finn and oona
Finn first. I loved him so much already, but now I'm loving him with such a piercing keenness. He's brighter and sharper and more poignant in all my senses. His skin is so soft and real when I kiss him, which is constantly.
Things I love:
-His giggles and wild sounds when I'm holding him out horizontally to eat him and make funny noises at him. Apeshit, he goes. I am providing him with the best time humanly possible.
-His pointy fangs that somehow appear the most clearly when he's laughing. The fangs are unreal. He's like a Swiss army knife. I had no idea the Rowleys were actual wolves.
-His cuckoo hair that's 75% straight except for a swath across the back of his head where it curls up and tangles as though that part of his head belonged to some old lady with a curler'd hairdo who was left out on a desert island.
-His long, kicking legs like a tiny male Rockette.
-How he's taken to saying with extreme enunciation, apropos of nothing, "I. Don't. Know."
-How he's suddenly averse to wearing pants. No pants. NO PANTS!
-How, when we looked out in the garden this morning and saw a big fat orange cat in our yard sitting still and staring at the front gate, Finn said, "She's going to go get the mail." This was a good guess! Nobody who lives in our house ever uses the front gate unless they're getting the mail. We leave via the carport. Finn put two and two together. That cat didn't go get the mail, though, because a.) it didn't have the mail key and b.) it's Sunday.
I have a child! He made it! He lived! He's mine! Miraculous.
We're really in love, Finn and I. He throws his arms around my neck and smashes his face against mine until our bones are crunching painfully together, and he has these crazy love eyes and this wild fangy grin. Nothing is ailing me ever in that moment. I could be dying in an earthquake and if Finn were smashed into my face grinning like that I'd be having a wonderful time in my impenetrable bubble of joy.
If an upside to the miscarriage is that I'm seeing Finn more clearly and loving him better, then it gave us a gift and I would go through it again. But I don't want to go through it again.
It feels weird to call the miniscule babylet who visited us for a split-second "Oona", but my head is tingling in a supernatural way that tells me someone is saying BUT I AM OONA. So, good, good enough for me. Oona is sitting on my shoulder while I type. Good. Hello, sweetness. This is wonderful.
If I only ever have a hypothetical daughter, I can't exactly say that it will be enough for me, but it will definitely be something. I'll take it.
On the night that I miscarried, when I was sitting with Dave and my brother and talking, I became aware of something beautiful happening underneath the pain and sorrow. No, not underneath them - right inside them. It was related to womanhood. I was being given a fuller understanding of womanhood. I could feel it happen, like, vooom. Something dropped in. I don't even know if I can verbalize it. I go back to the Jim Jarmusch movie Down By Law, where Roberto Benigni's character says, "It's a sad and beautiful world." Men know this, but women know it differently, I think. Not better. Differently. Motherhood escorts you to a room where you're given a perspective unavailable elsewhere. And then loss connected with motherhood, even a gentle loss like mine, takes you to a room within a room. There's a room within that room where I haven't been, and hope I never, ever go. I don't want that much understanding.
There are women of my acquaintance, and friends of mine, who have had losses many degrees more severe than mine. I have a drop in my cup now that tastes like what their cup was overflowing with. It makes me love all women more, makes them all newly precious to me in some strange way. Oona gave that to me, which makes me long to meet her.
I have this invisible person in my head who's criticizing this as she reads, like a non-ideal reader who's saying to me, "Oona didn't give that to you. She's not real. She wasn't here. She isn't here. You had a few cells gather together for a minute. You're romanticizing this and it's irritating. Get off it." I don't know what to say about that, what to say to that person, except that I'm the one providing the meaning around here.
Lots of free-floating defiance connected with this miscarriage, looking for a home.
Back to what I was saying before I so rudely interrupted me. That drop of the experience I had around womanhood makes me feel like I really should have a daughter - even I only get a hypothetical one - so I can plumb the depths and explore all the corners of this female experience. But I'll say it. I want a daughter. I want a living, breathing daughter. What a festival of teaching and learning that would be! I may never have more of a daughter than my imagination and faith have given me here in this small form, but I hope hope hope. I listened this morning to the mix of songs I made for the baby, and I felt this longing in my chest to meet this person who was coming. It tugged my heart so directly that it felt like there had to be someone on the other end of the string, pulling.
You know what's weird, also? With that mix of songs...many of them sound sweet and tender on top, but on closer listening they could have almost foretold what happened. I put the song "Fallen from the Sky", from the Once soundtrack, in the mix. I hadn't gotten to know the song well but I found the music sweet and joyful. I had just dazed out, lyric-wise, after the opening phrase. You must have fallen from the sky. Sounded good to me! Sweet baby coming down. But then it goes on.
You must have fallen from the sky
You must have shattered on the runway
You've brought so many to the light
And now you're by yourself
There comes a point in every fight
When giving up seems like the only way
When everyone one has said goodbye
And now you're on your own
Etcetera. Oh. Could have given that one a closer listen. And, of course, the Alicia Keys song, which transposes neatly to a miscarriage situation. Mmm.
Long ago, Dave and I picked out the names Finn and Oona for our hypothetical children. They took on a life of their own, our children, and they seemed real to us long before we took steps to make them. We imagined that Finn and Oona were floating in the birch trees watching us get married in my mom's front yard. (And then! A dear friend gave us a wedding present - completely unknowingly - that she had commissioned: a fabric hanging of a scene of birch trees with two fairies hovering among them.) Later we found out that Finn and Oona were already a famous pair in Irish mythology. Finn McCool was a giant and Oona was his clever wife who always bailed him out of trouble.
Yesterday morning when Finn woke up, he looked at the shadows in the curtain and said, "That's a cat right there." And then he said, "I want to see Oona."
My heart stopped. We didn't tell him about the pregnancy, didn't ever tell him Someday you might have a baby sister named Oona. At Christmas, we did have a group of porcelain figurines that were like a caroling family: a mother and a father and a son and a daughter. We named the son Finn and the daughter Oona. So he didn't pull the name out of his ass or anything. But he hasn't talked about those figurines at any point since Christmas, and it wasn't like he was particularly attached to the little girl figurine. It was truly bizarre.
I just said, "Yeah, I want to see her, too."
Later I was telling my brother about this, when Finn was in the room, and he asked Finn, "Who's Oona?" Finn said, "She's a little girl." I asked, "A little girl?" He continued, "Whose mommy is Tina." WHAT? I still can't even quite believe he said that. David asked him, "Where is Oona?" But he just got quiet and went back to his Legos.