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golden trumpet

For the April Girls:

Today I sat beneath a flowering golden tulip tree, and in the waning light I gathered the fallen blossoms, their soft petals, yellow footprints on my skin. It’s April again.

“How can you not remember the time of our birth?” you asked, annoyed at my imprecise memory. Fourteen Aprils ago you made a mother of me — one who’d never before held a baby in her arms, but now, for better or worse, a mother. I remember those moments, the haze following your births, was it hours or minutes, waiting to see you both, unaware of your delicate condition or my own.

I recall your irregular breaths, your inhalations puffing your small bodies and filling your chests, your mottled skin, thin and translucent, diffusing light and life. The machines, inhuman but complicit, watched as we held your twisting small bodies tight like fists, in our frightened arms. The rituals of the NICU: the knotted silence, sitting beside your transparent incubators, the long white corridors between elevator doors and other quiet corridors, the passing of minutes, hours and days, the incomprehensible unknowns, and so much more in that dreadful room — but outside your window, a vibrant tree and its free-falling yellow flowers, the sun and its slanted rays, the shadows and the particle light.

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Maya’s 10th birthday beneath the yellow tree

I am no closer today to grasping motherhood than I was that April, fourteen years ago. I am no less able to fight your fights as I was then, when we watched you sleep and wake, sleep and wake.

But here we are, me, a novice playing it like an old-hand, and you two, challenging me at every turn. You and I are each inextricably bound to that budding tree and her yellow spoken words. Her fallen flowers, tokens of that April morning when your births ushered in the daylight, this new chapter, our parenthood, and family.

Happy 14th birthday Maya & Sophie! ♥

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