Sunday, July 04, 2010

Sighting of A Boy

The family walks past the long window and through the door of the taqueria. The mother leads the way. She is undeniably who I first think she may be; her wild kinky black hair and beautifully pumpkin shaped body have not been altered by the seven years which have passed, and she is easy to recognize.
She is followed by her short, shuffling and grumpy husband, and I lean forward to catch a glimpse of the one I want to see so dearly and at the same time am afraid....and in another short, interrupted breath - he bounces in, buoyant in spite of his father's shadow.
He is tall, considering the stature of his parents.
His hair is like hers, and his smile is hers.
He talks animatedly about black beans or pinto; turns his excitement towards the soda fountain. He is seven.

The mother notices me staring and looks at me suspiciously for a moment before a flicker of recognition.
I wait for her to go first.
"You look familiar...do I know you? I know I know you from something....swim classes? The library? Music class?"
I let her trail off before I decide to answer.
"The NICU. We met in the NICU. Our babies were in together."

She looks at my children, sizing them up...wondering...

So I say, "No. This is my daughter. She was not even two at the time. This is my son, and he is four. It was Elijah who was in the NICU."

"Oh yes, now I remember. How is he doing?"
I shake my head, realizing I got myself into this by staring at her son.
I don't think she wants to hear.

The silence with which she waits indicates she is expecting the rest of the story.

"Well, he died when he was thirteen months old."

We go through the usual dialogue.
"Oh wow. Oh. I am so sorry."
"I know. It's okay. It was terrible. We really miss him. But now it's our family history."
"Oh wow. I am so sorry. I don't know how you....I could never....I don't know what to say...."
"So, your son looks great. Congratulations, he's wonderful."
"Oh wow....the NICU....wow. Oh the NICU...I hadn't thought about it in so long."
"Sorry."

I gather up the scraps of my kids' quesadillas, and herd them out the door. When I turn to wave goodbye, her elbows are propped on the table, her head is in her hands and she is staring glassily into the orange booth in front of her.

"I'm sorry." I toss out, by way of 'goodbye'.




I really was.

20 comments:

Vodka Mom said...

wow.

RoseRedHoofbeats said...

Oh gosh. =(

Anonymous said...

Actually, I'm a little glad to read this (I don't want that to sound offensive in ANY WAY, so please don't read it that way)... because my child was in the NICU for a month. Another mother had twins at 30ish weeks-- one didn't make it. She and I became friends at the Ronald McDonald House where we both stayed. I still run into her and I have her on facebook, and sometimes I simply do.not.know.what.to.say. to her. Maybe there's not much I CAN say. I do not know her pain, and I wouldn't pretend to. I guess I can just hope that, seven years into her grieving, that she's as strong as you are when someone approaches her and asks her where the other twin is.

SupahMommy said...

From one Supermom to the next . Much love. I'd love to talk to you some more. Please email!

xoxo
supahmommy

Bethany said...

Made me cry. You never know when it's all going to come flooding back--for you when you saw this woman; for her when you reminded her of that time in her life.

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

That must be so difficult. Sending you love...

Anonymous said...

"waaa waaa me so poor! me eat government cheese! me got no car! no job!" YET you still have time to moan and groan on your self serving echo chamber blog for yourself and your sycophantic friends.

seriously, you are not supermama, you are superdrama.

Postcard Cindy said...

Anonymous,

Go someplace else, you are rude. I suggest before you comment you read more posts. I did and feel she is supermama, I feel you are a loser who won't post your identity.

Postcard Cindy

Katy said...

I have no idea what its like to loose a child. I do know what its like to be hit by something out of the blue like that. Its a reminder. It sucks. That boy though, mericle.

And I'm with Cindy, you are supermama. Anon sucks monkey butt.

gwendomama said...

i have a job, i have a (shitty) car and yes! i still have time to write! i am amazing!

Libby said...

Yep, you ARE amazing.

Love,
A new sycophant

JMD said...

Anonymous,

Jealous much? I know...it's hard to read about what a great person Gwendomamma is when you are such loser material.

Take your meds and get lost.

Jules said...

Wow... to be so rude and hide behind anonimity... Must be easy for you to hit parked cars and not even leave a note.

Gwendomama - in this case, maybe your news gave this particular woman, or even a few readers, a nudge to remember to hold someone a little closer for a little longer

gwendomama said...

Don't worry. Anon is not anon. I know exactly who he is.

Anonymous said...

how do you know anon is a male?

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon-are you the deadbeat, dirtbag "father" of these poor kids or the disgusting excuse of a sister-in-law? You should both be in jail for assault.

Anonymous said...

Anon is neither of those people.

gwendomama said...

I think it's important to remember that not all NICU kids make it. And it's okay for survivors of the NICU to get that reminder every now and then.
It's also important to remember that Anon is not Anon because of the IP address associated with 'post a comment' outclicks.

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