Friday, April 13, 2007


"You will be carrying a lantern
as you enter the world crying,
and I cry to hear you cry.
A moment that, even now,
I carry in my body."
--Elizabeth Spires--

Dear Boy-o,

You didn't enter the world crying, as I'm sure you know. You entered the world silently--reverent and purple as a bad bruise. The midwife unfolded you, like a a bird's wing--but she didn't give you to me, though the cord between us held. She kept you at the foot of the bed with the other nurse and gave you life for the second time that morning. Again and again, I asked if you were alive and though she repeated, "Yes"--I wasn't sure until you actually did take a good breath and cry, then I cried and you were on me, under a soft quilt, curled around the cradle of my skin as you'd always been. I carry that delayed cry in my body even now, seven years later today.

Yours was a long pregnancy...partial bed rest for many months until you decided to take root once and for all, a long-long-long two day birthing...the cord that kept you alive wrapped around your neck so many times at birth you were breathless...we all were breathless...I breathe in so deeply as I write these words to you now just to chase those old fears off. You are here, after all. And, at the time, I swore I'd never ask another thing of life but to accomplish this.

It's no secret how I feel about the "fragile boy syndrome" real surprise, given my family history that I worried so intensely once about ever raising you to be a man. At five, when you were felled with illness and they suspected for several horrible days that it was a tumor--something in me shattered. I will carry the weight in my chest for the rest of my life of how it felt to pick up the telephone in the middle of the children's recovery ward--while you raged and reacted badly to the sedatives they gave you for one of your MRI's, listening for the doctor to tell me whether or not your brain was clear. My tears were of gratitude, but your father couldn't have known this as he tried to keep you from thrashing in your bed. The weight of that moment is his to carry. I caught the gaze of a woman whose adolescent daughter recovered two curtains away from you from her procedure. Tears streamed and I didn't try to wipe them away. The woman nodded in some sort of mute recognition, but I felt guilty--we didn't know what was wrong yet, but we knew it wasn't cancer...and her girl's head was as bald as a newborn baby's. When you recovered from the meningitis, to me--this was your third birth.

These shadow thoughts aren't the ones I want to give you today, but birth and death are so inexorably linked. I am actually grateful for that splintering, because I know such gratitude now--I never would have been able to contain it unless you had cracked me open. You are a wonder of a boy. You work harder. You have taught me about selflessness. You share everything you have readily with your older sister. You don't pummel your little sister, even when she really-really-really kind of deserves it. You confide to your father that he is your best friend. You tell me you love me "more than a pyramid on top of a mountain". You say "life" when you mean "wife" and this makes me want to know how old the moon is and how we all got here and what we're all made up of. I know the answer for you, got here by sheer the determination that set you breathing and has kept are made up of "water and stars"--yes, you may be...but you are also made up of heart, joy, and my best dreams for the future. I wish you another year of adventure and magic. You have my heart.

Love, Mom


Blogger Deb R said...

Happy birthday to your darling boy. Those photos are wonderful!

10:24 AM  
Blogger deirdre said...

Happy, happy birthday to your boy-o. Seven is a magical year.

11:32 AM  
Blogger angela said...

happy birthday to your boy, and happy day to you D. a wonderful mum and writer. beautiful words for your babe :)

11:42 AM  
Anonymous acumamakiki said...

Happy Birthday to your Boy-O - I love the photo montage.

11:43 AM  
Blogger Kim G. said...

Delia - this is incredible. What a wonderful expression of your fierce and tender love for this boy. He is blessed to have a mother like you. And his life, an incredible journey that we know must have such meaning and potential based on where he's been so far.

Happy birthday to your boy-o! Thanks for sharing this.

1:05 PM  
Blogger jenica said...

magical mama love. i had to wipe the tears from my face just to type this to you. beautiful! hug him for us!

2:12 PM  
Blogger daisies said...

and this made me cry softly and warmly and smile large and openly ...

happy birthday to your beautiful seven, deirdre is so right about it being such a magical age full of possibilities and wonderous learnings :)

2:44 PM  
Blogger Nessie Noodle said...

chills are running up and down my body...
happy birthday boy-o. Happy birthday mommie-o.

2:55 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

Happy Birthday Boy-o! What an amazingly beautiful, beautiful post. Oh my. I felt your heart, my dear.

I am sure your boy has a speacial reason to be here, and was given just the right spirit for his journey. And just the right mom and dad to make it all wonderful!

Hey! Wyatt turns 6 tomorrow! Neat.


9:56 PM  
Blogger onangelwings said...

What a beautiful, sweet post to your baby boy. I felt like I was there for each moment you wrote about. I cannot even imagine what those experiences must have been like for you. As a mother those are some of my worst fears that you have lived through.

I hope your beautiful 7 year old baby boy had a wonderful birthday. He is an amazing person and his reasons for being here are yet to be discovered but I am sure the universe has wonderful plans for him. God Bless.

8:55 AM  
Blogger Vanessa said...

this is such a beautiful birthday tribute to your boy-o boy. I loved every word and i think he is gorgeous :)
happy birthday!

1:36 PM  
Blogger Lilian said...

Oh, Happy Birthday to your beautiful boy!! Thanks for sharing your lovely letter with us. Life and Death, linked, breaking us open. Beautiful. As your writing always is.

12:53 AM  
Blogger Emily said...

what beautiful writing, what a beautiful letter to your son...may many years of happiness and health stretch before you both

8:33 PM  
Blogger Becoming Amethyst said...

Goodness, I don't know where to begin to comment to say how much I have missed your words and what a rush it is to be swimming in the flow of them again.

I hope your boy had a magnificent birthday (it was my husband's on April 12th ~ more family coincidencess...)

love x x x x x

10:09 AM  
Blogger Colorsonmymind said...

Oh what a beauty he is.

And the letter made me tear and smile.

What a wonderous love of a family.

2:13 PM  
Blogger paris parfait said...

What a sweet tribute to your wonderful boy-o. A belated Happy Birthday - hope he's soon feeling better and can celebrate. xp

12:22 PM  
Anonymous lunarmusings said...

You are the Mother Goddess. And this letter to your darling boy brought tears to my eyes. So powerful, so raw, and just sheer Mother Truth.

Happy Be'lated Birthday to him, and Happy Birthing Day to you dear one!

9:09 AM  
Blogger MAHIMA said...

This is the most beautiful post i've read, I've linked it to my blog(WATERMARK), if you don't mind. I've provided a link to your blog. Its my must read for everyone who visits my blog this week. this is incredible!
A Very happy belated birthday to your beautiful boy who inspires such phenomenal writing.

8:34 AM  
Blogger Moonroot said...

This is so beautiful. Made me cry. And what a beautiful boy he is!

11:20 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

Just beautiful
so glad I saw link at Mahima's blog. what a wonderful gift from you to your little to cherish...and to read and understand anew with each birthday

1:38 AM  

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