up high, he wants to pick up heavy stuff, he loves gears and gadgets, he loves to be outside and once he starts walking (he is almost there) I am in trouble, he will be a kid on the move.
He is himself and I love getting to know him.
I imagined a little girl with Stevie's eyes and she would get to do all the things that Stevie didn't get the chance to. We would start from the beginning and I would be the perfect mom and she would have days filled with bike rides, roller skates, camping trips, she would learn to ski, I would fill her room with new books, a down comforter, a night light...
Instead there is this man baby with little muscles who can move tables and pick up heavy rocks, a little super hero. We sleep in Stevie's bed he kicks all the covers off and bites when he nurses at night. He wakes up early demanding milk and starts the day off climbing things. Naked he looks like a baby gorilla.
God I love that boy.
Thank you Stevie he is perfect.
This month I will celebrate Elliott's first birthday with a house full of friends and family and a pic-nic themed party. Then we will remember Stevie and go to visit her, bring flowers and cake and I will try to imagine her being 26...then it will be Noah's 14th birthday, a trip to the ice skating rink with a handful of friends, pizza, and birthday cake.
Time is moving so quickly.
The sun is up now and my little hercules is stirring. It is time to start the day.