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There is nothing I need

September 9, 2011

Intense reality has slowly eased into an everyday routine by the time our baby boy, born so small and runty, was six months old. All those weeks on bed rest, that long month in the NICU, those feverent exhausting weeks filled with relief at being at home and the exhaustion of nursing a 4lb. baby took its toll on me and my husband. At six months our boy was sturdier, 13 lbs. now from his birth weight of 2lbs. 14oz and I tried not to be disheartened when our pediatrician would look disappointingly at his weight and ask if I am supplementing yet.

I was so determined to breastfeed our tiny man and he was so good at it and it didn’t hurt and he was growing into a fine little person full of laughter, smiling and eating of all things like books, blocks and all the pennies he could find on the floor. He was not a good sleeper and would cry when I tried to lay him down; content to sleep in someones arms only and he is still snuggly at 10 years old. Just this morning on the way to school he almost knocked me into a puddle in our lawn as he tried to put his arm around me to walk side by side and hugs and kisses me more than necessary and I feel guilty for pushing him away as I did this morning so I wouldn’t get my feet all wet and muddy.

At six months things were seemingly perfect. Our small boy seemed out of the woods health wise, I was totally doing this stay at home breastfeeding thing and had started to attend La Leche League meetings for support and to find some damned friends with kids because you can only stare at your baby for so many months without going totally insane. Well, insaner. My husband had a decent job that meant we ate really good dinners and lunches as a free dinner was part of his shift and he would bring it home. I would drive him to work and pick him up which was a drag but we only had one car and it was scary to be left alone without a car with such a tiny little baby.

I would sit on our brown antique looking sofa with the birds and flowers printed on it with its wide feather cushion seat with my legs crossed and our tiny man at my breast and watch the news or read a book or really just stare at him with wonder and worry.

The weather that late summer had finally, finally, FINALLY turned and it was sunny without the oppressive humidity that is well-known in our city and it was cool in the mornings and warm in the afternoon with bright blue sky and puffy white clouds. It felt hopeful, as though we had endured a long winter of some sort -like pioneers in a covered wagon that have finally made it to the sweet spot in the midwest.

I felt like a family and that he was really mine and going to stay that way and that all I could have ever hoped for in this life had been bestowed upon me just because I had sex and made a person. I had never felt so in love with anything or anyone in my entire life. Our boy smelled-and still smells-so delicious to me and I have a concrete sense of wholeness whenever he is in my arms-still , now 10 years later.

We were just watching the “news” on the Today show and they begin by interrupting some story on something whatever I can’t recall and said that they had a report that a plane had crashed into one of the World Trade Center Towers. A few minutes went by with spotty reporting and returning to the other story and then they had a live feed of the tower smoking and a giant hole in the side way up high on the building. They had cut away and then suddenly panned back and they reported another plane, a commercial airliner had crashed into the other tower.

Everything became very serious and confusing and we sat staring at the TV screen as information about what had happened began to be learned. We channel surfed a little to see if it was everywhere and it was. The twin towers in NYC were on fire, reports of people jumping out of the windows, fire trucks at the scene, police everywhere, the city area downtown blocked off, reports of another plane that had been hijacked, all planes all over the country forced to land, airports closed, more reports of possibly another plane.

My head swam as I held my baby and nursed him on our brown cough with the birds and flowers in the sunshine of the most clear blue sky day in September. We watched the first tower fall down like it had imploded from the inside and collapsed like a house of match sticks and not a giant building made with concrete and steel. We saw the other tower fall, the crash into the pentagon and still another plane unaccounted for flying in the air.

It was just a couple of hours and it was all over.

I couldn’t watch any more. We left the house in the late afternoon but nothing was open. Nothing. Gas stations closed, libraries, stores, the roads were totally deserted as it seemed that everyone was at home watching the horror continue to unfold in front of them. I didn’t want to watch anymore. I was afraid for my baby and what kind of world he would grow up in. I had chosen poorly, selfishly to have a baby.

How could I have set myself up so precariously to have given myself everything I would ever desire in this world-a son-my baby boy and realized how quickly I could have nothing at all. If something happened to my boy it would not be just as it was before without him. Having him changed everything and nothing would or could ever be the same again and without him I would be nothing because in having him-I have everything I need.

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