Never was there a more sentimental rabbit hole than the new Facebook app, On This Day. To prove it’s addictiveness, because it is “not yet available” to all users, I regularly sign on to my husband’s page to fall down it.
On this day in 2011, a naked and newly-2-year-old Asher sang/screamed “You are my sunshine” with his Aunt Jessie.
On this day in 2008, Jack started his first day of primary school in Ireland.
On this day in 2006, Ella was born.
I wish I remembered more of my babies than Facebook does. But the truth is, my memories are painted in wild watercolour, the edges only blurry splotches. I have visions of singing late night lullabies to a restless baby boy or how every day we’d find a new permanent mark on our rental walls, drawn by the hands of a wily toddler. I remember how she’d march down the centre of our Meath garden allotment, tearing fennel leaves off the top, shoving them straight into her mouth. She’d do this in grocery stores, too, not realizing their fennel must be bought before snacking.
I don’t remember their first words, though. I don’t remember when Ella learned to walk (North Carolina, maybe?) or when Jack slept through the night (I’m thinking he was 5) or when Asher finally stopped screaming (could be we’re still waiting on that one).
But I do remember wishing I could capture every single thing and hold on to it forever. Every birthday poked a little hole in my mama heart; I’d go to bed on the eve of their big day with tears in my eyes.
Oh time, I’d say, I hate you.
Yesterday Ella turned 9. She was our only planned baby, our easy baby. When they told me to push, I thought hard for a moment and there she was: perfect and pink with spiky brown hair like her daddy.
We fought for that girl, losing a baby to an ectopic pregnancy exactly one year earlier. My OB ran across the hospital campus just to deliver her, our victory baby. A long season of grief gave birth to joy.
She nursed for 20 minutes like a champ and then slept for hours on end. She loved being held until it was time for a nap, suddenly turning squirmy and fussy, practically begging for a bed by herself. She was our October baby, Autumn embodied. We dressed her in lavender and brown, took pictures of her in fallen leaves. She was somber and standoffish until 18 months when we moved her to Ireland and she first tasted salt water and sand.
Then she became a rascal, indefinitely.
Words cannot describe this child, but it’s fair to say she’s everyone’s favourite for that very reason. She’s unpredictable and fierce and hilarious. She’s got eyes like old pennies. She holds a grudge. She pretends she’s an animal.