‘The Rainbow’ is 19 months, 4 days old today. She’s giving herself a lovely ballpoint tattoo & scribbling on a document that needs to go back to the bank. Still, it’s an improvement on last week when she went Picasso on the couch in green marker pen.
I should intervene but I figure the bank will understand so I’m just gonna watch. Today, I simply want to ‘see’ her in all her toddler-iousness. Today is an important day. ‘I done it!’ she shouts.
Goldie, was exactly 19 months 4 days old when my Angel, Gabe was born into heaven. That’s why today counts. She’s busy ‘embossing’ some baking paper on what just happens to be the leather cover of the diary which I keep in Gabe’s memory. (“Embossing’ is a big word for a 4 year old I reckon. Genius!) In that diary I talk about dancing with Goldie through my tears even when I knew the little boy in my tummy had no heartbeat anymore. The band plays on right? Two days later (on New Years day) he was finally delivered, warm, precious but Still at 10.24pm.
That was my first night away from Goldie. Ever. My tiny girl, who had only just arrived from London to this new ‘normal’ in Auckland. She was safe at her grandparents while we were in hospital learning there was such a thing as parenting after death.
SO. I didn’t get to ‘see’ her at 19 months 4 days in the way I can see the Rainbow today. Today, everything – anything – is coooooolllllll. Even graffiti. Even tantrums. Even still being woken up twice during the night. Bring it ALL on.
That watershed moment changed the course of everything for me and my gorgeous baby Daddy. It changed who we are; what we think; what we do; who we do it with and how we do it. More so, I want to say it changed us for the better. Shame it had to come in such an excruciating form but it became a path of self expansion. The ripping ourselves apart in order to come back together in an enlarged and hopefully enlightened way. So here we are: Eyes wide open. Starting a blog about squeezing as much out of this one unrepeatable life as we can.
Because now – oh, now – we just see SO much more. And this is what we learnt: that on your absolute worst day, if you try to find the best part of it it is going to require you to really start looking. Looking hard for some. damn. thing. to be grateful for. And when you start looking, you start SEEING. Seeing all of these tiny little fragments of light that make up an intensely beautiful – but sometimes painful – life.
For us, Goldie was responsible for so much of that light. Walking into her bedroom the night I came back from hospital I could smell her lovely sweet baby scent and hear her quiet breathing. I put my hand on her chest and felt it rise and fall. There she was safe and well and so full of life. I felt so incredibly grateful for her. And as the days turned into weeks she was the one who continued to laugh; play and joke and coerce us into doing it all with her. At her brothers funeral she was the one who stood up when the we played Eddie Vedder’s ‘Just Breathe’, extended her hand and said ’Dance Mummy! Dance Daddy!’ and brought us to our feet and did just that. It was for her we added glitter to Gabes’ ashes so that it felt magical instead of heartbreaking. For her we found things to celebrate again. The most OTT 2 year old party I could muster. And now all of those things are who we are.
By following Goldie, by seeing her, by getting out of bed for her we found out new normal and got to the place where we were able to let a Rainbow, the Rainbow, come. The sibling that our Goldie (who told us so emphatically ‘I love babies’) deserved. Not in Gabes’ place but in his wake.
People say, ‘oh well you have another child now’. It’s kindly meant but as if it’s like swapping out a dress that had a lipstick mark on it. Sure, it makes it easier. But it’s not a one for one swap. She’s a different baby. A different, wonderful, beautiful soul who is here to journey with us on this particular ‘Sliding Doors’ moment. But in no way does she cancel out her brother – he lives with us still. He made her possible. We are a family of five.
But today, it is she who is here teaching us the ways of ‘the Rainbow’; 19 months 4 days – even if that is just how to get marker stains off the furniture.
‘Each moment contains a hundred messages from God’— Rumi.