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She was born last night. Just before midnight Rowan arrived on April 5, 2017 after much anticipation into her parents’ arms. Rowan is the granddaughter of my long time paralegal, Lori. In the last couple of weeks, as the birth became imminent, Lori was asked by her middle son to be in the delivery room to help support with both her wisdom and photography skills. Lori could not have been more thrilled to be asked to bear witness to life being brought into this world.
Lori asked me to pull out the birth albums I have of my own daughters being born to get photo ideas. The books are leather bound and worn from my girls so often looking at the pages and asking that I tell them the story of the day they were born – just one more time. I looked again at one of my favorite lifetime photos – the moment captured above where my spouse leaned over and kissed my forehead the minute our first-born arrived.
My first daughter was also born on a Wednesday in April almost thirteen years ago. My then husband and I were the only people in the delivery room with the exception of a photographer we hired to help us preserve the day with photos. Our parents lived several states away at the time and we chose to be alone during this milestone moment.
Thirteen years ago when I was about to give birth to my first child, it had not occurred to me that one day I may find myself divorced. I did not realize in that moment that I was making what I now see was a short-sighted decision. As I looked through her birth album this week, I wanted to hear about what I was like on the day I gave birth. I wanted to reminisce about that day. I wanted to hear a different perspective and hear the things I have surely forgotten. However, the only person I could do that with is my ex-spouse.
There are a handful of these major parenting experiences – only experienced between spouses – that I carry with me and on sentimental days long to share with him. And now, that is no longer an option. As a divorced person I have a need that now cannot be filled and my only recourse is to shift my focus. I can hold the sadness I feel, but I can also shift my focus to what I do remember. I can bring myself present to my own memories of those beauty filled moments when I first held my daughter. It is a small shift. And I have found these small shifts in perspective during my sentimental spaces are all that is needed to bring me back to enjoying, appreciating, and remembering what is most important – that my first daughter was born on a Wednesday in April nearly thirteen years ago.