The prism of motherhood has put me through my paces. I try to reconcile the two realities of time moving that I face. I have Jordan stopped in time in 2008 and my children who keep me in the present. Happy New Year (?), I’m not sure that phrase will ever slip easily from my lips. In the midst of my resistance to time having the audacity to move forward as I try so desperately to redo the past, are my beautiful children who beckon me forward. My daughters in their excitement ask for the hundredth time just to be sure, “Mama can we stay up until midnight” My son requests, “Mom, can you get sparkling cider for New Year’s Eve?” Of course to all their questions the answer is yes. Yes, we’ll ring in the New Year. We’ll toast the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010. We’ll spend New Year’s Eve as a family all having our longing for Jordan, but also a need to welcome a new year.
My ambivalence about New Year’s Eve started right after Christmas. I found myself angry that the principles of Physics could not be applied to change how I needed time to work. January 2010 means the start of the 2nd year without my boy. I know I’ll never stop marking time by how long he’s been gone. Marking a year without Jordan was heartbreaking, and yet it was closer to when he was alive. The passage of time is moving me away from when my child was on this earth. Where is the healing in that reality?
Even as I struggle to find the strength to move forward, the other facets of my motherhood prism present themselves in working order. A few days ago I was conscious of my behavior as I moved through the drugstore intending only to buy batteries for Merrick’s camera and toothpaste. Right next to the batteries was a display of New Year’s party items. Before I knew it, I was buying horns and sunglasses in the shape of 2010, imagining the kids at midnight as Mark and I took pictures. I knew the kids would like the horns and glasses and that made me smile. There was only a brief hesitation as I remembered Jordan and Merrick on New Year’s Eve in the new millennium, wearing sunglasses in the shape of 2000.
“Have ten years really gone by?” would have been a question of wonderment before Jordan died. The passage of time would have been my only thought as I picked the new sunglasses, which now included some for the girls who were babies in 2000. Time now is a passage between past and present; the future is still a place I’m not ready to face. Making it through one day, one moment, one breath is all the planning I can handle now.
When I think of the past it is where six resides. The past is where the question, “How many for dinner?” was always answered “six.” When our family of six traveled by plane we sat three and three. Now, as my family learns to be five I watch the faces of strangers as they smile and look at our little family, sometimes saying, “You have a beautiful family.” I say thank you, but inside I say more. Inside I cry out “we’re really 6 not 5. I have an older son, he’s not with us anymore.” I never reveal that detail unless someone asks me how many children I have, but it is always on my mind.
We went downtown a few days ago, so the girls could go ice-skating and Merrick could check out a new comic book store. As we walked in our typical fashion with Mark in the lead and I bringing up the rear, to make sure there were no stragglers in the bunch, I watched my family with wistfulness and pride. Jordan’s spirit swirls around and within us. Our love for him is so vast. We all miss him and are blessed to be able to share our fun and wonderful memories and our sorrow and tears over losing him with each other. Our family is being reconfigured and it is an evolution. Being five is not by choice but it is new and strange and providing comfort all at the same time. My children are my gifts; my marriage is my respite and my blessing. My family is the touchstone for all that I do and the reason I continue to believe that love is what heals and keeps my heart going.
This is the second year that the clock will chime twelve and I won’t hear Jordan’s voice. But, like last year at midnight we’ll sing out his name to an open sky. He’ll hear us and know he’s never forgotten. Happy New Year Jordan, you are eternally my son, I am eternally your mother.