It's really been three years. Three long years since losing Simon and Alexander that have gone by with the speed of a freight train running over my heart. Only faster. And more tortuous.
Three years in the life of a woman. When I look at the big scale of my life...three years are a drop in the bucket. I should be grateful.
That's what I'm told. I'm told that that grinning little girl with the big brown eyes is me. Or rather...she was me.
See, that little girl with the broad smile and eyes brimming with excitement hasn't been hurt yet. She hasn't been damaged by life yet. Her parents love her and feel that she is a delight. She hasn't been ignored, or belitted, or neglected, or shamed. Yet.
Life hasn't dealt her any abuses. Yet.
Nor any cruelties. Yet.
She still drinks her mothers breast milk, designed especially for her, and when she cries, her mama picks her up.
No one has molested her. No one has berated her. No one has decided that she is too needy or too talkative or too...bothersome.
No one has decided that her emotions are unwanted.
She has never known loss...nor does she know that she will walk hand in hand with it. She has NO IDEA what is in her future. No idea of what is coming her way.
She is just loved. Adored even.
I was a rainbow baby.
It's funny, to look at the picture now, because...I have a rainbow baby too.
She has never known pain. Neglect. Abuse.
No one has ever given her anything but tenderness and love.
She has been treasured, encouraged, and celebrated.
She is surrounded by a house of adoring brothers, a doting father, and an especially tender mama.
This is my mother and me.
Yeah...we are sideways...but, that's kind of appropriate. Because see, my world would soon be turned upside down. My mother would soon get the son she always craved, and I'd be put on the back burner...suddenly too demanding. Suddenly too...me. Rainbow baby or not....It's never been the same. I was too much work. Too sensitive. Too talkative. Too...sexy? Yeah. I was apparently too sexy by the time I could walk. Weird.
Not only was I too sexy, which is why it was my fault that I was violated while she frequented bars with random jerks...but I was also too thinky. See, I thought too much about...everything. We didn't really see eye to eye, my mother and me. Not because I didn't want to...but because she didn't want to face her own demons. She didn't want to look at her own pain...so mine was a nuisance to her. When my pain didn't just "go away"...I became the object of disdain. It was my problem. Not hers.
This is my rainbow girl and her mama...me. The me I am NOW.
If i have ANYTHING to say about...that is the way she and I will stay.
I was a rainbow baby. A discarded rainbow baby. How bizarre to know how deeply I treasure my own girl when I am an un-treasured daughter. And yet...I know how to be a good mama, cause I didn't have one! I searched high and low to discover who I am NOW. I was a rainbow baby.
Somehow that speaks to me. A rainbow baby giving birth to a rainbow baby...
I look at the pictures of the me that used to be...and I know that the twinkle in my eyes holds an understanding of joy. That twinkle has re-appeared...and as I look at my daughter, it sparkles in a wonderment that stands in astonishment as I contemplate my past in view of my present...and my future.
I know that the little girl that I was had no idea how terribly sad life could be...and life was unbearably cruel to her.
And yet, that sparkle...it remained.
That's how I know that photo is of me. I still have that sparkle.
When I look at my baby girl and her big brothers...I see that I passed it on.
I will take care to ensure their sparkles are cherished. I know what it feels like to have that sparkle ignored.
That is what tenacity gives us...even though the walls of our lives come crumbling down... we discover our innate right to love and joy in spite of hardship and our sparkle shines on.