Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Bridge

Charlie's been sleeping happily on my chest for the last hour or so. He has a poopy diaper, but after such a rough night, I'm loathe to wake him up with a change. Bad mom, right? Yep. I'll pay for it when the rash sets in. Poor baby.

There's so much to say about a birth. Though having a lot to say is not the same as having a lot worth sharing. I've thought about writing down the blow by blow of Charlie's birth (all 22 hours of it). I've thought about writing a vivid description of my crazy new mother hormones. I've thought about writing about the trauma of squirting ointment into a newborn's left eye four time a day. I've thought about writing a post solely concerning postpartum nutrition and exercise. Can I just say how glad I am to have my body back? I could write a manifesto on diapers, or the simple delight of rolling over in bed. Or a darn good essay just about Charlie's hands. Which are exactly like mine. Which I love.

But this morning I think I'll address Charlie's role as a bridge of sorts. That's the word Mike used when Charlie was just a few hours old. I guess the word "bridge" is misleading because Charlie's not connecting anything to something else. But his birthday is sandwiched between two big days for Mike and me.

I was admitted to labor and delivery on Friday, August 17, my parents' 28th wedding anniversary. In fact, that morning, a few minutes after my water broke at 7 am, I texted my parents, "My water broke! Happy anniversary!" I was going to give my parents their first grandbaby as a present, thus clinching my position as favorite child. Score.

When we found out that Charlie was due on August 23, a few people from Mike's family wondered if Charlie would arrive on the anniversary of the passing of Mike's dad, August 19. Not that it would be a negative or upsetting thing if he did. But I think we all wondered about the baby sharing his birthday with such a sad day for the Lemon family.

And so, with the utmost diplomacy, Charlie came on August 18, between a very happy occasion and a very sad one. I spent a good part of my labor thinking of my parents, and the choices they made almost three decades ago to start their family and bring me into the world. I also spent much of Charlie's first few days thinking about his grandfather, Simms, whom he'll never know in this life, and mourning for my husband.

Charlie serves as a reminder of the swift passage of time and the fleeting nature of mortality. I know, because we've discussed it, that my mom has very strong memories of my birth, her first child. And I know, because we've discussed it, that my husband deeply regrets not sharing his experiences as a new father with his dad.

This general line of thought makes me pretty melancholy, yes it does. But it also makes me rejoice for the blink of an eye that is the life, and for the chance I have to admire my cute baby and savor being his mother. I know this time will be gone before I know it.

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