My dear sweet Owen,
6 months old today, dear one. You bring me more joy than I ever imagined possible. Your smiles and squeals fill my heart and stretch it out exponentially. Being your mama is worth every minute of missed sleep, every ounce of spit up, every missed shower and all the stretch marks. It's worth all the tears and all the stress and all the worry.
The days are long, the months are whizzing past. I've already started romanticizing the early days of sleeping on the big chair in the bedroom with a tiny little jellybean of a boy in my arms. I look at the clothes we brought you home from the hospital in and my eyes fill with tears - such a tiny little being you were. You are a big boy now, a "big, fat, baby!" as your cousin proclaimed the other day with glee. (Nevermind those growth charts that say you're small for your age or you're in the low percentiles. Bah!)
Last week our family suffered another great loss, your GG, my grandmother, who passed away after 98 years on this planet. She was so well loved, and I'm so happy she got to meet you. You know, I was never certain that she really understood who you were, and after the loss of your brother, I wasn't sure if she allowed herself to fully believe you were here. (Lord knows it was hard for me to believe you were actually here, I don't blame her one bit, especially as her memory was failing her so much in these last months.) But. Owen. My sweet, sweet boy. When GG went into the hospital last Saturday night, she was almost already gone. Her heart was failing, her kidneys were failing, her blood pressure and pulse were both extraordinarily low. She was not lucid. My mom and brother were there by her side, and she was mostly making babbling noises or little moans. But around 5 in the morning, as clear as can be, she started spelling your name. "O. W. E. N. Owen." She said it four or five times, my mom said. It was the only thing she said that night that they could understand. Her last intelligible words. If there was ever a doubt as to whether she knew you were here, that doubt is now gone, little boy.
I'd like to think that she's now cradling your brother, spelling out his name, O. T. I. S. and singing him lullabies and covering his body with kisses and holding him in that warm lap of hers. We both know that doesn't really match my idea of what happens after someone dies, but I still have allowed myself the fantasy more than a few times in the last week.
When Papa came in to tell me that GG was in the hospital, you and I were asleep, and amidst all my sadness, all my fear, all my grief, all I could do was hold you. You were in bed with me, and I just couldn't let go and put you back in your crib that night. You snuggled close all night, and you kept me safe. Yes, you read that right. You kept me safe. Thank you, sweet boy.
Baby boy, please stick around, please keep growing, keep delighting us all with your beauty. (And if you want to start sleeping just a few more hours in a row, or napping in your crib for longer than 45 minutes, well, that would be just dandy as well.)
All my love,