The Anniversary Clock that couldn't.
Today is Hawk's 4th birthday, which, to all you parents out there, is more than just a day of celebration. It's also a day of remembrance. Like, I'm sitting here at 7:49 am listening to the first rain in months and thinking, "Four years ago today I was in the hospital with Hawk nestled in my arms and happily latched onto my boob; Rooster was passed out from sheer exhaustion on the tiny little hospital bed to my left, his broad shoulders painfully folded in; nurses were coming in and out checking on my bleeding, asking me how I felt; and my heart and soul were realigning with the weight and honor of motherhood."
Yeah, so that's what I was doing on October 9th four years ago and today? Today I'm alone in a dark apartment. A massive rainstorm is bathing the parched ground outside and not a crack of sky is evident. I can hear birds calling and raindrops on rooftops, the ticking of my keyboard and the purring of the cat. But, I am alone.
Hawk is with his grandparents this morning. I just called to wish him a happy birthday on the speaker phone. Apparently, I woke up the whole house. "I can't talk right now because I'm too sleepy" he says in his Jersey accent. -- Goddamn, I love that little guy. -- But more importantly here, even if he weren't with PapaMimi, he'd be with Rooster. He'd be apart from me. On his birthday.
My life is so different from four years ago it seems almost unrecognizable. The last month or so has been more brutal than all the rest. I'm having a terrible time of reconciling my life today with my hopes from yesteryear. I don't regret the divorce, but I regret needing one. I wish that my life and my choices were the right ones for me and that my family were intact. That I could get all my needs met and still be a "party of 3", be with my baby whenever I wanted to be, and safe with someone.
I don't want the old life I had, but I'm in such a place of flux. I have no anchor, no base. I'm in a transition and could be for years.
For our first anniversary, my parents gave Rooster and me an Anniversary Clock (this thing that you wind once a year and its pendulum twists). The story goes that if it stops "ticking" then it's bad luck. I'll never forget the day it did just that. I laughed and said to my husband, "Oh my gawd! Does this mean we're going to get divorced?? Say it isn't so!" And he laughed warmly and said it was just a mechanical malfunction. We never did get that clock to go for an entire year.
And yet, I wouldn't trade anything for Hawk. I'll take all the broken clocks, the lonely mornings, the tears, the struggles and tribulations for one minute of knowing that kid. I have to consciously beat down thoughts of losing him and remember to live my life with him as if we'll make it to 70 and 102 together. The love and tenderness I feel for his little gassy, funny, precocious, sweet, thoughtful, and mercurial butt is all-consuming, all-defining.
Without trying to sound too dramatic, in some small way, motherhood is the negative space to my Me. It shapes me without being me. And so that makes today even more important because in a way I was born today, too. It's still Hawk's big day, but I will also take this quiet morning alone to open my own little present to myself: knowing him and loving him.
Being awesome requires eye protection.