This Beginning

My children are polar opposites. One is a boy, one a girl. One is reserved and sensitive, the other loud and gregarious. One an introvert, the other an extrovert; he needs quiet as much as she needs noise. One is careful and cautious, the other a very risky risk-taker. So, I guess it stands to reason that these two completely separate individuals would be born in polar opposite seasons, J during the middle of a long, hot summer and M born during the dead of winter.

The other day, I had the sensation that M was in the NICU again. The weather was cold and dreary. My husband was driving us home on the highway. I was in the passenger seat of the car watching the pavement rush past my window. The sensation that I was somewhere else was overwhelming. I could picture almost the entire 30-minute route to the NICU. I could feel the cold wind on my face as I walked from the parking garage into the hospital. I remember how my body hurt, how my blood pressure was so unstable that I had to recline the seat in the car to lower it. I could smell the NICU, hear the NICU, feel the NICU. My heart ached as if I were leaving M again, tiny in her isolette, and walking into the cold night for another long ride home.

I don’t think it will ever go away. A part of winter is now bound to those cold days, 59 of them, when my baby was away from me. And on hot, sticky summer days, I am transported to the same NICU but with a different baby. The summer belongs to J.

Sometimes, I marvel that the only thing my kids seem to share, besides their parents, is this beginning.

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