I read a post recently by a new dad, about the drive home from the hospital. I commented that I remember each of our drives home so well, for different reasons each time. The first time, we were so excited- brand new parents, eager to take our tiny person home. The last time, we felt much the same, only more excited because our new tiny person had a brother and a sister to meet.
It’s the drive inbetween those two that keeps coming back to me lately.
I knew this would happen. We’ve reached December and the air is laced with memories that have been frozen, or tied up in bags and tossed into the trees. They just hang there, waiting. Waiting for something to trigger them and to make them real again.
When we left the hospital almost three years ago, we weren’t full of the excitement we were expecting. I for one was not ready to leave. We were dismissed into the cold night and all around us people bustled in and out, carrying balloons or gift bags and huge smiles of congratulations. I remember sitting on a hard plastic chair waiting for Ghostwriterdaddy to bring the car to the front (as I was unable to walk far) and looking at the baby in the car seat by my feet. I hadn’t even been able to buckle up his belt. I watched his angry little face scream and scream and I wanted to scream with him.
It felt like a dream as I inched away from that building and the doors swished behind me, sucking the warmth and the light away again. It was just us then.
The sky was full of snow that was yet to fall. The car stereo was turned down to a soft hum and the CD had been carefully selected. As the engine started I looked at Ghostwriterdaddy and I saw that he didn’t know what to do, or say, either. I knew that we both felt there was something we couldn’t quite put our fingers on. Something, somewhere, had gone so terribly wrong.
We drove pretty much in silence. I got home to a clean and tidy house with a bunch of flowers in a vase on the kitchen table. The Big One, in her excitement, knocked over the cup of coffee I had been waiting for days to drink. We took the baby upstairs to his bedroom and we gave him a bath. All the while there was this pain in the back of my throat, down to my stomach. Not the pain from the breathing tube that had been ripped from me only a day or so before. Not the screaming wound across my belly that had been sliced into only a day or so before. Not the million and one bruises that stretched from my chest to my knees…
This was a pain I had never felt before. The pain of knowing I was falling. The pain of knowing I didn’t want this baby anymore. The pain of feeling like SOMETHING was missing. The pain of sobbing down the phone to my mum (I wanted to go home, home ). The pain of seeing a picture in the baby’s cot that had been drawn by his proud big sister that very morning. The pain of reading “I love you Luka” in her fat scribbly handwriting and the pain of all those little kisses dancing around our heads.
The pain of knowing, then, that I couldn’t say those words to my son.
I Love you Luka.