Sunday, November 10, 2013

Finn's Giraffes


Finn's giraffe wall sconces, newly installed in an empty nursery.

We hadn't got to unpacking yet. His nursery was just in the process of being painted when he died. It was going to be identical to the nursery we put together for him on Pearl Street, the trim was done, and the walls were prepped. The ceiling was already blue waiting for the clouds. 

After we lost Finn I begged that all the baby stuff was taken out of the house and the nursery painted plain. Slowly recently I've been requesting some of his things back... the chair, the giraffe in the elephant chair, the pictures for the walls, and the sconces.

Rohan installed the giraffes on the boring-beige walls yesterday. 

We picked up the sconces from the border in early September, when I was 39 weeks pregnant with my precious Finn. I was so excited to see them for real after falling for them online (much bigger than I expected but that's okay). The ride to the border was uncomfortable, my belly was heavy, my legs were swollen, but I was blissfully happy and filled with anticipation of new life. I imagined all the nights I would be in the light of the giraffes looking into my baby's crib. 



I think I'm going to have the blue sky and clouds painted again. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Finn 8


Sometimes I wonder if he was even real, was he really mine? He was in my arms for such a short time - born at 5:39 on Wednesday, September 18th and gone by 3:17 on September 29th (though he was recessutated and fought for for nearly another day, in my heart I knew he was gone when I found him). After he was born I said over and over that I couldn't believe he was mine. He was so beautiful, every little bit of him was perfect. 
It's impossible to try to accept that his perfect little body is gone now. He grew inside me for so long, he was part of me. I can't physically adjust to it, I can't emotionally understand. All those beautiful, perfect parts as ashes, some of which hang around my neck in a locket I'll never, ever let go of.

My precious baby boy. 

The photo of the photo above, on our dining room table after his service. It was taken in our room together for the first night sine he was born. It was Saturday evening, September 21st.
He was wrapped in his blue blanket (I'll keep it with me always) and wearing one of my favourite soft cotton hats - which I had thought was so small before he was born but it was actually way too big for his little newborn head.
At the moment of the photo I think we were both grateful to finally be together. He had been in the NICU since his birth on Wednesday in the late afternoon. I was so happy to have him there snuggled against my chest.

He spent most of the night either crying or nursing, and I think I got about two hours sleep; it was a real welcome to life with a newborn kind of nights. Not easy by any measure, but I was actually excited about it. 
I never really got to the point of the ugly sleep deprivation. He left too soon.


Finn 7

I remember this day, sitting in the same chair I'm in now by the fire. Finn slept against my heart between nursing sessions and nothing else mattered. I'd give anything to be back in this moment.

He was so content. I was so happy. I've remembered and cherished these moments from when Hannah was a baby and had been looking forward to the feeling of a baby sleeping on my chest again for so long.

How can he be gone? I don't understand. I don't understand. I don't understand. I miss him so much.

Finn 6

Yesterday I had so many words swirling through my mind, today - nothing. Blank. I can't even remember simple keyboard commands, or how to download the photos off my camera. It has taken me hours this morning to accomplish anything.
I stood on the doorstep trying to take a photo a photo of the sun rising. (Apparently I've also lost my ability to operate my camera. I stood there in the doorway as the sunrise began with my camera staring at the controls - I knew what I wanted to change but not how to do it.) 
Today's was the second sunrise I've seen since that last Saturday. 
I've been sleeping through them all, until yesterday.  

I know that had Finn not died 
I would be on that doorstep every morning 
with an infant in the Moby 
and a camera in my hands. 
I've imagined that image for a long time. 
Watching sunrises (and moon-rises) with Finn was something I was so looking forward to. There is so much to watch from his window - every window. I imagined playing I Spy with him, and told him so. In the few days we had together in our chair by the window I talked to him about all the things I could see - that he soon would, and how much fun the two of us were going to have watching the world go 'round before our eyes.
his hair
his precious precious hair
look at how perfect his little head is
"Finn watches freighters from the front door." was how I captioned this photo. Edie commented that I should take the same shot every year of his life - I thought that was such a great idea. I imagined so many years of sitting on the steps with him, watching cars go by eating popsicles.

