i remember her birthday.
She was late - and i remember her due date coming and going - and begging in whispers to neil that she not be born on the seventeenth.
The seventeenth was my baby's due date. My sister in law and i had been pregnant together - but then... my little boy came early - and my September grief was still too raw in February to fathom sharing the date that we had circled on the calendar to be his...
But, my little niece - in God's grand design - was born wee, pink and wailing on the seventeenth... and it's her day.
i remember my mother in law phoning to tell us that their baby was on her way. i remember feeling like flinging the phone from my ear - grabbing my little blond sprite in my arms - and running.
i felt a panic - like the giant waves of my grief would wash us out to sea... and in my agitation, the need to gather my chicks under me... to protect them while the angry winds wailed... but there was one tiny chick whom i couldn't gather - & even though i knew he was safe at Home - i felt my job incomplete.
i held Cairo - my tiny comforting wisp - in my arms - and tried to remember with gratitude the little one i was carrying in my womb...
but i wanted Caleb.
When she arrived... i think neil took the phone call, at least, i can't remember it. And then days came after that day and softened the blow... and the years passed - and the injustice of that date lost it's sting somewhere along the line.
Now she's 13 - & one of the sweetest girls in the world. She's shy around both neil & i - but loves my girls like they're her sisters....
And the seventeenth? ... it's her birthday.