Today would be your 20th birthday. I’ve had the time it would have taken for you to become a man & still the wound is raw. It seems that a certain amount of pain will always be part of being an invisible Mum. I miss you and all your siblings. Even though I never got to make real memories, I hold our phantom family in my imagination.
My life will always be less for your absence, but I’d never forgo the time that I carried you. You will forever be the very best part of me.
Too much time in my head is distinctly bad for me. Not getting stuck amongst all the crap i’ve crammed up there is an ongoing project. It is not an endeavour that is aided by inaction.
Staying home alone all day, everyday is not ideal. I require distraction. I need people who make me feel swell and to do things that help me feel worthy. I like knowing that I could jump in a taxi and go anywhere. Having a sense of control is massively important.
Being entirely reliant on others for almost everything makes my insides jitter. I feel more of a burden than ever. Which activates my guilt & anxiety. I’m obviously also worried about myself or someone I love getting ill. Plus the horror of all the people who are suffering & dying every day. I’m basically a big ball of negative emotions.
I’m struggling with pain. I miss my little ones. I miss all my people. I can hardly sleep. There’s very little work. There’s too much time to think. All this on my own time thinking about what I miss inevitably highlights the major omission.
When left to its own devices my is brain predictable. It clings to trauma. If not occupied with the business of living, I regress. Slip back into dreams of the births I’ll never labour through. Flashbacks of the blood & pain I did. Haunted by the over used phrase that always signaled it was over.
There are so many what ifs. Too many of my own actions to question. Huge & tiny alterations that could have changed the outcome. Things I never said. Words others can never unsay. Blame to place. Regret to carry. Penance to complete.
I feel trapped with all I’ve lost and every little thing I can’t share. The good memories are as painful as the bad. The selfies I took when my belly began to change shape. That magical second line on the test. Marking midwife appointments on my calendar. Blood tests with the right numbers. Making lists. Checking what ridiculous object the app tells me my baby is now the size of. Plans & scans & the bam bam of heartbeats.
My body remembers it all in such intricate detail. I recall the fractionally altered taste of mint tea. Sex felt different and the smell of everything intensified. I was heavy with fear. Dulled by fatigue. Yet still floating on hope and entirely delighted to experience whatever this new life threw at me.
It never goes away. I can never take my foot off the pedal. I’m always close to skidding off the road. Lockdown is like a battle not to drift to sleep at the wheel. Spending too long contemplating my past or the what might have been is dangerous. Finding ways to keep my eyes open is getting harder.
My niece will be 9 years old this week. My tiny muffin is growing at record speed. She is the oldest of my niblings. The first perfect little person one of my siblings created. The first mini Kerr to steal my heart. Our wee goddess is not so small anymore. She does however remain utterly incredible. Which is why I give you this Ode to Athena.
Athena is girl who wins gold medals in her very first Jui Jitsu competition. She speaks with that Aussie tone that makes almost everything a question, but always make her point clear. She can mimic a Glasgow accent expertly & she turns it on with perfect comic timing. My muffin has always been precocious. She walked & talked before most; her tongue has rarely been quiet nor her person still since.
Bias aside this child blows me away. Her vocabulary is impressive. Her creative talents prodigious. She excels in every subject, but more importantly, she’s kind. My Athena will brook no cruelty. Be it mean names or rough handling, tiny animal or a giant Daddy, no feelings shall be hurt. She cries foul. This Goddess rules her world with benevolence.
My baby girl now has longer legs than her Mama and as much sass as you’d expect from a kid who’s ancestry includes a Scot and a Zimbabwean. She can always come up with a game we can play via FaceTime and she still ends every call with beep, beep, beep, love you. At almost 9 she has already worked out that Disney love stories are bull & clocked it’s important to watch the news. So much of the baby Athena is gone. She now prefers jeans over party dresses and ipad games over my little ponies. My little one is big and brave and so so smart, but she’s not grown yet. She still wonders if maybe I should have married a dragon and to my utter relief she still has time for long running video calls with her old Auntie.
No matter how incomprehensible her text messages get, Athena will forever be my muffin. I’ll always know where her select freckles lie. I’ll never forget the days she fell asleep in my arms. I will always love her more than my heart can handle. She has been wowing the world since even before her first breath. I’m certain she has many more wondrous feats in store for us. She hardly needs to be told, but,