On Sunday I left for my first business trip since Baby N was born. My second morning away I received this email from L:
Subject: N tried to call you
He picked up the phone, was dialing, and saying Momma Momma Momma.
I called home immediately to giggle and "brrrrrrrr" with my brilliant beautiful boy. He was more interested in playing with his trucks by then but L filled me in on all of their little adventures. Plus I got updates throughout the day on my BlackBerry - noting where they had walked, what they had played, and new friends they were making in the neighborhood (an aging dachshund, a rocket ship statue...).
I'm back home now and last night Baby N called me again, picking up the phone off of the couch where I'd dropped it after a call with my brother. He pressed a number, the phone lit up, and he sternly said, "Momma! Momma!" I swooped in to hug and kiss him. "Here I am."
It's a tender confirmation of the distinction between the love I have for my son and the grief I have for the life left behind (or just on pause? in complete metamorphosis?) with his arrival. I try not to focus too much on the feelings but let them take their own shape, like a houseplant left to benign neglect. It's placed, safe enough, on a windowsill. Watered when memory strikes and then the occasional dry leaf snipped off. Until one afternoon you walk into the room greeted by this great lush thing with shiny green leaves extending to the light.