My head is full of all these imagined moments; I think of all the things I was going to do with him and sink when reality reminds me he's gone... and I'll be doing these things without him. For so long the only thing I've imagined myself doing was being a new mom again - the walks we would be going on, the swim classes I had eagerly looked into in August, Kindermusic, and all the mommy and me activities ...not only all of those things, but the images of how I would be going about daily tasks with a young person again, and looking forward to simple things like having him in the swing in the middle of the kitchen while I cooked, or trying to take a shower when there's nobody else around. Doing these things now feels awkward ... it takes me a few seconds to realize why it feels awkward - again the sinking feeling sets in. It's that emptiness again. I miss him so incredibly much.

I was awake around three this morning. Couldn't sleep, head swirling with too many horrible images. Images I'm to be facing and dealing with, but hurt too much right now so I keep trying to cover them up with memories of Finn when he was alive, when he was home, when everything was so good. The painful memories haunt me in my sleep, wake me rattled, weak, disoriented. 

I've been having regular acupuncture sessions with Sarah since Finn's death which, as always, have been extremely helpful and healing. It's not just the needles but her compassion, friendship, gentleness, and calming presence. She's been working a lot on breathing, and how to use concentrated breaths to help pull me together when images and reality make me fall apart. I've been holding my breath - I catch myself doing it often, only realizing what I'm doing when my body suddenly gasps for air. I immediately think of Finn, his death, and I panic. Sarah's breathing techniques don't stop the breath holding from happening, but if I can get it together in time hopefully I can eventually learn to take a concentrated breath before the panic sets in.

I tried to breathe last night - just breathe.. I told myself to think of nothing but breathing. It's so much harder to do than it should be. 

I tried to think about nothing but my breaths and the steps I took on a walk yesterday, trying to tune my body, get some rhythm back. It was impossible. I probably looked drunk stumbling along the sidewalk. My postpartum body doesn't know how to sort itself out. My hips are still sore, shifting. My incision is still open and being packed every day by VON nurses and distracted me the whole time I walked. It hurt through it's numbness - kind of like all of me. I'm in a fog, I'm numb, I hurt.  

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Finn 5

Of all the special knit hats I collected for Finn,
this was the only one he ever wore.

Nobody would have ever have seen this photo if he hadn't died.
I was just playing around with the hat and the backdrop,
seeing if I liked the two together. 
I was just preparing for a photo session, 
this was taken with my iPhone. 
I never even got to take a single photo of Finn with my camera.

I love looking at his little body,
the little wrinkles on his back,
his eyes open, him all curled up
still used to being inside me.

Finn 4

He was so alert and had such curious eyes. I loved watching his work to focus on things and look at me. I could feel him studying me. I wondered who he was going to become, what kinds of things he would like, what he would study, ...I could tell he would be an interesting person, intelligent, a thinker, involved.

Finn 3

I'm feeling such disbelief over what has happened that everything now seems like a dream, or a movie that I'm watching. I don't even think things sound right to me, like everything around me is being filtered through something. I'm a part of it but not at the same time. Every now and then reality hits and the pain washes over and through me just like it did when I was told he was going to die, that he was already gone. It's like somebody dumps a bucket of ice water over me but it washes over me internally, a hot/cold sensation. It hurts.

He was only six pounds two ounces at his first, and last, doctor visit when he was a week old. He was so little but I was still trying to memorize the so many little bits of him - I worry now that I won't remember, that I didn't have enough time, there aren't enough photos.


I remember commenting to Rohan about Finn's knees 
and how big they were 
and how I thought he was going to be tall. 

I can't believe he's gone. Sometimes I can't believe he was ever even real. Was the time with him all just a dream?
I'm so outside of myself right now. This can't be my life, this couldn't have happened.

We met with Hugh Walker yesterday - grief counselling. (I can't believe I'm going to grief counselling for my baby.) He talked about the absurd, and the impossibility of accepting the absurd as truth (I should go over the notes he sent us home with) and that things like this aren't meant to make sense so trying to understand it is pointless. I think I knew as soon as it happened that I would never reconcile this.
It was helpful yesterday, the session with Hugh. I have pretty much no recollection of what was said right now (helping me understand why he gave us the notes) but do know that what was said made sense - at a time when nothing is making sense to me.

The days and weeks following Finn's death are all a blur to me. I remember every second of his final hours, but after that it's all just jumbled. Now fuzzy.

