Maeve Eloise is two years old. She rushed into the world so quickly my memory of her birthday is one of surprise, of a day where one minute I wondered if I was in labor and the next I pushed a tiny, wet newborn girl into my husband's waiting hands. And suddenly, it was as if she had always been with us.

Maeve is a girl who could have not come, had we decided three was enough. Three could have been enough. It was lovely, and I adored doting on Fiona as my very-little girl with the other two self sustaining in their own four and six year old ways. But I knew,  somehow, that a spirit was waiting. That three was not quite finished.

Maeve ran to us from the heavens in a hurry, as if she had been tapping her fingers, biding time for her moment to come into our family. She was conceived in a heartbeat and was born in an hour. Today, she ran in circles around our backyard while Greg played the guitar, laughing with her squinty eyed smile and singing at the top of her lungs. Her icy blue eyes glinted in the early summer sunshine and the squeals of our friends surrounded her. Our yard was full of children, our friends young and old who gathered to eat barely-risen vegan cupcakes with peanut buttery frosting. We laughed together and sang to this delicious soul, this little Maeve who brings absolute, pure, unbridled joy into every minute of our life.

I am so lucky to have this daughter.


Today is the birthday of the child who is not here.

"Well, you know how in Sleeping Beauty? The witch kills her, but there are always handsome princes who can come and kiss Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White, and she gets alive. Maybe a prince can come next time and kiss Charlotte and she can come back!"

This is Fiona's take on the situation. She cannot understand death. Nor can I.

We all stayed home today, all day. A family day. For the 6/7 of our family available to enjoy it together.   I am incredibly grateful that our pizza pie now has such a small piece missing, as opposed to a year ago, when we had 1/3 missing. But the void feels enormous.

Happy Tenth Birthday, my dear Charlotte.


There is a bounce house in our backyard. I paid exactly $249 for it, including set up and delivery, and I feel that I have never spent better money. I rented it for the day on Saturday, but the company delivered it early Friday morning and probably won't fetch it until tomorrow. It hums in my backyard, it's red pillars and stretched yellow sides reflecting the sunshine of this Mother's Day. This morning we all climbed into it and played for an hour or more. The parts of the plastic that were in the sunshine felt warm under my skin.
I rented the bounce house for yesterday. We invited six families who have held us gently for years to come to our house and sit with us in joy and good company while we mused quietly on the ten years that have passed since Charlotte's birth. In my mind, it was a party for her birthday, but there was no cake, song, or even champagne toast. If the rain hadn't poured from the sky for the middle hour, re-distributing the party from driveway and backyard to porch, living, and bedrooms, perhaps we would have toasted. But what we needed was simply friendship, just the company and love of good friends. There were perhaps fifteen children, in my attempt to make this party as fun and effortless as possible I never counted exactly how many people, we just bought ample beer and wine and asked people to bring food to contribute and it was a glorious and ample potluck spread.
I am grateful that I did that, and that we had our friends with us to hold our hands and sit on the porch while it rained and we thought about the ten years that divided us from the space where all was well and good in the world and the now, where something will always be missing and there is always the possibility of loss.
And for now, I'll go and fetch the baby, whose very short nap is over, and I'll take her out to the bounce house and we'll sing "Jump Jim Joe" and bounce around in circles and laugh, her sticky warm mouth on my cheek with big wet kisses.