And speaking of owls, those of you who know me are probably surprised that I didn't go with "Hedwig" ala Harry Potter. It is my one pop culture indulgence- (I refuse to get sucked into crazy teenage vampires in love). I don't care what anyone says - Harry is good people and I love everything about him.
The month of November brings lots of good things to love. My daughter for one. She turns nine this month. Nine years... nine breaths. I am convinced that something happens to your sense of time when you have a baby. Part of you is forever left there, on that day, in that place, having that baby - like a bookmark on a really important page of a really important book. Like the breadcrumbs that Hansel and Gretal left on the trail to be able to come back to where they started. Like some kind of emotional tattoo that never fades or looks ugly and trashy.
I remember clearly in this instant how she was all slimy and pink and bloody and fat and there was strawberry blonde hair on her head and her ears, just like I was holding her then. I remember how she smelled like birth - I don't know how to describe "l'eau de birth" but let me tell you, if Eden or Heaven have a smell, that's it. New, organic and juicy. (By the way- Hell smells like a child with the flu at 3 am... just in case you were wondering.)
I remember thinking that the throwing up was finally all over and that I wanted a cheeseburger and a chocolate milkshake. I remember her screaming and how I thought "a soprano - maybe we can sing together". I remember thinking that she looked like her father, and that it wasn't fair at all, since I had done all the work. I remember how I felt all primal and wild like an animal standing between her cub and a predator... turns out it was only the nurse wanting to give her a bath. Birth has a way of exposing a girl in more ways than one.
I look at my daughter now and she is so tall (not really) and so thin (really) and she has fantastic freckles on her nose like she was dusted with magic freckle powder, and she runs and talks - a lot- and reads and is - like a person. I signed up to have a baby, and what I have now is a person. I don't think I got that nine years ago. She doesn't get to stay a baby, even though there is no convincing my memories that she is not. Even though when she was 2 she promised that she would (apparently, she is also a big, fat liar.)
After her, November will never be November for me again. To me, probably forever, November is baby having time. When I smell that fall smell and the pumpkin patches going by and the crisp air and red leaves, I can feel it deep in my body that she remembers what happened nine years ago and she's wondering when it's going to happen again. (As evidence I offer exhibits 1 and 2 - my sons- born in October, all 3 within a month of each other. All I'm saying is that I had one other pregnancy that was due in May, but that ended in October - 1 month before my daughter's birthday, almost 1 year to the date of my 2nd child's birth. I think we can agree that this proves that pregnancy voodoo is real.)
I am not having any more babies, unless there's some kind of terrible accident, but I am glad that I got to do it three times. My daughter will never remember the first time she saw my face, but I will never forget the first time I saw hers. When she was born, someone else's story became my story. When she was born, she stitched herself into my soul. When she was born, so was I ... and that's a magic that not even Harry Potter can top.