To Our Son (Or Daughter)

Whatever your name could have been, this is how I found out about you.

I met your father at a grocery store and we exchanged smiles instead of numbers. It was a glimpse of my future before I packed my bags and left the country. I travelled, laughed, surfed and scoohtered. I ate on sandy shores, camped on islands and sailed over oceans. Upon my return, your father and I crossed each other’s paths twice. More smiling, but no words. The third time we finally broke our silence.

Months passed until, one morning, I found myself on the porch listening to the waves breaking, feeling the cool, salty breeze on my warm skin and eating slices of rockmelon for breakfast. Within minutes, it ended up in the toilet bowl. I gave myself three days of denial before I took a test and those two little lines appeared.

A baby. You.

Your father flew home from work. Doctor appointments and consultations. Blood tests and ultrasounds. We were told that you were six weeks and one day old. We were given a due date for your arrival and you appeared on the screen, the size of a lentil. It was the first time I saw your father cry since I had told him about you.

More white rooms and clipboards. Hushed voices and pamphlets. $500 for five pills. They wouldn’t let me leave until I took the first one.

Would you have had curly hair like mine? Olive skin like ours? My stubbornness? His persistence? My nose? His eyes?

A glass of water in the doctor’s room and a little round white pill. The hardest thing I’ve ever had to swallow. A silent car ride home. Four more pills. Dizziness and tingles. Nausea and disorientation. Warping walls and swaying floors. And with a fate no luckier than a dead goldfish, you were flushed away.

I gave you a name. I wanted you to haunt me.

That’s when the pregnancy announcements began. Not one, nor two, but three. Three friends and three beautiful mamas to be. Due dates all within a week of each other. Darling, you were due then too.

Can I tell you know I think ideas work? I think ideas are alive. The idea could be for a novel, a new business venture or maybe as simple as a recipe. It is this intangible energy that wants to be born. When it chooses you, it wants to be made through you. The idea will slip into your mind and under your skin and start to unravel. But we have a tendency to be neglectful and apathetic. To place our ideas on a shelf for safe keeping. A project we can come back to later. But ideas are effervescent. They need attention and collaboration. The vigorous concept is going to flee and find a more worthy creator without it. It’s why, when you see your idea come to fruition through another being, it is hard not to dwell and think, That was my idea.

After you were gone, I knew that you came to me so that I could bring you into this world. I hoped and prayed that you would come back when I was ready, but I feared that you had already left to find your mother elsewhere.

Work gave me a ticket to Asia and promised a future in business travel. I went, I worked, I partied; but I ached to come home. I fastened my seatbelt and a scratchy voice over the intercom announced delays on the tarmac. Something about a passing storm. I nestled into my seat and convinced myself I had done the right thing by you. The right thing by me. I gave you up for work, a career and travel. I nursed a hangover and placed my hands on my flat belly. Once your home, now vacant. Unoccupied and empty. Rain streaked down the windowpane and my tears followed suit.

A week before you were due, one of the three mothers had her baby. He was soft and warm and gentle. Happy, healthy and alive.

They gave him your name.