Postcards from the ledge

July 27th, 2008

I know I said I was going to be posting old stuff while I was away at retreat this week, and I suppose I yet will. But here I am on the cusp, the razor’s edge, of another year passing. When I come back next Saturday we will be days away from celebrating my daughter’s 9th birthday. It is a miracle, but no greater miracle than any other day. Once you get in the miracle business, you see, they just keep coming. Since I am spending a good part of my time missing my family this week, you can join me as I post pictures of what you’ve missed so far.

Here is Georgia Grace as she appeared at her premature birth in August 1999 at 34 weeks of gestation. We would soon pity the parents with those behemoth, 6-pound babies in what appeared to us to be the nursery for run-of-the-mill king-sized kids. They seemed so ā€“ how can I say this ā€“ big. But she was fine; she was ready for this. As many of you have witnessed since, I certainly wasn’t.

The thought of this day, and every day since, makes me tear up in amazement. There are many parents who know more keenly than I do the cruel afflictions of early-term birth. I weep for the inconsolable impossibilities. And in our case, I weep for the possibilities. I weep for the whole unknowable universe of it. The waiting and yearning, the coming and going, the missing, yes the missing, reminds me of this post, one of my first, which remains forever true. I’ve never lived any day or place that I wasn’t waiting for her all night. Missing is what it means to love.


  1. karen. thank you as ever and always. this post, and the original one, are both so tender and filled with wonder at this life of ours.
    i hope your retreat is wonderful. sit well.

    Comment by Holly — July 28, 2008 @ 12:57 am

  2. Oh Karen, this is so beautiful it made me cry, especially the little note from your daughter.These things make us rich, not money.

    Comment by Pam — July 28, 2008 @ 1:24 am

  3. A lovely miracle indeed.

    Although the rest is all perspective–as my son was over 9 lbs. and his head was so big they ended doing a brain scan on him just to make sure there was only brain in there. 6 lb behemoth–ha For at least 2 months after when I saw other women I’d ask, “Why is she walking like she’s not IN PAIN?”

    Oh, birth stories. At least every size is beautiful, of course.

    Comment by mapelba — July 28, 2008 @ 2:41 am

  4. I was just looking through my photo archives and saw some of Claire last November. She was so, so tiny compared to what she is now! She looked like, well, like a BABY!!! She grows, and so do I.

    When I go to bed, I actually feel my body yearning, setting itself to be ready for seeing Claire in the morning. Day after day.

    Beautiful Georgia Grace. What a grace she has been to you.

    Comment by kathryn — July 28, 2008 @ 3:10 am

  5. Sweet baby girls. Is there anything more amazing than seeing yourself reborn and new, as you watch your daughter grow. So exquisitely painful and joyous, this motherhood stuff.

    Comment by Mrs. B. Roth — July 28, 2008 @ 6:22 am

  6. I love birth stories šŸ™‚

    Comment by Kristin H. — July 28, 2008 @ 3:02 pm

  7. the miracle business. that’s the business i want to be in. what a way with words you have.
    and what a touching post and tribute to your lovely girl.

    Comment by tracey clark — July 29, 2008 @ 2:18 am

  8. happy birthday, GG!

    “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle”

    – Albert Einstein

    Comment by Wendy — July 29, 2008 @ 2:07 pm

  9. Beautiful post!

    I was one of those poor souls with the behemoth newborn…my first born weighed in at 10 lbs 1 oz and sat in his NICU bed next to 2 newborn twins who were born at 4lbs. My son weighed more than those two babies combined.

    Comment by THopgood — July 29, 2008 @ 10:36 pm

  10. This makes me want to cry. How beautiful.

    Comment by Shelli — August 1, 2008 @ 11:33 pm

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