The other day, Luke's sitter was asking me about my "friend who takes photos." I commented on how I wish I'd known her when Luke was a baby, and his sitter reacted with a surprise. She said she thought I'd known her forever. I laughed and had to stop and think after I said that no, I'd only known her for a little over a year.
I stopped because I said it, and thought, No. That's not right. Only that long? Because it feels like SO long, in a good way. A really, really good way. Like, "Wow, I've been stumbling around this world for all this time without Beth in my life? That was REALLY DUMB OF ME."
Two weeks ago, Shane bought me this pillow for Valentine's Day.
I fell in deep, instant love with it. One, because it is so me. But also because the two birds in the nest made me instantly think of Beth and her two little birds. Oh, and the words. What greater wish could I have for Beth than for HOPE to be perched on her soul, for all of time?
I didn't know Beth two years ago, when she lost James and Jake. I remember when I first started reading her, I was impressed by her humor, in the face of grief, by the way she was so open and raw with her feelings, sometimes making me want to laugh and cry in the span of a minute. I thought she must be one of the strongest people ever. I thought she must be one of the funniest people ever.
Now I know that she's one the strongest people I have ever been blessed to have in my life. I'd tell you she's the funniest person I know, but I know me. And well, I'm pretty much the most hilarious person ever. But next to me, she's the funniest person I know.
A month or so before Tommy was born, Beth and I decided that she would be at the birth. I was so excited of course, to have a personal photographer there, but also just to have Beth there. Because I imagined laboring with Beth by my side would be, well, funny (see above). But also meaningful and something I'd never forget. A few weeks before Tommy was born, she emailed me to tell me that she hadn't been at a birth since James and Jake, and that she just wanted to let me know that, that she didn't know how it'd effect her. I remember telling her that if she felt overwhelmed at any moment, she could leave the room. Or I would make Shane leave and get us milkshakes. And I meant it. Even in the midst of my labor, I feel like I still would've done whatever I could have to make Beth feel comfortable, because I love her just that much.
As you know, Beth didn't make Tommy's birth, but she was the first person I spoke to on the phone after he was born (and 7 hours later, our first visitor). It was almost 2AM, and I told her all the details, until the nurse made me get off the phone. My dad took this photo, and I love it because I am smiling at something Beth is saying, possibly at her making fun of me for being naked.
Even though I still get a little pouty sometimes that Beth couldn't be at Tommy's birth, after he was born, I started doing a lot of reading on babies born in the caul, like Tommy. One thing that I came across is that in Scotland, they believe the babies born in the caul are marked by the angels, that they're given special watch by angels. And I know that if anyone needed a special watch by angels, it was Tommy and me the night he was born. I know that Tommy knew James and Jake before he was born, and I know that as they sent him rocketing into my arms, they made it a little extra special.
Since he was born, Tommy has been on the move. He's restless and active and he does not want to sleep. Not at night, not during the day, not ever. Except that there are two people who can almost always get him to settle and to drift off to sleep. Beth and her husband, Brian. It's amazing. He might fight and fuss, but then, he just gives in. He relaxes. He softens. His little body molds into theirs, and he SLEEPS. In ways that he just won't for anyone else, and I think he knows who they are. He remembers that two little birds told him to give love to everyone he meets, but that there were two people who needed just a little extra love.