It was freezing. There was a faint light of morning dawn and the first snow of the season was falling quickly and thickly onto the roads.
The baby was enormous, this we knew, and I knew the day would be long and hard. I had no idea how hard as they slipped the IV into my vein to tell my body that today would be the day my baby would arrive. The day is a blur of pain and memories of screaming and vacuums and the amazing sight of my bruised and beautiful son.
A son! My very own perfect, precious beautiful baby boy.
And they left me alone with him. He was MINE. His name, as a separate person, added to the bassinet. I had made a BABY. Someone thought I would know how to take care of him and my terrified husband and I were left alone with a baby. Our son, Tanner.
Soon I was surrounded by the women I needed the most. Travelling 12 hours across snow covered and icy highways came my grandmother, my aunt, my mother, my sister, my cousin. To support, hug, encourage me. To welcome this little creature into the folds of our family. The first born son. The first born son in 3 generations. The perfect, amazing, incredible baby boy. For the first time I felt part of a larger process. The generations of women there to welcome my entry into motherhood. To warm me to the idea that this was a good and amazing thing. That I could DO motherhood, like they had done motherhood. I was part of them, and my baby a part of us.
Today as I celebrate the birth of my then first son, now my third son, I ache for those women. I miss what was. We are changed, some gone, some older. That moment of first love and that tight circle of love and support is cracked.
Before my son was two, and before she could meet his brothers, my aunt was taken cruelly from us. Today I miss her. I miss her wisdom and humor and love. I miss sharing stories of her two baby grandsons with her and reminiscing about when my sons were that age. I remember the gift of encouragement and love and support she gave me when I was so young and scared.
The ache from the absence of my grandma, my Nan, is enormous. My sister is coming today to help us celebrate Thanksgiving and Birthday, once again making a drive on an icy highway. Together we are feeling the raw edges of a too recent loss. We will hide the tears under smiles
for my son on the brink of adolescence.
My amazing, beautiful, first born son who brought me into the world of Motherhood. I remember the mothers who helped welcome him into our world. A dozen years later I mother half a dozen kids. I can do this motherhood thing, I just wish they were still here along the journey with me.
Happy Birthday Tanner, I miss you Nan, Happy Thanksgiving my fellow Canadians.