The nurse holds my hand and smoothes the hair from my face as the drugs take over. The numbness and separation begin at my toes and work their way up to my mind.
I hold the baby and the baby stops crying. Cradled there in my arms, it is a tiny angel without wings. I am the only person in the world that can make the crying stop; the power is more than I expected.
As I watch the baby walk for the first time, I must remind myself that he isn’t really walking away from me; he is merely doing what he is supposed to do.
With his little yellow book bag and matching lunch sack in tow, the baby walks into the first day of school. I am no longer needed to divert the days away.
I sit with the baby while he reads; I am constantly biting my tongue to keep from helping. I’m not going to be needed to read the hard words anymore.
I brush away the baby’s tears when he realizes that Santa Claus is really just me. Minutes later, the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy also vanish without a sound.
Girls begin calling and I can only hope that the baby won’t be like his father—I have taught him to respect women.
I watch the baby leave for his first date. “Just a simple school dance,” I tell myself, “nothing to cry about.”
In black cap and gown, I watch as the baby graduates from high school. Tears pouring down my face and only crumpled tissues found in my purse. He has learned so much, and I didn’t have a thing to do with it.
Leaving the baby at the freshman dorms, I fight back tears while filling my head with hopes that I taught him to be his own person. He is no longer under my roof.
At the baby’s wedding, I realize he is going to create his own family now—a family that has very little to do with me. This is how it’s supposed to go, but why am I left all alone?
The tears are real and the pain is real, but the baby isn’t real anymore. I once again feel the cold metal table beneath me as the thick fluid of life drains from between my thighs. Where will it go if it is no longer in me? Hollowness and hurt devours my body from the inside, masking a relief I am too guilty to feel.
The quicker the good-bye, the easier.
© Denise H. Long, 2013