It was the March of 1979.
Breezes turned balmy
and I pulled off my shoes,
letting swollen feet tramp across warming earth.
I was pregnant with my first baby,
due on St. Patrick’s Day.
For weeks I had ached for time to stop,
squeezing myself shut
to the coming separation,
the word “relinquish” hanging heavy on my heart.
But today the weather had turned
and hadn’t everything somehow changed?
Spring had come with her own dreamy wildness
and waves to ride far beyond the looming loss.
I spent the day sunsoaking,
watching the wind gently stir the tireswing
I’d played on not so long ago.
I was newly seventeen,
an “unwed mother”
with an unwanted chore:
to give my baby to someone she deserved.
Soon she would come apart from me,
gone before the leaves flushed out.
Their buds were fat and ready to pop….like me.
I went quiet with the knowing.
But this day was vivid lovely and it got inside me.
As the sun began to dip low,
a storm of pain rumbled
and hammered down urgency inside my belly
and grownup voices began
herding me into the night
and toward the hospital.
I wanted to crawl into bed and hide beneath the covers,
cradling the life inside me one last time.
My body was betraying me,
forcing me into a cold, sterile world
of tight lips and disapproving eyes.
As my frightened parents gathered my things,
I lunged back inside
for just one last moment alone
with the tiny life that had shaken my own with her gentle worth.
I lowered my heavy frame onto the bed
and tried to sing a last lullaby
but could do only tears,
a fragile goodbye.
I followed strong contractions into the night,
returning home with only fierce memory
of her tiny fingers and face.
But I’m forever marked by her essence,
often swept away by her melody
as it drifts across my heartstrings.
I recognize her song.
Thirty four Springs.
I honor each of her days.
Today I tenderly comfort the girl-in-me who carried her
before she was transplanted into the garden
that nurtured her to thriving
and remember those shimmery days when we were just us,
when she was still mine.