Right where I am 2013, four years, nine months, 26 days

June 10, 2013

Written for Angie’s amazing Right Where I am project.

This past week, I poured some water on the hanging basket of petunias by our front door. And a humming bird zoomed down, his wings thrumming as he hovered by the flowers, by me, and then he dived through the air, away.

It felt like a blessing.

I still struggle with my faith, but I do believe in blessings.

I read what I wrote last year and I marvel because last year everything was struggle and weariness and I had just come to a full and clear realization of all my broken places. And even though the fact that Teddy would have been five this August still brings my mind to a stumbling halt, even though I haven’t made peace with the loss, I feel like there are more hummingbirds and fewer fears in my life now, more adventures and less weariness.

I am still broken, but healing, and more at peace with my broken places. N is more than nine months sober. Dot is three years old. Teddy would be five. Five, the age of kindergarten. Half a decade. But I won’t really know what five looks like until Dot gets there. I learn more about what Teddy might have been as his sister grows. It’s a curse and a gift, this backwardness.

My dreams have been tossed into the ether, far-flung, teased apart, and now I am trying to see what they will turn into. New old dreams with patchwork faces, covered in dandelion seeds and damp with rain. I think I’ll let them take whatever shapes they choose. They’ve been through enough of me trying to tell them what to do and now that I’ve let them go I need to accept their new shapes and wildness.

Some things stay the same – the love fountain that burbles up and refuses to stop – so much love for my little huckleberry who is beyond my reach. I want to know that this love reaches him somehow, but I don’t, so I hope and hope that it does. The yearning still takes me by surprise. I can go for days without noticing it all that much and then it pulls me down, again, and I grasp at all those lost years and smells and touches, cry for the missing smiles and the satisfying weight of corporeal love. I worry at my favorite fantasy – Teddy and Dot, together. I am selfish and greedy. I want them both. I want to smell sunscreen and dirt on their hot little necks, in their tangled hair. I want to referee arguments and tussles, I want to watch them run, together, to the tallest slide at the playground. I want and want and want.

N sends me an article on how single children are happy, intelligent, and well-adjusted. Maybe he is reassuring me, or maybe he senses my wanting and is trying to fend it off. I’m happy not to ask right now, to hold the possibility of another child very delicately in the back of my head, like an egg not ready to hatch or be cracked into the frying pan. For right now I just need to know it’s there.

I hover, like that hummingbird. I feel strong instead of just called upon to be strong. I am hollowed and hallowed, full and continually plucking at the edges of the hole where Teddy should be. I am between dreams and choices and this should terrify me, I think, but it is a strangely restful place to be just now.



  1. “I feel strong instead of just called upon to be strong.” Yes—it feels good doesn’t it, not so drained, not so weary and worn. (Oh, I hated the word strong for years.)

    I love the idea of your dreams as dandelion seeds. May your dreams find ground and flourish like their yellow-flowered images.

    Enjoy this resting place as long as it lasts or until you are ready to take flight again. I loved reading this, both the images and the change in you right now.

  2. So beautifully written. “holding the possibility” Strange what can be a comfort. “Hollowed and hallowed” I listened to Neil Diamond’s ‘Pretty Amazing Grace’ endlessly when I was pregnant with Laura. This phrase resonates… Love to you.

  3. More hummingbirds and fewer fears … I like that. Resting places can be found in unexpected places. I too liked the images that floated through your post.

  4. I don’t think it is selfish at all to want both of your children. Thinking of you and Teddy. Wishing that none of us had to live in a world without our child/children. Sending hope and hugs.

  5. I’m glad you’ve found a nice restful spot. Put your feet up, make yourself a nice drink, after almost five years, you’ve certainly earned it.
    Goodness, I can’t believe I’ve know you and Teddy for that long. This was one of the first handful of blogs I found. How on earth did any of us make it here.

  6. It is not selfish to want both your children with you–if it is I am guilty as well. But I get it.

    Lots of love to you.

  7. There is so much that I recognise here although I would not be able to express it anywhere near as beautifully.

    I am selfish too, I want them all here. Together.

    The yearning, the need for that corporeal love, that physical presence that I will never have. And the love. I hope, hope, hope that it reaches them somehow, in some form. That they know how very much we love them.

    I am glad that you have found a restful place and I hope that your dreams reveal themselves, in their new shapes.

  8. This is gorgeous, Erica. I wish you had them both here too. xoxo

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