I never wanted kids. I do not get excited about new babies. I am horrible at interacting with children. I find it difficult to come down to their level and I get bored playing pretend. If they are girls I am even worse at princess things. I grew up playing “war” in the woods, boxing with my brother and dad, and when I played Barbies she was on her third marriage, and Skipper spent every other weekend with her pretentious step-mother and her bob haircut. When Mick and I discussed a future we talked about how it was not a goal for either of us but agreed we wouldn’t rule it out. We voiced simplistic generalities about how our kid would be adorable, and athletic and all things that seem ridiculous now. We sounded self righteous using grand statements of never, or three years from now, or before I am 35. We were ignorant to assume we had any say in eternal things.
When we found out Miss Birdie was coming – I had a very difficult time. My introspection was working overtime. I was convinced I would be a horrible mother – cold and mean. About halfway through my pregnancy I began singing to her. I sang in the car, in the shower, resting on the couch – music was always playing and Mick and I would do our best to squeak out harmonies. One afternoon in the hospital we had to make an incredibly difficult decision – our energy was sorrowful and Birdie could sense it. Her comfort level was plummeting and she was maxed out on morphine. I began humming scales – simple C scales up and down, over and over. Immediately Birdie’s oxygen levels began to rise, her heart rate leveled and she squeezed my finger. If I stopped humming her numbers would plummet. I hummed and hummed and when I couldn’t do it, Mick took my place. We hummed together, we made up songs, we sang to her about Buddy and her grandparents, her aunts and uncles and whatever we could think of. When our tears took our voices our sweet nurse turned on music. Other than the moment they finally placed her in my arms, she was never that calm. As I unraveled under the weight of it all, Mick looked at me and said, “honey, you are a natural at this…only her mom would know she needed that.”
Although we do not have the stories and the photos of a one year old, we are parents, and in that moment, I was a mom. 365 days have passed, and the days are easier yet it still steals our breath. We miss our precious bird.