It was the morning of his last day with us that I took the photos of his feet. It was more challenging than I expected to take photos of baby feet with an awake baby - he was kicking and stretching and I marveled at how familiar his movements were. I could remember him moving like that inside me. After having imagined those feet for so long, there they were kicking before my eyes. They were perfect.

Finn 2

I knew I would miss being pregnant before he was even born. I loved being pregnant - ailments and all discomfort aside, I loved it. I knew I would. I loved the feeling of a baby - a new little person with so many possibilities growing inside me, watching my belly grow, and documenting it all with almost daily belly shots.

Sometimes, now, I wish he was still inside me. I miss the anticipation and excitement. I miss feeling him move (Really move - I'm still having phantom feelings of him inside me. Perhaps they're real, just twinges as my postpartum body sorts itself out, trying to return to "normal"...).

I've been feeling really homesick for Pearl Street. I haven't been there since the early morning of September 18th, leaving in labour and thinking nothing of it - just of a new baby and a new house - a new life. Now I really miss the old everything. We have had some good times there - lots of them. Lots of difficult times too, but when I think of the house I think of over crowded tables with too much food (and wine?), lots of noise, lots of silence, beautiful evenings on the balcony, beautiful mornings on the balcony. I miss watching and waving to my neighbours - having Heather at arms reach, T and T's boys paying on the street, the playful sounds of the back lane ...my garden.
This house sort of lacks the neighbourhood feeling that Pearl Street had. My view now is great - can't beat it,  right(?), ..but I find myself longing for the familiar view of the street, the trees, the people nearby. I feel like everyone is so far away now with no sidewalk directly outside my door even though we purposely moved away from that, thinking the distance was better. It's really hard to say what's "better" sometimes.

I think I'm equating a lot of my homesickness with missing being pregnant. The memories that flash most through my head right now all have to do with being pregnant - everything from morning sickness and days on the couch with headaches to trying to induce labour by bouncing on the ball in the living room, decorating that incredible nursery, waddling out to the balcony (I can still smell the air from that balcony, feel it... that balcony was some kind of magical), bellyshots around the house and garden...  .
I have more memories of being pregnant with Finn than being with Finn. 
I think about it constantly now. 

So much happened in the time I was carrying him, life changed so drastically. I credited my pregnancy with saving me through the loss of my mother. As hard as it was to face having a baby without her, my baby gave me reason to take care of myself and not fall apart.
Sometimes, now, I wonder if she had to die so that she could be there (wherever there is) for Finn. I like to imagine them together - with my father too. Sometimes I picture Finn as a little boy between them holding their hands. I like to imagine him safe with her, learning from her. Were their lives and deaths somehow connected?

How completely unfair. My heart is so broken.

I think about all the places 
Finn and I 
went together while he was inside me. 

When I go out now I find myself remembering

"I was here with Finn"

"I walked this path with Finn"

and when I'm in my own world thinking 
I remember trips we went on - to Ottawa (and one of the first bellyshots on Parliament Hill)

and to Duluth, twice, to get the car we needed for our expanding family.
I think about all the places Finn and I went on my scooter (breaking my promise to my mother that I wouldn't ride while pregnant).

I so badly want to turn back time, have my belly back, have my baby back. 
The emptiness is painful and is going to slowly swallow me for the rest of my life.

The last bellyshot, 
taken the day before he was born 
during the final walk-through of the new house before closing:

Finn 1

I was instantly crazy in love with him. He was cuter than I could have ever imagined. 
He was perfect. 
I love this photo of him.

Our first skin to skin time.

Forty weeks plus five days of being together with him growing inside me, 
and this was the first time (finally) I got to see his face. 

It had felt like it was the longest wait. We've been waiting to see this face for four years.
After having miscarried twice, I worried the whole pregnancy that I would lose the baby; but he was here now - he was laying on my chest and he was healthy and beautiful.
(Obviously a whole new kind of worry sets in after a baby is born, but you don't usually let your wildest nightmare think those thoughts.) 

I remember squealing and crying, saying over and over again that I couldn't believe he was mine, ...he was so, so cute. His resemblance to his father is so present in this moment - he looks like a Millar boy - I had a little mini Rohan resting on me in this moment.

