St. Patricks Day 1979. Daffodils were blooming, breezes turned balmy and I pulled off my shoes for the first time since summer, letting my swollen feet tramp across the warming earth. I was pregnant with my first baby….due today. For weeks I had ached for time to stop….squeezing myself shut to the coming contractions and separation. The word “relinquish” hung heavy on my heart.
But today, the weather had quickly turned; Spring rushed in like living oxygen…lifting fresh color from the tired brown. I felt, with relief, that everything had changed….this fresh palette erased all of the before. Spring had come with it’s own dreamy wildness and waves to ride far from the loss looming over me. I spent the day soaking in the sun and listening to the trees whisper high above me, gently rocking the tire swing I’d played in not so long ago. I was newly seventeen…an “unwed mother,” with an unwanted chore hanging over my head: to give my baby to someone who deserved her. Soon she would come apart from me; someone would bring me papers to sign…official words saying that I relinquish this child and choose, instead, a good life for my baby. She would be gone before the leaves flushed out. Their buds were fat and ready to pop….like me. I went quiet with the knowing.
The next day was as lovely and it got inside me. But late that afternoon, as the sun began to dip low, a painful rumbling grew deep inside me. I felt an urgency to press back against a pushing forward. The rolling tightness became swallowed panic as grownup voices began herding me into the night toward the hospital. I couldn’t do this….couldn’t have this baby. It was bedtime and I wanted to crawl under the covers and cradle the life inside of me one more time. My body didn’t cooperate. It was betraying me now….forcing me into a cold sterile world full of tight lips and disapproving eyes.
As my frightened parents helped gather my things, I scrambled back into the house for just one last moment alone with the tiny life that had shaken my own with her gentle worth. I crept down the hall towards my bedroom, lowering my heavy frame onto the bed for one last lullabye. No song would come; only tears. It was a disappointing goodbye. I followed strong contractions back down stairs to the car and into the night. That was thirty one years ago. Nothing will ever erase the bright beauty of those days with baby “Rose”. I returned home, arms empty, a few days later. I never saw her again. But I remember her essence, like a fragrance, and am frequently swept into it’s sweet melody as it drifts across my heartstrings. I recognize the song. This is the thirty-first celebration of her birthday…of the wonder of her life. I allow myself to remember those days before she was transplanted into the garden where she grew and thrived. Today, I let my mind drift back to those shimmery days when it was just us…when she was still mine.