October 31, 2011

Dot is a rainbow for Halloween.

I just now realized that I’ve dressed my rainbow baby as . . .  a rainbow baby. I tend to shy away from the term “rainbow baby,” but still, how the hell did I miss this one?

She’s been fascinated with rainbows (and with a certain pair of rainbow jammies) for a while now. I’m a believer in costumes that are 1) easy to make, 2) inexpensive, and 3) easy to play in, so I thought I’d just put together a home-made tutu with a strip of elastic and some brightly colored fabric and she could wear it with some clothes we already have. Then my mom got in on the act and made a much prettier tutu than I would ever have managed. My daughter loves it – puts it on, swivels her little hips, runs her hands over the silky fabric, spins around, grins.

We were at a party Saturday, a pumpkin carving party, with other toddlers and parents, and one of them was saying to our host, “If you ever have another one, I hope you have a boy,” implying that she couldn’t experience the full spectrum of parenting with just her little girl. Another parent was talking to me about their daughter: “With two big brothers, she’s gotten very good at grabbing what she wants.” Walking home with Dot and our broadly smiling jack o’ lantern, I kept thinking of these casually-tossed phrases, of brothers, of big brothers. I kept thinking of what I might have said but didn’t. I’m pretty sure no one there would have wanted to explore my particular end of the spectrum of parenting.

Which is unfair. It’s entirely possible someone there may be grieving a child, too. But I’d relaxed enough to enjoy playing “normal” mom at the party until these reminders came along. It was still a nice time, but I wish there were a secret handshake. I wish someone like me had been there so that we could have exchanged looks when people talked about siblings.

I know it’s ridiculous, but I sometimes feel like I’ve failed my daughter by letting her brother die. He should be here to teach her silly tricks, to make her smile, to complain when she grabs his toys. He should be here to help us with our quality control checks of Halloween candy and to offer advice on the pumpkin carving. He should be here.

Today I dressed Dot in her tie-died shirt and socks and took her rainbow skirt to school with us so she can wear it when they go trick or treating in some of the other classrooms. Mondays are sometimes hard, after the closeness of the weekends, but it was such an easy drop-off. She wanted out of her coat right away, wanted to wash her hands and then sat right down next to one of her little friends to eat her oatmeal and strawberries. She wasn’t bothered at all by the fact that I was leaving. Bright eyes, rainbow shirt, getting ready to dive into playtime. Some mornings, like this one, I look at her and she seems so vivid, almost incandescent. It fills me with joy and terror. How did I get so lucky?

She shines so bright sometimes that I can’t look at her without crying.

I’m so glad she’s here, so grateful. But, damn, I wish her brother were here to see her, to be dinosaur (or fireman, or monster, or bear – we’ll never know) to her rainbow.




  1. The love – fierce and wonderful and precious – of your children radiates out of this post. I wish Teddy was joining in with his sister’s halloween fun too.

  2. I wish he were here too. And I pretty much love that Dot was a rainbow.

  3. I love this line: She shines so bright sometimes that I can’t look at her without crying.

    Teddy shines in his own way, but I wish he were shining so close to you.

  4. I wish. Oh I wish I wish I wish.
    Totally related to this post, but then I always relate to your posts 🙂

  5. How cool is that, that she was a rainbow? And that it was her idea??

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