It was a long labour he and I had just gone through together. He didn't like it much (neither did I); so after just a few attempts at pushing and watching his heart rate drop on the monitor it was decided a cesarean would be best. I just wanted my baby in my arms alive.
He had swallowed meconium and was wrapped in his cord and was not permitted to cry when he was born - and act that undoubtedly saved his life. The only part I saw of him was his feet while Rohan was given the chance to announce our baby's gender, which he did by saying, "We have a Finn!"
I couldn't hear him or see him after that, it was just a blur of doctors after that hovering around Finn to the right of me, with Rohan still behind me by my head holding my hand, and a lot of disorientation (and the shakes) from the surgery I was still undergoing. I kept asking if he was okay, but even then I didn't think anything would go wrong. He was born.

The time spent in recovery is now a blur, and now seems like it was just a short time (I don't think it was). I remember Rohan and Hannah coming in, showing me photos of Finn, telling me how cute he was. Even Dr. G. took photos with her phone and showed me.
(Finn was in the NICU after his ordeal, and would spend the next three days in there recovering and balancing his sugars.) 
When they wheeled me in to see Finn for the first time I was ready with my iPhone (bride cam turned baby cam). This photo is one of the first photos I took of him. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Morden Sunrise


27 June 2013

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Watching Things Grow

The garden this morning: it looked good, everybody's growing, not over planted like in other years. I left the urge to go overboard for the baby's nursery.

John Davis (far left back against the back porch) is tall and lush. It's going to look incredible all covered in pink.
Peas, leeks, beets, carrots, kale & chard), beans, zucchini, cucumbers, Brussels sprout, tomatoes, hot peppers, garlic, herbs. I think that's it.

The west side garden is billowing over the walkway - exactly as I imagined. I still have some planter boxes & pots to fill, but it's all coming along nice. The Lophospermum that followed me home the other day is actually hanging on a hook the holds a ladder - not an actual plant hanger. I'm not sure where it will call home, but the best light for it (partial shade and either early or late sun, avoiding blazing heat) is along the west side, so somewhere along there it will live.
I filled the three tiered bucket containers with torenia and leaned it against the house, and it is quite happy there, so there it stays.

The baby's nursery, a room put together with well washed garden hands, is complete. I think I can finally say that. I've been dreaming of this room for three years. 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I feel so at peace when I sit in the nursery chair (which swivels and glides, and is a little slice of down filled heaven). With eleven weeks to go I just want to sit here and enjoy being pregnant.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dear Garden Diary,

Odd couples...

This mystery rose (adopted mislabelled last year) was thought to be dead earlier this season, but here it grows. Never one to give up on a plant too soon, I left its dead looking remains in place and planted the Thunbergia snug beside it. Now the two are happily (and quite vigorously) growing together. 
I'm extremely curious to see what colour the rose chooses to bloom. It was thought to be yellow, but bloomed a deep pinkish red instead. I can't even remember the breed-cultivar it was thought to be - but it certainly wasn't what I thought. I'm happy it survived.

In other yellow news, R chose a 'Lemon Boy' tomato on a recent rampage through the Vanderwees vegetables. We thought we were done adopting tomatoes, but apparently not. I planted it today in the large vegetable bed next to a zinnia. 
My baby belly is getting big (and dirty) now. Toes are disappearing. I have finally concluded that I'm not going to be able to keep up with our garden on my own this year. R loves the work, but is out of town too often - and has a very long honey-do list of other baby preparation things to accomplish on the few days he has off. So, I have decided to hire a gardener. 
Crazy! ...but necessary. There's so much weeding to do in every bed - especially around the junipers in the 'dog forest' ...I get exhausted just looking at it. I figure if someone can come in, weed it all and put down new mulch, I think I can handle the rest. 
I've also hired someone to build us a dog poop compost (oooo fun!), and someone to replace the sod in the middle of the yard...which will soon become a small play area for our baby. 

I have accomplished a lot myself this year, especially considering the belly. The front shade garden is looking good - I weeded that yesterday, and filled in some holes with a new Heuchera, another cranesbill geranium, and some blue lobelia to fill in the gaps. 
Everybody else is coming up nicely in shades of blues and purples, pale yellows, and lime green foliage.  

