i have this strong memory of being pregnant with plum, and throwing up in a drive thru line. it is indelible because 1. we all seem to remember when we vomit, and 2. it was the first time i felt her personality reveal itself.
i was about 10-11 weeks pregnant. i dropped finley off at school, and i drove to a coffee shop to get a pastry for edith. i had woken up that morning and eaten dry cereal in bed, in an effort to curb the blinding nausea i woke up with morning after morning. of all the constant nausea i had with all three pregnancies, plum’s was the worst. that girl had it out for me. i was so sick, fatigued, and bloated that i couldn’t eat, sleep, or act like a decent human being. i tried to take the meds my doctor prescribed, but they only made me pass out in a hazy fog – a fog from which i could not adequately care for two young children, so i would only take half a pill at night to let me sleep for a few hours.
anyways, this day.
this day as i left school drop off and drove to the coffee shop and was waiting in the line of cars before the pick up window, i thought: fuck. this feels different. i started shaking my legs in the driver’s seat. patting my hands on the steering wheel. i texted pat: i may need you to come get me. and then, i opened my door, and threw up everywhere. again and again. i moved my car through the entire line this way. opening and closing the door.
edith was crying, and i was playing music LOUDLY to cover the noise. the only words i could get out were: i’m okay sweetie, it’s okay.
mom! stop frowing up!
i’m okay, sweetie. it’s okay.
after the first trimester sickness settled down, i was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. i was on a strict diet, and i had to prick my finger and test my blood two hours after eating anything. i did this for weeks and weeks.
i remember those first few times pricking my finger, i would make a really loud noise to get myself through it. like i would just start going AAAAHHHH and then: prick!
by the end i was pricking and squeezing blood literally inside my purse as i was shopping at the grocery store, barely noticing what i was doing, operating on autopilot.
you may wonder where all of this is going.
you may wonder why i am choosing to write about blood and diabetes and vomit on my youngest daughter’s first birthday.
because this is why:
plum is a thing of beauty. she is pure, simple delight. she is feisty as fuck and demands she takes part in life. she looks at all of us like she knows. what does she know? i don’t know…all of it.
she just stares at us like: yeah, i know.
she is the common thread; we all adore her, dote on her, baby her, love her madly.
there was some ugliness there, for a second. there is ugliness all around us. it is sometimes so horrendous that we look away, or we attempt to distract ourselves, or we go ahead and make our own mess.
but sometimes we fight back. sometimes something is ugly, or it doesn’t feel good, or it’s uncomfortable, but we show up anyway. we love anyway – and our love becomes strengthened by the trials it was built upon.
loving plum is easy; she is woven into my heart, deep down in there, as she has always been.
plum is the only one of the three who rose from the ashes; of a marriage in trouble, and of a pregnancy that fucking sucked.
plum fought back.
she spoke out.
she showed up.
it’s not that the troubled marriage and hard pregnancy didn’t matter,
it’s that, they did.
it’s that, they mattered a whole lot.
plum, happy birthday to you, my gem of a child.
the rubble made you shine.