The Sunday before Henry's birthday, I thought I was doing so well. I sized up the baptismal font and the triptych of memories and thought, more layers, not so hard.
I should know that when I have thoughts like this it's time to be ready for something to hit. I thought it would be his birthday, which had its moments to breathe through but wasn't terrible. I thought I was good, through that, smooth sailing this year. And then today, I found my self sitting in church on the verge of tears for no particular reason. Later, alone in the car at a stoplight, I felt them well up again, but as I turned, grumbling at the truck in front of me going half the speed limit, I found myself sobbing in little gasps, no tear, just these dry, sudden intakes. Where did that come from? I don't know.
Maybe it was a delayed let down after his birthday.
Or the kids in the car next to me in the parking lot. I thought I recognized them from church. That family of the mom who looked ready to burst as I was harboring my new and still secret pregnancy in late 2006.
Or reading back over my own story over the past two nights.
Or telling the story of being recognized as Henry's mom three years ago (how much that meant to me)
Or seeing yesterday the photos of our local Down syndrome group's picnic, an event we took Henry to when he was just two weeks old.
Maybe my plateau simply got to a critical point where I needed to crack again to heal.
I don't know. I don't know why I always want to know why, specifically, but I do.
Later as I was working on dinner, a cardinal in his glorious red, landed in Henry's tree and sat and sat and sat. Where did that come from? I don't know that either. It's not uncommon to have cardinals here, but I haven't seen one in this tree before. I watched him and breathed again. Coincidence that on this hard day, a little red bird came twice to my window? Maybe, but it felt like a sign—a wave or a smile from Henry.