The west side garden is also looking lush and tended. Both vegetable beds are planted and relatively weed free... I've managed okay. 
I'm just daunted by the big perennial beds. The help will be so appreciated, and make all the difference.


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Dear Garden Diary,

Rows are being planted... The photo above was taken a few days ago. The first row is peas - since then I've added bird netting to the poles for the pea tendrils to climb. The next row will be leeks, which I will bring home from the greenhouse soon. Next to that I've planted beets, then a double row of carrots. Beans run along the curve of the fence.
Peas and beans are in easy reach for dog treats. :)
The west side garden is coming up nicely. Geraniums are full, hostas are peeking through, irises are sturdy. This year I'm dotting pots of butter yellow petunias around to compliment the blues and pinks that are planted in abundance.
I've also added a "swan yellow & pink" Aquilegia to the west side beside the house. I'll never get enough of these dainty flowers.

In other garden news, Claire has found her way under the back steps (by stomping across newly planted lavender and osteospermum. It's hard to get mad at someone so cute.
R might be closing the steps sooner than expected. ;)






Morning Glory


I suspect I'll be taking a lot of photos of these morning glories this season. :)

sunshine, blue sky, and tree leaves

It's a beautiful day today, and with plenty of reasons to put my feet up I'll take this opportunity to enjoy the view from our backyard deck. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

ready, set...

Clifford wonders
why are there so many fences around me?
our vegetable garden
24 May 2013
Rows are ready, peas are in, next to be planted in the large bed: carrots, beets, leeks, kale, cucumbers, zucchini, beans; already up: asparagus. In the small bed: tomatoes & hot peppers. Herbs throughout. Perennials rising, containers sorting themselves out...
Middle "yard" still a mess, waiting for paving stones.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Dear Garden Diary

Morning Glory
at Bill Martin's Nurseryland
I adopted one these established morning glory plants (the one I photographed in fact) not knowing what I'd do with it.. but I couldn't resist. I brought one to my mother's last year and tried to train it along her balcony. It didn't like it there; the wind there was too strong - but I have to give the little vine credit, it tried. 
I gave Laura my favourite blue delphiniums yesterday after admitting (finally) to myself that we simply
don't have the space for them in our garden. Perhaps my clematis will now have enough room to ..you know, grow. I thought the blue of the morning glories will make up for the lack of blue delphiniums. I planted them inside the vegetable bed to ramble along the fence.

I'd like to waddle on down to the greenhouse now - there are things I need: bird netting to train the peas on, more string, sunflower seeds ...[I will not have sunflower envy this year gazing down and across at Laura's garden.), ..and of course, more flowers.
I could be helping - making cuttings, maybe even planting a bit..., but my back oh my back is so incredibly sore. I've gone from sitting in a hospital room around the clock to trying to catch up on garden work, and making up for household neglect.., not to mention nesting syndrome is in full bloom. I want to do everything, but my watermelon belly says no.
my watermelon baby
23.5 weeks
The greenhouse smells great, especially the vegetable and herb greenhouse. We've already adopted Grape and Early Girl tomato plants, still needing a Roma and maybe another. I'm trying so hard to keep the garden at a manageable level this year, and only plant what we will use (so we're not giving away boxes of tomatoes on our front step every second day). They'll all live in the small vegetable bed beside the porch - a hot bed, and most protected space in the yard. I'm expecting a glorious crop. 
Thanks to the addition of a towering herb planter, most of this year's herb garden is already under-way,  leaving a little more space in the bed. Other than oodles of basil I don't think we need any more herbs. Some lavender varieties are waiting to be added here and there - for the bees.
garlic chives, osteopermum, Munstead Lavender
and me
in the small vegetable bed
Our asparagus is coming up. They're the first to rise in the large vegetable bed. I'm so excited to eat them. I haven't quite settled on a plan for this year's large vegetable bed, and I'm beginning to assume it's just going to come together as I plant. Two rows of peas are now in, beans to follow, carrots and beets too. We need kale and cucumbers, and some space reserved for a zucchini mound. The cucumbers I plan to train skyward again - that worked well last year as a small space saver. This will be my first year with this garden without interruption. I'll be too far along with this pregnancy to travel to Australia this year, and though my heart is broken over that I'm happy to have the time to dedicate to the garden. Hopefully I can keep it under control.

happy pansies
at Bill Martin's Nurseryland

Thursday, May 16, 2013

May Moon

the moom
16 May 2013

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Pregnant Gardener

my pregnant belly
considers
where do I begin?
I've had plenty of time to doodle and make garden plans for 2013; April snow storms and May flurries have bought some much needed time to make my move. Now I'm caught between continuing the clean up and getting down to planting. Pacing myself and my growing belly is going to be this year's greatest challenge. 



