She told me she would send a good one down. About a month before she left us, she spoke to you through a recorder, a message I haven't the courage to listen to since I heard her say it. Someday we will sit down and listen together, and you will hold me as I listen. I think if I had really believed she was dying, even as I sat in her hospice room with her, I would have made her say more and write more... to you, to Noah, to me.
I learned I was pregnant with you, dear Grace, in my mom's, your Grammy's, room at the Haverhill hospice house. Yes, I took the test in her private bathroom. I choked back my happiness throughout the day and waited to have Grandpa in the room too, before I told her, so that he could see her reaction and remember it always. She cried a little and she laughed when I told her where I took the pregnancy test: "I bet that's the only pregnancy test anyone has ever taken in this place." It was funny and the truth of it is painful. That in hospice, life only ends.
She told me she would send a good one down. She heard your heartbeat; we recorded it at eight weeks. She heard your heartbeat weeks before she left me and she smiled and whispered, weaker now,"strong heartbeat" and later, to my dad, "it's a girl."
Your Grammy sent a good one down. She sent the best one; she sent you. You, who clear my mind from everything as soon as I see you each day. You, who instead of screaming when I wipe your face, stick out your tongue and try and lick the wet cloth. You, who reaches out and grabs me around the neck and pulls me as close as you possibly can so often (what baby actually does that?). You, who giggles and laughs and then laughs harder when I pat pat pat the bottoms of the shoes I'm putting on you, trying to get you to uncurl your toes. You, who loves doggies as long as you're looking at them from my arms. You, who crawls up the stairs laughing as you look behind you when I forget to close the gate. You, who dances and sings with music always. You, who starts to laugh your contagious laugh when you see me laugh and then we're both laughing and it's all over. You say so much with your two words, "dada" and "hi....". (Maybe all any of us needs is a couple words and just a lot of expression).
I believe mom hugged you closely before I ever met you.
The other night, at your first birthday party, I got to sit next to you. The table was a circle and so we got to see Heidi and Anna, Annie and Scott, Daddy, Noah, and Grandpa and Aunt Jan all at the same time. I was the luckiest girl in the world. Noah on one side, Gracie on the other. You wore an off white lace dress and your bald head was adorned with a giant red bow, and on your feet, sparkly red shoes. I dressed my little girl in her lavish birthday dress, proudly, unapologetically, frillilly. And yes, mom's voice was of course in my head (oh, the dresses she would have found for you!). "Oh... Jaaaanet. Oh! Where did you find it?"
Her voice is so often in my head, Gracie. And I am so sorry it won't ever really be in yours. I guess I do fit into this category of Motherless Mother, but the truth is I've never felt motherless in the 19 months wherein I've technically been so. A mom, as I hope you find and never question, is with you always. Always in your head, always in some way engrained in your beliefs. And in my case, her casual pirouettes (in the kitchen, always) have become part of what I do when I'm waiting... or showing off for you guys. And her expressions, you hear those from me every day (though you don't know what they mean yet... don't worry, I still don't know what some of them mean..."I looked all around Robin's barn"... what does that mean?). Her opinion will always matter to me and I think I will always know what it is. You will know her through me, your Grammy in "heavena" (as Noah has often said), even when I'm not spelling it out for you.
|Mom and me|
|Gracie and me|