Monday, April 10, 2006
In my post-partum hospital room, the nurses ooooed and ahhhed and exchanged envious glances. Cute as she was, the fuss was not over my baby. Hell, these people crank cute babies out like a factory. The gushing was over a little gold necklace. A mother-child pendent with a tiny diamond in the center. Todd presented it to me the day my daughter was born.
Riley’s birth had been traumatic. When she was 11 days old I wound up back in the hospital with a post-op infection. I asked Todd to put the necklace in the drawer of my jewelry box, and there it remained.
"I’d wear it, but she might grab it and break it," I reasoned, as my daughter grew.
This justification was for my own benefit. Todd hadn’t noticed I wasn’t wearing the necklace, and frankly he couldn’t have cared less.
The truth is, shhhh........I didn't want to wear it.
The pendent felt like a big blinking neon sign that read, MOTHER, NOTHING ELSE. Wasn’t the screaming baby attached to my body advertisment enough?
More than once Todd arrived home from work to find me covered in Riley’s half digested breast milk, crying,
"I feel so ….so……disappeared." Disappeared described it perfectly.
"Well, we can't have that happen." Todd would say, taking the baby and sending me out the door.
I'd go for a walk or to the store, wandering aimlessly, not quite knowing what to do with the limited time away from my child. I was so tired. So lost.
Seth’s arrival two years later bought the necklace even more time in the slammer.
But something's happened over the last year. The kids are both in school half-days and I’ve begun writing again.
I've also started wearing my pendent once in a while.
It's funny, the more time I spend with the woman who almost disappeared, the more "get out of jail" passes my necklace seems to be granted?