Tuesday, 1 May 2012
I gasped out an apology: "It's just that (gulp) she looks so (sniffle) helpless..."
The nurses exchanged a look and chorused: "Third Day!"
Four years later (plus a couple of weeks), I sat in my hospital room with newborn younger daughter a few feet away. I had a stack of birth announcements on my lap and with a calligraphy-style felt pen was filling them out, large tears flowing down my cheeks. I was careful not to let them hit the cards and smear the ink. I knew that it was "Third Day", and there was no point blaming my misery on the wait for a private room, the difficulties in getting younger daughter to latch (resolved by the private room, by the way), or the complications of this second, more challenging delivery. It was Third Day. Third Day becomes Fourth Day and you get on with it. In the meantime, it was the time to cry. That was all.
Twenty years later (minus a week), I wait in the airport for elder daughter, who has completed her second year in university in Halifax, and turned twenty the day before. I'm listening to a pod-cast of BBC Four's radio version of Twelfth Night featuring David Tennant as Malvolio. (Not that it's relevant. But it's the reason I'm listening.) I look up to see a lovely young woman in a cream-coloured jacket gliding down the escalator.
Come and kiss me, sweet and twenty...
She doesn't, but I do get a hug.
Not quite a week later, I make myself trudge down to the corner coffee shop. It's Sunday evening, so I know there will be a seat, and this is younger daughter's fifth psycho-developmental-educational assessment which has been sitting unopened in our living room for several weeks, so I know I need a latté, a biscotti, and a wad of tissues. There are no surprises. The psychologist (a new one who was mentored by the old one) has been thorough, thoughtful, and kind.
The tears don't come, but later, as I salve myself with family research at the computer, the tears arise unbidden.. I continue to work, noting my wet eyes, but doing nothing about them. It's the time to cry. That's all.