It is April. I just turned another year older. But I want to write about March. I waited for March for a very long time, longer than the actual time I spent longing for it, because time moves at a slow and painful pace when your heart is aching.
The wait for March really began at the beginning, in that ultrasound clinic when they told me that my baby hadn't formed completely.
I waited to learn more. I waited to meet her. And when she came I dove into our love for her and waited for March, when I was sure the crying would end as the blossoms appeared. I waited for her surgery date to be announced, and for surgery day to come and for surgery to be over. And then I waited the longest wait, for her to recover and come back to me... a baby I recognized. Through doctors appointments, hours of crying, hospital visits, surgery, and each and every pump session I would repeat my hopeful mantra: one day it will be March, one day it will be March, one day it will be March...
Lucy's hungry cries and endless feedings still echo in my ears, especially when I lay down to sleep at night. A blessedly short chapter in our lives is over, though it felt like an eternal winter.
And March did, indeed, arrive as I had planned. With cherry blossoms blooming, my biggest turning four and my littlest turning six whole months with the perfect amount of chub to show for it.
How lucky are we?
Now my days are filled with the sound of her ridiculous gurgle. She gurgle-growls at me all day long. She throws in some happy squeals for good measure, but mostly she is all about the gurgle. She sits and rolls and madly flaps her wings up and down. One day she might take off.
I remember how she used to flash me a wide smile, ever so brief, in the midst of hours and hours of hungry cries and gas pains, showing me what a happy girl she really was if only she could be satiated and comfortable. I saw that smile all day when March rolled around.
She is the perfect heft in my arms as I pull her to me. She sits, agreeably, every morning to peruse books after her giant no-cry (!) morning bottle.
She gobbles up her puree in a way her sister never did as a baby. She eats with gusto until it begins to ooze out of her nose, as it does because of the wide cleft in her palate. Then she sneezes and whips her head back and forth and does what she can to dislodge the bothersome goo from her sinuses. And then she goes back for more. And I cheer every time. Her sister used to snatch the spoon from my hand every time I ever tried to feed her - and I admired her feisty independence. Lucy sits with her little wings out hovering in the air, and waits like a baby bird for another bite - and I swoon at her easy cooperative nature.
She does the most ordinary baby thing that kills me one hundred times a day. She grabs at the soft cotton of her receiving blanket and rubs it all over her face. If I gently tug it off she'll flash me smiling eyes and pull it back across her face and nuzzle until she's done. When she's tired or wanting to be held she does the same trick, but uses my neck. And every time I become a puddle of a mother.
Her first surgery is behind us, but more are lined up down our path. I feel a cold knot of dread deep in my belly whenever I think of her palate repair, not yet scheduled but happening sometime before October. And though I feel that knot tighten a few time a day, I am busy admiring the cherry blossoms and watching my girls grow leaps and bounds by the hour.
I can hear the birds singing and the soft baby-gurgle of my six month old. Yesterday, Soleil ran through Butchart Gardens breathing giant gulps of spring air and exclaimed with four-year-old excitement, "MOM! It's spring time and I can't believe it! Aren't we lucky, Mom? I'm not even wearing a coat!"
And we talked about how very, very lucky we are.