As said previously, tis Doris’ birthday today. Perhaps today’s post will be a departure from my usual fodder, a ( small) step out of my comfort zone.
It goes without saying that the births of my children were all incredible and empowering and special in their own ways, but Doris’ was really
quite special to me for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, unlike her older sister’s birth, I felt like I surrendered the whole process to my body, to let it just get on and do its thing, the thing that it was made to do, without trying to step ahead of it, to grab control of the situation, I was just somehow able to just go with it.
Doris was born in November 1996, in September of 1995, I got a call, an early Saturday morning call from my brother. He told me our mother was dead. It was sudden and shocking brutal news, which 15 years later sometimes still shocks me.
So the following year was bad, it was hard and there were dark days and inert nights and climbing out of it was like getting out of a hole where the walls were covered in vaseline.
But we did get out of it, we learned, eventually, to live with it and expecting Doris was a big part of that, knowing I had to get my act together, move, find a path and my three and half year old Sunshine and this new baby were my compass. I wanted a girl. We had a girl.
As I said, giving birth to Doris, was a surrender. I was at home for most of the labour, going in and out of the shower, and while I realise
some people may dismiss this as rambling, hallucination whatever, I saw my mother as clear as day standing next to me. She was there, right next to me, through labour and the birth. She said to me over and over, ” It’s only pain.”
I never saw her again after Doris’ birth, I’ve never even dreamed of her. I’ve heard friends who’ve lost their mother say they often see her in a dream, I never do, I never have.
Somewhere along the line Doris got stuck coming out, and when she was born, she was battered and bruised, looked like she’d done 5 rounds in the ring. Sunshine had come out looking like a fresh peach. Doris, was red and purple, she had red lines across her eyes that took weeks to disappear, she was swollen and mottled. This was Doris’ first fight.
So there we were, a family of four, 2 perfect little girls, going about our lives until the rug was pulled out from us.
At 4 weeks Doris got meningitis. She was in the hospital for a couple of months, back to dark days and dark holes, back to a view of the universe as inhospitable, hostile. this was her second fight.
Obviously, as I am here, remembering this and celebrating her 14th birthday, the universe was giving, Doris survived. they told us that she might be blind, or deaf, she may never walk, it was too early to tell if damage was done, we had no frame of reference, she was too young.
So the following year we anxiously awaited her achieving her milestones, when she walked at 8 months we thought she was telling us to just chill out, it would all be okay.
And it was, and it is. And here she is, with us today, with a magnificently strong, sporty body, that she takes care of, that she’s aware of.
And then on top of all that, pure icing, the gravy that Raymond Carver so brilliantly writes about, she’s so much more too, all these things that are just her, that have nothing whatsoever to do with nurture, she’s wise, she’s kind, she’s compassionate.
I’m really very fond of her.