Thirteen years later

My children ask what there is for breakfast. I forage, as usual, for something, anything healthy to feed them. I find the makings for smoothies and we start to putter around the kitchen sorting out our various morning shuffles and routines. The blender whirs and chugs, itself an old relic at this point. It was a wedding present given to us almost twenty years ago and still manages to work day after day. It’s how I feel sometimes. Chugging, puttering, whirring, enduring. “Remember when we used to pick our own berries in the garden?” I reminisce out loud to the kids. “Oh yeah!” they chime in. “And remember how the deer and chipmunks used to nibble all of the strawberries before we could pick them?” I smile and drift off into my foggy morning thoughts. We used to have so many animals around us. Our life in the country. “Remember how we used to walk down our long driveway to get the mail and it felt like an adventure?” I reminisce again. My mind wanders to those early days with children. A new mother in a new world, alone, slightly afraid but mostly activated. “Mom, it’s always an adventure with you,” my daughter says with a smirk and a sweet nudge. They poke fun at my idiosyncrasies and I feel loved, warm, safe. “One more day!” my son chirps. Tomorrow he will be a teenager and I will inevitably reminisce about the day he entered this world. That day when we were unexpectedly thrust into a nightmare. I wish it would fade, get hazy around the edges, but it is ever present and clear as day. Razor sharp and in focus. I fought for two lives thirteen years ago. The words “birth trauma” are those that I now use on a regular basis in my new profession but back then they were the two farthest words from my mind. It was supposed to be perfect. Thirteen years later I have a shattered view of perfection and have stopped trying to find it. I know it is an illusion. Mozart drifts onto the radio as if some divine intervention bringing me back to center. I clear my throat and toss the tears welling up aside. “How’s the smoothie, guys?” I ask with a silly accent. They look at me with the widest, most beautiful eyes I have ever seen and say, “It’s perfect. Like you.” ❤️

maria carola