Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Over at People for Others yesterday, the following question was raised: "When have you been astonished?"

My response: "Twenty-seven years ago this month, when the ultrasound doc said, “Two BOYS.' "

I realized that the fact that one of them is gone does not diminish the joy and pleasure of that memory ~ thank God, quite literally.

I had known since January that I was expecting twins, but I assumed that they were girls, or a girl and a boy.  How would I, a girl myself, mother two boys? (Yes, I do realize that all boys have mothers.  It just hadn't registered that such a reality might apply to me.)  I was very, VERY surprised to discover that there were two boys in there.

I've been thinking about that day, and about being the mother of boys, since the royal wedding.  Yes, Kate is beautiful, and her dresses and her sister and her sister's dresses as well, and the princes are handsome and charming, and Westminster Abbey and the music were spectacular, and the cartwheeling verger was quite lovely.  But really, what I thought about the most was Diana's absence.  How much her sons must have wished her there!

When I dream about Josh, it is as if he is right here.  Whatever age he is, he is as real as he was to me at the time in question: his voice, his gestures, his posture, his laugh, his blond hair, his sparkling blue eyes.  The nightmares seem to be behind me (again, thank God), and now the neurons in my brain seem to be capable of retrieving the most wonderful details.

I have never, to my knowledge, had any such dream about my mother.  I know what she looks like, of course, from photographs, and I have a few memories of our interactions ~ but her glance, her features, her movements ~ they are all lost to me.  She had a beautiful singing voice, which very much skipped a generation (!) and reappeared in my own daughter, and I can remember her singing, but not the sound.  I remember several of the things she said to me, but not the voice in which she said them.

A lot to have lost, I think.  But then I had two boys and a girl of my own.  

I remember the moment The Lovely Daughter was identified as such as well.  She had just been born, after a particularly harrowing labor, and my doctor said, "Look, Robin ~ she is a girl." (As had been suspected but not confirmed.) And then, "This baby's fine."  

I think that I was astonished then as well, although after two days of trying to get her here, I was more dazed than anything else.

It's a very good thing to have those memories ~ of the best kinds of astonishment.


  1. Yes - good memories are a blessing. When they begin to resurface after trauma, it is a joy to have them again.

  2. (0) thank you for sharing with us. bless you.

  3. Beautiful! I do think "astonishment" would always bring me back to my children ... birth, looks, laughter, difficulty, survival, the immensity of the love.

    I, too, keenly felt Diana's absence. I held the space for her as a mother, I watched the wedding as a mother. That might explain why I felt so sad afterward. I felt a bit sad all day.

    I'm grateful for your sharing, Robin. Such beauty and intimacy. Thank you.

  4. I am happy for you that your dreams of Josh have become a blessing rather than...something else. Savor them!

  5. Motherhood is the best and deepest kind of astonishment. Looking at my children through the years, I have often thought,"how did that beautiful creature come from me?" It is a joy to be a mother, even in spite of the sorrow. The dreams about Josh--how wonderful for you. They are like visits, and it helps tremendously. I am long overdue for one...