even the familiar is sometimes the opposite of what you know to be true.
there are so many similarities. so many differences. three and a half years between births and my body forgets and then remembers with striking clarity what it means to be a woman giving birth, what it means to do something that feels so natural and foreign at the same time.
as they walked me into the operating room and inserted a tremendously long needle into my spine, i curled over myself like a fern and talked to my dead brother. i asked him to stay in the room with me. he was a surgical nurse, after all, and i thought he might somehow keep an eye on things for me. keep me safe.
and my son came out looking exactly like him.
we are moving in a couple of weeks. were told that we had to leave because we were having a baby. and i think who does that? who says to a family two days before they are having a baby that they have to find a new place to live? we spent the two nights before going to the hospital awake, comforting each other that everything was going to be alright, courting schadenfreude and self-medicating with chocolate and deep breathing. as bryan says: we might be fucking broke and struggling but at least we have each other.
there is grace. in the darkest of situations. friends and family who come through with trader joes gift cards and diapers and baby stuff and time and energy and enough love to blow this toxic apartment building to the moon and back. love like helium. suspended in midair, carrying color and congratulations into the sky, squeaky voiced and high-pitched when you inhale for too long. we are moving into a friend's house while she is out of town for the next year. we will have a yard. and we will finally be allowed to bbq. we will be allowed to have our windows open when the kids are home.
i don't know about you. but i don't believe in the shortage of helium. not at all.
i've been here before, recovering from surgery and struggling with breastfeeding. i have looked over the tiny body of a newborn at bryan and realized that there is something more to us than just two people who like each other's bodies and opinions and idiosyncrasies. that being in love while raising children is like winning the lottery without even playing. it's like looking back and realizing i love every mistake i've ever made because they made me end up here.
it's the same river alright. but it's different. because we're different. but it's still my river and i'm still going to swim.
*ah, to answer jenny b's question...
we came to agree upon the baby's name somewhat late in the game. it was bryan's favorite name. i wasn't sold. my favorites were samuel and oliver. as soon as he was born, i looked at his face and knew he wasn't a samuel. and dashiel oliver just sounded right. he's my dash. my little buddy.
and he looks so much like my brother, mike, that i've started to believe in miracles.