I'm Already There

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I was sixth in the pick up line on Monday.  Michael was napping and we left a little later than usual.  My car was sitting where the building curves and, as I nursed Michael, I had a view of a beautiful view of this tree, swaying in the breeze as sunlight dipped and lit up the leaves from above.  For a moment, all I wanted in the world was to be waiting in the pick up line and trying to figure out how to quickly get all of the kids in the car.  My breath caught.  My eyes watered.  My hands were shaking. What I wouldn't give, just for a moment, to have you here. Unbidden, tears began to slide down my cheeks and I pinched my eyes closed to try and stop them. 

I'm already there. Take a look around: I'm the sunshine in your hair; I'm the shadow on the ground; I'm the whisper in the wind; I'm your imaginary friend and I know I'm in your prayers. I'm already there...

Opening my eyes, I looked at the tree.  The wind had stopped and, there, in the shadows cascading on the ground, where sunlight and the ether met, I saw them.  Outlines.  Images.  Reflections.  Tall, taller, tallest.  Boy, girl, boy. Kindergarten sweats, first grade jumper, first grade uniform. The wind blew.  The dust dispersed.  The shadows became an image that was gone.

I'm already there: don't make a sound. I'm the beat in your heart; I'm the moonlight shining down. I'm the whisper in the wind and I'll be there until the end. Can you feel the love that we share? I'm already there.

I gasped in air, a sob escaping in the mix. The gentle tug reminded me that I was still a mother feeding a child and, trying to collect myself so that I wouldn't bathe my infant in my tears, I looked down at Michael, content and nursing.  Smiling a huge smile.  And, in his eyes, seeing it.  Really, truly seeing it- seeing them.

We may be a thousand miles apart but I'll be with you wherever you are: I'm already there. Take a look around: I'm the sunshine in your hair; I'm the shadow on the ground. I'm the whisper in the wind and I'll be there until the end. Can you feel the love that we share? I'm already there.

***

Peter is the king of night time.  He handles bath time and bed time; sometimes I'm taking care of household tasks that need to be finished or, if Michael isn't already in bed, I'm getting him squared away.  As Peter was making the call for bath, Bobby went in to do his "business" and Maya ended up being ready for his bath with nowhere to go (since Bobby was using the bathroom where they take their baths).  Michael was already in bed and I invited Maya to snuggle while she waited.  So, there we were, two chicks, snuggling under fresh, flannel sheets, and chatting about our day.

"Gaea is my sister."

This is something she tells us all the time.  Sometimes, it's "Gaea Sophia", rarely just "Sophia", and usually "Gaea" by itself.  Perhaps because it rhymes with "Maya", but I don't know.

"Yes, she is," I reply.  I'm happy that she know this... That, as much as she begs me for a baby sister, she realizes she has a sister... Just one that isn't growing up with her.

She goes on last night to tell me that she plays with Gaea and with her brothers, Peter and Nathaniel.  Because I'm curious, I ask her why she calls them by their first names when we've always called them by their middle names.  "I say Peter and Gaea and Nathaniel.  You call them Nicholas, Sophia, and Alexander. It's their names."  No real answer, but I'm reminded that Jimmy always called me "Chele" as a kid... it's why my parents started.  Sea shell...  See Chele sell sea shells by the sea shore.

"They live with Jesus."  She is smiling, happy.  Just telling me about how they play and talk.  They like trains... they read stories... they crunch in leaves.  "We live in Earth."  Bobby talks to them and to the Angels.  They play when they sleep... They play when they wake up.

I try to keep a smile on my face, try to keep the tears at bay.  Maya is sensitive- she will cry if I cry.  But worse, in that moment, she will stop talking.

She is looking at the portrait my dad painted.  "PawPaw painted that picture."  We identify the people in the photo.  I can't help but ask... Did PawPaw get it right?  Is that what they look like?  Really?

She says yes.  Even as she tells me that "Gaea has white hair" when in the photo, her hair is near black.

We lay there for a while, her telling me about Peter and Gaea and Nathaniel, me sucking in the information like it is oxygen when, in reality, I feel like I'm trapped under the Atlantic, my lungs engulfed by the water, my eyes burning from the salt.  I'm dying while I'm alive.  My heart is breaking while it beats.  Eventually, Bobby finishes his business and gives me a giant, bear hug before he and Maya disappear into the bathroom for bath.

And I sob.  And sob.  And sob.  Into my hand, into my pillow.  Anything to muffle the sound so that they wont hear, so that the baby wont wake up.  So that these three children I have at home, who give my days sunlight and my moments meaning, wont see how much the loss of the three children I have in heaven, who light up my darkest nights with their bright, shining startlight and have made my life what it is, has destroyed me, has revived me, has made me.

In that moment, all I wanted was a bed full of kids ready for bath, ready for bed.  Kids who, like Bobby and Maya, converged after they were pajama'd to sing songs with me and have me recite by memory the words to On the Night You Were Born... the book I'd first read to my belly, when my pregnancy with Nicholas and Sophia was confirmed, nearly six years ago.

I'm already there: don't make a sound. I'm the beat in your heart; I'm the moonlight shining down. I'm the whisper in the wind and I'll be there until the end. Can you feel the love that we share? I'm already there.

Sleep came.  And, as much as I wanted them, my dreams were silent. No images. No thoughts. No wanting someone here.

Perhaps because they were already there.

--
The words to "I'm Already There" can be found here; a music video can be found here.

3 comments:

Reagan and Trevor's Mommy said...

Beautiful. Powerful. Heart breaking. Sweet. I can feel your pain, your love for them all and your joy while reading this. I love that little ones can see through to the other side. Mine can too. Hugs for you.

Queenie. . . said...

Heartbreakingly beautiful.

Amelia said...

I understand. When G talks about her brothers and ends with; But we hold them in our hearts! My heart breaks again. I miss them so much. How big our family is, and yet only 3 of us are here.