Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Molding the Clay
Exhaustion, two successive pregnancies, four living children and the grief for two children living only in my memories has colored my recent days. Some days I wonder if my poorly managed days are because I didn't allow space in my life. More space for anger, sadness, tears, joy to intervene before becoming pregnant again. Some days I wonder if it is just my precious baby girl who is less demanding than our first but much more so than the other two. Is it wrong to tell her that since she's our number four daughter she is just not allowed to be demanding? Clearly, the natural order of things is allowing her to be queen bee at her ripe old age of four months which is displeasing most members of the household much of the time. I don't know children without grief so I really don't have these answers. I raised my first living child fraught with fear that she would die before the day she was born and while that fear has loosened its grip over time and through experience, it has not let me go. Nor my children, apparently. It was just a year ago March when they welcomed and said goodbye to the only baby brother they have known, Eli. They were ages 6 (almost 7), 5 and 3 at the time yet that day and all that followed have stayed with them. Our hairstylist recently had a baby boy and while eating one night we were discussing the girls' upcoming haircut with her (while she was still pregnant). Our oldest was asking a question about her and the baby and phrased it in terms of "if her baby doesn't die". Just. Like. That. It was matter of fact to her that her baby could and very well may die. Not the most uplifting dinner conversation. It required an explanation again that most babies don't die. Except in our little family where there is a great risk of babies dying. We also informed the girls that it's best not to say things like that to other people. Then there was yesterday when the girls inadvertently explained to me why they may be clamoring so eagerly, to the point of arguments and fights often, for the chance to hold their baby sister. While chatting about babies they were lamenting how they barely had a chance to hold Eli after he was born and how they are glad to have our newest little girl. The ability of children to absorb and incorporate experiences and emotions into their being should never be underestimated. They can be so amazing.