Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Missing: One Child
December 9th is her birthday. I’ve written of her before and here. She is somewhere in Bristol now, we think, but her plants are still in the window of a flat she had in Ireland. An aunt checks on them, does a drive by and gives us an update on the plants. Silly, you would think. But it’s all we have of her, her father, her sister and me.
Her father and I email each other today. My last email to her bounced. He has snail-mailed a card and gift to her address in Ireland. Our baby’s birthday, we say. And there is nothing more to say, she has dropped out of our lives.
She came quickly on that long ago day. She’d been so quiet inside me I’d worried about her. Distrusted the obstetrician and his soothing assurances. This was pre-ultrasound days. Her father and I’d been Santa shopping for our toddler when I felt the first signs of her wanting to leave me. Early by ten days.
I watched her being born, quite painlessly, in a mirror above me. She was placed beside me almost immediately in a little incubator. A perfect little girl with a nasty eczema spreading over her little body. She couldn’t tolerate clothing for a week so she lay, like some Hollywood star on a sunbed, in her opened incubator in the nursery window soaking in the rays of the healing sun. Stark naked. She always hated that story. The vulnerability of it perhaps, she never explained why.
She has abandoned us all, some of us more hurtfully than others. Her father got his FOAD on Father’s Day one year. I got mine in Manchester in January 2003 when I flew over on an emergency trip while she was threatening to kill herself. Her sister got hers a couple of summers ago.
We are talking of flying to Bristol next year, making it a trip to visit Cornwall and Devon and the Lake District and as a sidebar searching for her. We don’t want to make the trip about her as we know we would be setting ourselves up to be disappointed.
But if I were floating freely, untethered from kith and kin, I think I’d like to be found.
Happy birthday, baby girl.