Arthur turned 5 on Halloween. Anniversaries, especially birthdays, are still difficult for me. Without Bob I have no one to do my "remember when" routine with.
"Remember when I was crawling around the floor in pain and I didn't think I was in labor?"
"Remember when I yelled at the doctor for not believing the nurse when she told him I was ready to push and I went ahead and started pushing anyway?"
I have no one to reminisce with about these momentous occasions and, frankly, no one else cares. No one is truly interested in your birth story except the person you were doing the birthing with, and possibly the person that you birthed.
There is no one on this planet that knows just exactly how I react when some resident attempts to stick an IV in my arm minutes before I am about to push a new life into the world, or when the intake nurse tells me that yes, indeed, that big volcanic like spike on the screen is a contraction and, by the way, we better get you a room since you seem to be at 9 centimeters already.
But I like to remember, so I still try.
On the night before Arthur's birthday we were reading bedtime stories and I started telling him about what his daddy, his brother and his mommy were doing 5 years ago today. I told him all about how Henry was riding his bike so fast on the parkway that I was unable to keep up with him due to my enormous belly. And that Bob wasn't able to keep up with him either due to the fact that he was still recovering from his stem cell transplant. Henry got so far ahead of us that we couldn't see him on the path anymore and had to trust that he was OK.
I told him about how excited his brother was to hold him for the first time in the hospital when he was about one hour old, and I told him about his Aunt Kathy commenting on how long his fingers were when she first held him. Then I told him about the umbilical cord and how it was wrapped around his neck when he was born and that the doctor had to move quickly to cut it off so he could breathe. I explained that his daddy wasn't able to cut his cord like he had been for his brother.
Then, without warning, my lovely "remember when" story turned on me.
When I went to say goodnight to Henry in the other bunk he was crying; "I just don't understand why the doctors couldn't make daddy better" he whimpered.
As I crawled in bed next to him to try and explain the unexplainable Arthur began to wail.
"I just want to see my daddy alive," he kept repeating.
And finally; "Why didn't daddy cut my cord like he did Henry's?"
Now, Arthur doesn't even fully understanding what an umbilical cord is and why it needed to be cut in the first place. The point was that Daddy had done this thing for Henry and not for him.
There have been a lot of these types of questions lately. Did Daddy ever take me on a bike ride, did Daddy ever take me camping, did Daddy hold my hands while I learned to walk, did Daddy ever hang me from the wood molding in the living room and catch me when I let go?
My attempts to explain that he was only 5 months when his daddy died and that he never had the chance to take him on a bike ride or camping does nothing to pacify him. I try to explain that his daddy held him and bounced with him on the big exercise ball until he fell asleep and fed him and read to him and loved him.
None of this information is any consolation at all to Arthur.
Henry will say; "Mommy, remember when Daddy used to take me to the park with the roller slide?" or "Remember when I used to help Daddy make pancakes?" and I will nod, because I remember.
I miss having Bob to remember with.
What Arthur is missing are memories of Bob.
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