Monday, September 20, 2010

Empty crib

The sliding glass door was open half way in my bedroom last night. The cold, Fall night air was blowing in. The room was freezing. My shoulder became exposed during the night, and became so icy cold, that I had to burrow deeper under my covers. Nestled right against my body was Molly. She sleeps in our bed. When I had Olivia, I set up a nursery. Painted it, set up a pretty white crib, put up pictures of her as a newborn, and little poems that were about motherhood, and my child. There was a changing table, with little baskets of everything I needed to get the job done. There was a teddy bear mobile over the crib. Silver rattles, and pretty dresses set out, not yet her size, but on "display".  Olivia never slept in the crib. Ever.
With Charlotte, we had the same set up, with some toddler toys thrown in. The crib now was a place where all of the clean laundry was kept, in it's holding pattern, before being put away. Charlotte slept with us, right between David and I, and Olivia. Four of us in a queen size bed.  Sometimes, in the middle of the night , I would look over at David, and he had his head resting on the bed side table. He was half off the bed. I could only sleep on my side. I had a constant pain in my shoulder. My hips throbbed. Eventually, Liv got too big, so we put a toddler bed, directly next to my side of the bed. For the first week, I had to sleep with my arm dangling off the bed, holding her little hand, tightly. If I lost her grasp, in the night, she would awaken in a panic.
When Molly came along, (thankfully, the girls were tucked safely into their bunk beds, in their bedroom, by this time) we didn't even bother to set up the crib. She would sleep with us. Still does. David usually bails out of the bed, as Molly is really hard to sleep with, and he gets up so early, so most of the time, it is just she and I. I feel sad that David isn't there, but I know that the window of time, of her babyhood, is only open just a small crack now. She will soon be gone, out of our bed, forever. My last baby. She becomes so happy in the night. She strokes my arm, and places her hand on my neck or my face. She twirls her small feet into my belly. It is in those moments that I feel the purest form of love, and joy. I can feel how safe and secure my sweet child feels. I can feel her trust. I love the smell of her breath, and her sticky hair getting in my nostrils. I even find the way she will abruptly change position, and move around the bed, like the hands of a clock, amusing. I will never have this time again with her.
On Friday, I had my friend Evette over for lunch. I made a roasted tomato soup, and a salad. Apple crisp for desert. She had never been to my house before. She is an unlikely friend. She and I could not be more different. She is Puerto Rican, and grew up in the projects, in Brooklyn. She and her three children live in her mother, and stepfather's house, right around the corner from my own. She had to leave her bad neighborhood two years ago. All four of them live in one bedroom of her mom's house. She has a bed for herself, and bunk beds for her older son and daughter. There is also a crib for her baby. She had a fourth child at one time. A baby boy. She put him to bed one night, and he never woke up.
I couldn't get her out of my head, as I lay with my warm, squishy, baby last night, in my cold bedroom, feeling her little feet rub into my body.
I could not stop thinking about her.

1 comment:

  1. wow. evocative and moving post- sorry to sound like a literary agent..but really well-written. love you.- darlene