Ten years and two days ago we drove through the beautiful English countryside just outside Wendover, speeding through roundabouts on our way to the Stoke Mandeville hospital. Maile was panting in the passenger seat, and her mother sat in the back, encouraging her.
I parked, then led her inside. She walked gingerly, the way we now walk across Lego-covered floors in the middle of the night. It was a cold, December day. December 4th. Those winter days are short in England, and the sun had already started to descend, even though it was barely lunch time. Dark days. Days when headlights always led me home.
* * * * *
I tell this all to Lucy as we sit around the dining room table, ten years and two days later.
“You came so fast,” I say, and the older four children listen in awe with smiles on their faces, the way they always do when we talk about a birth. The older ones know the details by now. It is like a children’s question and answer time within a religion service.
“What did you say when she came out?” Cade asks.
“Well, I looked at your mom, and she didn’t know if you were a boy or a girl yet because the nurse hadn’t even said anything, so I walked over beside her and leaned down close and whispered into her ear, ‘It’s a girl!'”
Lucy is smiling from ear to ear now. What a precious thing, that feeling that someone anticipated your existence, that you were loved from the first moment.
“And then your mom looked up at me and started to cry. ‘It’s a girl?’ she asked me, not able to believe it. She was so happy. ‘Are you sure?’ she asked me.”
We all laugh.
* * * * *
Ten years and two days ago. Time is not linear – it is cyclical, seasonal. I hope that someday time will circle around for them, that they will look into the eyes of someone they love with that same disbelieving joy.
“It’s a girl? Are you sure?”
Happy Birthday, Lucy.