He would be four today, that boy of mine. Four years ago, he arrived, a day earlier than expected and nothing really went as expected or planned after that.
I got up early with Elizabeth today. I made coffee, and we listened to You Are My Little Bird. I sat with Elizabeth and danced with her when she needed to move. I cried ever so briefly. I remembered being home and scared with Henry, in the hospital and hopeful. I haven't listened to our morning music in a long time. I've missed it.
I had decided last night that I would make fried egg sandwiches for breakfast, because it's what Brian and I had the morning Henry was born. I know this only because I wasn't supposed to eat. I was supposed to have a planned c-section on May 30. Late on May 28, I started spotting. In the wee hours of May 29, I started having contractions, far apart, but growing closer. My OB suggested I come in and be monitored at 8 before my first appointment (I was supposed to be back and forth between the hospital and my doctor's office all morning). When Brian suggested fried egg sandwiches for breakfast, part of me was pretty sure I was having a baby that day and I knew I wasn't supposed to eat before surgery. But, I argued to myself, my doctor hadn't told me not to eat, and if we stayed on schedule I wouldn't get a chance to eat for quite a while. So I ate the fried egg sandwich, and a few hours later we decided that, yes, I should have the baby that day.
We had cake with Kathleen after lunch. A few days ago when we told her Henry's birthday was coming up she said, "I sing 'Happy to You' to Henry." I asked if we should have cake, and she said yes.
My plan, the one thing I really wanted for the day, was to work in Henry's garden. And I did. For hours. I got it all cleaned up, soil loosened, compost in. I planted the dahlias from my friend who manages to dig hers up and not kill them. I planted the delphinium and rosemary I bought for Henry's birthday this year. I moved the pinwheels and flags and stones and sign. I was sweaty and tired afterward—and peaceful. Friends brought by some flowers to plant and I tucked those in around the dahlias where the dirt looked too bare and I had been feeling like it needed something.
I like the physicality of digging, the nurturing and caring. (For my shower when I was pregnant with Henry we had wildflower seeds as a favor. When Henry was in the hospital, my aunt told me she would go work in her Henry garden and feel in a way as if she were caring for him.) I like the space to let my mind wander (to think and remember him or to just be quiet). And I like getting something for his garden each year. It takes the pressure off the idea of a gift; I simply know I will get something for his garden each May.
It was perhaps the most comfortable, peaceful birthday we've had yet. I like to think that I've just gotten to a point where they are easier or that it was because I had a plan and followed through with it, but really it was probably just a good year.
Happy birthday, my sweet boy. I wish as always you were here. What would you be like at four?