Two years ago today, Oliver came into the-and-my world. I will never forget the first time I heard him. There was a child wailing in the delivery room, and I heard it as if it were far off in the distance. I did not believe it to be mine. That can’t be mine, right? There must be someone else in here. That shouldn’t be mine.
I was sure I didn’t want a baby. I was sure I didn’t want a dog of my own. I was sure I didn’t want a husband.
Babies cry, and sometimes grow up to hate you. And sometimes get addicted to drugs. Dogs die. No matter how much they love you. And husbands? They treat you like shit. The ones that don’t end up leaving you are the ones you really want to. THIS. Was my worldview.
It’s six a.m. In Iowa. March 25th.
I crawled out of bed a little after five, and went into the living room. It was dark, aside from the yellow glow creeping in from the front porch light. Layers of darkness. You can make out the shape of the lamp, and the shape of the rug, and you can step around the table and over the dog because there are varying degrees of darkness and shade. You can work around them because you can partially see and because your body has learned how to know a space.
I didn’t want things because I couldn’t see around darkness and my body only knew a certain kind of space.
I remember the first time I saw Oliver, too. On the screen during the ultrasound. Nic was standing on my right side. And suddenly, there he was. In black and white and up on a screen high in front of me. A baby. My baby. Without any sound, and still filled with fear, my eyes started leaking. I was not crying. Believe me — I have been crying at least once a day every day since I was born. This was not a cry. This was…my body, leaking. Overflowing. In shock. Oh my dear god what have I done?
I have learned a new way to live. A way that sees darkness and acknowledges darkness and knows how to walk through darkness — but that seeks light and gives power to the light and prefers the light.
There has been so much light these past two years. It’s like there’s a hole in the top of our roof — where those sun rays that you see sometimes that look like ladders or lines straight to heaven — are coming directly through. Sometimes, I stop and gasp. My life wasn’t supposed to look like this. It wasn’t supposed to feel so good.
I don’t write to Oliver, which…strikes me as odd. I thought I would. I’ve written to him only once, shortly before he was born and it was a tiny little springtime poem.
But, Oliver, my son: thank you. For helping my eyes adjust to the light.