One Year

Sarah’s second-born, Lilah, didn’t sleep at night for over a year. Was it 18 months? It was a long time. And Sarah and I don’t talk very often on the phone because we are poorly coordinated but I remember this conversation, saying to her, How do you DO that? How do you not sleep through the night for 18 months? Not Lilah, of course, but Sarah. How did she DO that?

Apparently, you just do. You just hope for the best every night and every night and every night and every night and then one morning it happens. Apparently. It hasn’t happened around here more than four times in the past year but I have faith. Every night I lie down, close my eyes and hope for the best.

Like anything else, you just do. You don’t have a choice. It’s like I say to Trombone, you can be as unhappy as you want about washing your hands but you have to do it. He huffs and puffs and yells about it but I think he sees that I am not hypocritical about this, that I understand what it is like to have to do something you don’t want to do. Like get up in the morning, for example. Five times out of seven I don’t want to. Seven times out of seven I do it anyway.

On our way to the hospital to have Fresco, I tore a branch of fragrant cherry blossoms from the tree outside my parents’ house. Yesterday after his birthday party I took another branch from the same tree. I was being sentimental, I thought, but the more I thought about it, I realized it was more than sentimentality. It was that the cherry trees blooming again were a tangible sign that a year had, indeed, passed.

At lunchtime today I was making Trombone a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. He said, “If I lifted that jar of peanut butter, I would drop it and peanut butter would go EVERYWHERE.” I said, “Yes, probably.” It is a 1 kg jar of peanut butter. He said, “Tell me about the time YOU dropped the jar of peanut butter.”

This is a new thing with him; he tells a story and then you have to tell the same story and then he tells it again and then you keep going until you’ve had enough.

I said, “Well, when Fresco was 4 days old, I was making you and me some breakfast, some toast and peanut butter. And he was so little that he had to eat all the time. So I was nursing him and holding him with my left arm. And I tried to open the jar of peanut butter with my right arm only the lid was on too tight. So I had to put the jar between my legs like this. And then I dropped it on the floor.”

“And did it go EVERYWHERE?”

“Yes it did.”

And then he told me the story and then I told him the story and then he told me the story and then I said, “I was so upset. And at the time I thought that was the worst day of my life.”

Because it was my first day alone with two kids. Because it was day four post-birth and that is a rough day anyway. Because I didn’t know it yet but SA would be working late that night so the 6:20 pm deadline I was working toward got pushed up and that extra 45 minutes would very nearly break me. All those things together were overwhelming enough but I was also aware that it was early days. That it was a long way to the end of the Newborn Tunnel. And that the only way out was through.

One foot in front of the other.

We got here.

Can I get a hell yeah?

Dear Fresco,
Thanks for being born. You truly do light up my life.
Love, yr. mother.

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