Thursday, December 5, 2013

A Very Different Baby: Reflections On My Son and Other Things

There's something that feels a lot like disappointment but isn't, and I'm no stranger to it.

I always thought I'd be married and have my kids in my early 20s. I figured I'd be a SAHM, fully supported financially by my spouse. With no money woes, of course. I imagined myself raising my family - a family of more than four - somewhere in the Florida suburbs. I assumed I'd be writing novels or at least for the major print magazines. And then I had P. and still thought I'd eventually be a SAHM but ended up in a office after believing with all my heart that we'd be a family of five only to have that dream dashed into itty-bitty pieces.

It is heavy, big deal stuff. Futures you only see in your imagination, no less real for that, can be erased over the course of years or in a single instant in a perinatologist's examination room. Where does that potential life go? It's not erased - it lives on in memory. I can still see my twins and the chaos they would have caused but there is no them. Whatever them there was went wherever medical waste goes. I don't want to know more.

Like I said, heavy. With every new advent window P. opens we get closer to the anniversary of the date I got the news that somehow indirectly redirected the flow of my life so that instead of three girls I have one girl and one boy.

That boy. Bo on the go, I sometimes call him.

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I realized one night as I was laying in P.'s bed singing her an aria there in the glow of the Dream Lite that I haven't sung to Bo in weeks. He and I have no special song because the mister does his bedtime and besides, Bo has no patience for sitting and singing the way P. has since forever. For as long as I can remember, she and I would sit cuddled in a chair or bounce aimlessly around the house while I crooned out showtunes or opera or the hits of yesteryear and she listened intently.

Today one of the worst consequences she receives is the loss of her nightly rendition of Voi Che Sapete. I had a terrible cold that lasted weeks and left me voiceless and she was despondent come nighttime. She and I, you see, have a song.

Bo has no patience for cuddling up in chairs or even for bouncing without intent. He's always reaching - for light switches or P.'s toys placed high or the Christmas ornaments. He wiggles to be put down when something new catches his eye, which is often. He hardly naps, so unusual for a one-year-old but not for the one-year-old who earned the nickname Partybaby early on in life.

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Bo has no patience for songs.

This is not the heavy, big deal stuff, but the same rules apply. Once upon a time I figured that when I had a baby we'd sit so close we'd be sharing the air and I'd sing and that baby would stare up at me in rapt attention until its eyelids fluttered and then closed. Once upon a time, there was P. and I sang, and then there was the baby in my head and I sang, too.

Now there's Bo, and I swing him around in the air like some kind of frenetic plane while he screams in laughter and I wouldn't trade him for anyone else because he is my crazy and alive and lovely Partybaby and I adore him.

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But still, in the secret quiet spaces in my head there's a part of me that's just a little sad that he and I have no song.

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