Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Today

"Gather up your tears, keep them in your pocket. Save them for a time when you're really gonna need them." - The Band Perry
If the world was as it should be, I'd be ducking out of work early today to pick up my three-year-old from school, on our way to celebrate at Chuck E Cheese. She'd be all riled up from the birthday cupcakes we'd made together the night before. She'd insist on breaking the egg and I'd tousle her hair as I wiped up egg from the side of the counter.
When I tell people that today was supposed to be Lydie's birthday, they usually make some remark about her due date. It's not her due date. Her due date was precisely one week before Christmas. December 18th. I'd shuttered when I heard that date, thinking of how poorly we planned. Thinking of how the poor girl would have her birthday mixed into Christmas and her poor mom would have to buy both birthday gifts and Christmas gifts in December. (My birthday is 6 months and 2 days after Christmas and as a child, I always appreciated the perfect spacing of gifts). Those were my concerns.
But instead, back in the mid-summer, we had scheduled a c-section at 39 weeks and 1 day, due to my emergency c-section with her brother just 20 months before. My doctor didn't do VBACs and even though I "grieved" never giving birth vaginally, I decided to choose the harder delivery for me and the safest delivery for my child. My doctor thought I had a bit of PTSD from his labor and running down the hallway to the OR when his heartrate plummeted and thought having a date on the calendar early would help. She gave me the options of December 11th and December 12th. I chose the 12th since her brother was born on April 4th. Thought it would be cool to have babies on 4/4 and 12/12. So the OR was booked for my daughter's arrival five months early, and unlike the majority of moms, I "knew" what day (and time) my child would be born months in advance.
Leading up to that day, I thought about really important things like whether I should take a shower before we left at 4:30 am for the hospital or whether the 20 minutes of extra sleep would be better.
I never saw it coming that instead we'd hold her memorial that day.
Now December 12th holds no marks on the calendar.
Blank.
Just a regular day.
But I know. How could I forget? Today is supposed to be my daughter's birthday.
There will be no Chuck E Cheese today. No cupcakes, no singing.
Just the lighting of the candle, the chorus of "I love you, Lydie" around the dinner table, as there is every night, before the knocked over milk cups and the dropped bowl of corn on the floor and the demanding requests for more chicken nuggets and the reminders of using manners.
But I know what day it is.

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