I dreamed her before I met her. She told me that she waited for me to have babies so I could be her mommy, and she was so happy. She had curly blonde hair and blue eyes and she was a newborn that looked like a nine month old. A television newborn. I had such a strong sense of her in that dream. She told me that her name was Stephanie, but I could call her any name I wanted. And I coaxed her into nursing. She told me she liked chicken noodle soup, and I laughed. I woke and thought it was a silly dream. Me? Having a blonde blue eyed baby?
It was the Pink Moon.
Beezus kept reminding me that on her birthday, the Pink Moon was coming. It will rise in the windows as we read books together and talk about what animals we can find in the knots of our heart pine ceilings. We will light candles, and chant, and smudge ourselves on the Pink Moon, that is what she said. We will make spells like good witches. We will make a wish on the stars, and the giant orb of princess pink.
She paints the world glitter and love and unicorns and a kind of magic that makes me want to shout her word's from the highest point in the suburbs, like my rooftop. "SHE SAID WE ARE MADE OF DANDELIONS AND GIGGLES! BELIEVE HER! SHE IS FIVE ON THE PINK MOON!"
She thought the moon would be actually pink, and when it came up and we stepped outside in our jammies, searching the sky she said, "IT IS PINK! THE MOON IS PINK ON MY BIRTHDAY!"
She still sings her favorite song as she skips. She always skips.
She is strong. She is brave. She can do anything that she wants to do.
When she was born, I was not afraid. I was strong, brave and thought I could do anything I wanted to do. I labored for 21 hours, feeling every contractions, slowly building to a place of pain-chaos and then she was born. I don't remember much of it, except that my eyes were closed most of the time, and I think I fell asleep in fifteen second intervals. I hung onto my husband's neck and he kept asking me if I was sure I didn't want an epidural. I said, "No, I'm meditating." And I was as present as I have ever been. I don't know if that is meditating, but it was something.
I bounced on a ball, and walked around, and took shower after shower, but they were never hot enough, or long enough, or helpful enough. She was a full back labor, and I couldn't find a perch, couldn't sit, couldn't lie down on the bed. I didn't know that babies die in labor. I mean, I knew, but I didn't know. I didn't know what that would mean in every day life, after her birth. I didn't know they could die in me during labor. I was ignorant. I was having my first baby. I am grateful not to have known, and now grateful I do know.
I birthed her sitting up, and held her hair in my hands before she came out fully, and she was so blonde and blue-eyed, I laughed in spite of myself.
When you are five, you remember. You remember every part of your life, if you want. Beezus doesn't remember a time before Lucy died, or Thomas lived. She doesn't remember being three, not really. She was always the big sister. She doesn't remember not grieving Lucia. She said she remembers being born and thinking, "YAY! That is my mommy!" But I'm not sure I believe her.
Last year, I wrote this about Beatrice:
I fix myself on her. She is magic. I am convinced. If I stare at her long enough, she might not disappear. If I keep her under my wing, tuck her behind my leg, tell her stories about princesses and ladybugs, brush her hair gently, touch her nose, smell her neck, maybe she will stay. Maybe she won’t trust the person she shouldn’t trust. If I just watch her chest rise and fall while she sleeps, if I study every crease on the bottoms of her feet, she won’t leave and never come back. The other one disappeared, and never came home. It seems a strange habit to try to control the passage of time by sheer will. I tattoo each moment on the sand of my neural pathways, only to watch them wash away with the tide. There she goes--my baby turns into a girl. My girl turns into a woman.
Ironically, the only permanent thing I know in my life is that Lucy is dead. Everything else I can hold in my arms is a lesson in impermanence and that scares the shit out of me. It humbles me, rather. Fear is something I am trying to let go of, though I am a house of cards built on fears. Time blows through the room. And suddenly, Beatrice is eating her sushi with chopsticks, and telling me jokes, and washing her own toes, and her brother’s too.
I could write it again in other words, but that is all I want to say. I want to keep each moment, capture it in a jar, hold it and shake it and stare at it, but like the butterfly, the moment needs its lid opened, or it will die a horrific death while you watch. It needs to move into the next moment and the next until you are holding a precocious, empathic, lanky, lovely girl in your arms who tells you the future and the past and who you think is the most amazing creature you have ever met.