Life & Death

Patricia Vervoort (nee Mulcahy)
age 21
It's been one week since my mother passed away. She took her last breaths as the sun rose on the 8th of May, 2013. As she left the morning light filled her hospice room with warm pink light. I held her hand.

As inevitable this day was, predicted three years ago when she was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, I still couldn't believe it happened - I couldn't believe I was there to witness it happen. I don't want to believe she's gone.

She was still living on her own at home (with a lot of help and a lot of difficulty) at the beginning of March. Her turn for the worse seems so fast now, in retrospect ... six long weeks in the hospice, two previous weeks at the regional hospital - those days felt so long, now seem so few. I was with her every day and am so thankful for that. Those days are precious.
9 April 2013
Her last few weeks were the hardest. It was heartbreaking to watch her slowly lose her faculties, lose her ability to fight it, imagine her feelings and frustration. Our one-sided conversations made me miss her voice and valued opinion so much more.

10 April 2013
Our six weeks in hospice saw us go from sharing our favourite tangy coleslaw from Maltese and watching Jeopardy together, to me sitting in silence staring out the window on to the harbour, watching the icebreakers and first lakers of the season, watching the sunrise. In early April she was still raising her eyebrows at me, and using her pointy finger of derision when teased. By mid April, though she couldn't say much any more she could still smile when shown some of the cute baby clothes I've purchased. By early May I was holding my breath while watching hers.
During her final days I sat beside her writing her obituary. I kept thinking about how it was the first major work of writing that I would do without her advice. She's been my best editor, my best source for information and direction. She had wanted to proof read her obituary... I'm sure she would have thought what I wrote was too much, not modest as she was, and too expensive to print; although I think if she could read it now she would humbly approve.

Today I'm sitting writing this at out dining room table which is nearly buried under flowers from her
service. Flowers from friends, relatives, former students of my mother - all with sympathy cards attached. They're all beautiful, all so depressing.
Beautifully depressing sums up the last two months perfectly. During a recent prenatal appointment my doctor kept referring to my mother's death as a beautiful thing; at the time I did not agree, did not understand..., now I suppose I can say that it was. It was a beautiful moment, surreal, an incredible event to be so entwined in. I watched her, felt her, take her last breath. I'll never forget the light.

16 April 2013
I'm 22.5 weeks pregnant now. Feeling the growing life inside me while my mother's life slipped away is an overwhelming gift. I understand that now. It doesn't make losing her now seem fair; how am I supposed to become a new mother again without her? I feel like an orphan - a pregnant orphan. Without this baby I don't know how I would manage. This baby is holding me together like nothing else can - just like Hannah did the year my father passed away.

I don't think it has all sunk it yet - we've been so busy making arrangements, settling her estate, visiting with lawyers, accountants, preparing her service. Today, this afternoon to be exact, is my first alone time in weeks, and the first time I've had to start begin absorbing how much life has changed in such a short time.

I had decided I wasn't going to anything this afternoon. 'Put my feet up and get lost in my thoughts' was my plan. Instead I got lost in one of my mother's travel journals - found this morning among her belongings. It's documents her trips to Bhutan in 2008 and to the Mediterranean in 2009. She wrote as she explored - sometimes in the air, sometimes on buses... scribbling notes on everything from her step count to descriptions of people she met, sights she saw, architecture, landscape, food... - everything. Her handwriting has always been so impeccable, but in moments throughout this journal, as in her final months, it becomes scribble as she travels along the bumpy road.


She lived a full life. She learned as much as she could, travelled as far as she could, loved passionately, fought for what she believed in, and challenged herself every step of the way. She has left me with so much. I know Hannah has a memory full of her Nana, her lessons, mannerisms, what it was like to travel with her. She's lucky, and grateful. Now I'm daunted by the task of ensuring the baby inside me knows the woman who raised me.

...and on that note, more flowers just arrived...