May thirteenth has come and gone, the anniversary of the birth of my motherhood stolen has passed me by once again. That her birthday fell on Mother's Day seemed both appropriate and also a cruel joke. I desperately needed a day this year to be honored as a mother; as it was I felt too numb to admit the day was anything but hers and couldn't wrap my head around doing both. We did what we always do, we planted flowers, we puttered around the yard, we baked things to eat. We talked about her, we thought about her, we argued because the grief made us cranky.
This is how we parent the fifth child.
Meanwhile, four hearts still beat strong beneath us, even when we want to crumple and wrap our arms around the shadow of the daughter we might have had. So we parent them, we parent them hard, and we try to be brave when they ask us difficult questions about our journey.

Tomorrow, now, our baby turns one. One whole year of beauty with her. She sleeps now, upstairs, and I can see her on my new-fangled baby monitor that I bought to ease me through the transition of her out of my bed and into a crib (five feet from my bed, but a crib) so that we could try to restore something resembling an evening to our home. Now I can put her to bed at night and she goes to sleep, and I come down here and I can read to the older children, and I can tuck Fiona into her bed and sing to her, and I can parent them all.

It is nearly midnight. I have crafts abound to finish for Maeve's birthday. But while I waited for some photos to print, it seemed right to post on the eve of the last spring birthday. Perhaps another post soon.

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