Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Obie's Fifth Bee Day

Social media is at it again with the "decade challenge" or whatever it's called. The one where you are supposed to put a picture of yourself in 2009 next to one from 2019. Look how old we look now! Look how young we were then!

We haven't done it. We haven't cataloged the things that have changed between then and now.

In 2009 it was five years before we would become parents. In 2019 it's five years since we became bereaved parents. Recency bias being what it is, the five years from 2014 to 2019 loom large in our memories. It started with trauma and tragedy, followed by joyful births, growing toddlers, and persistent grief.

Less and less we talk about the worst moments. They might never be spoken aloud again, but the emotion from them still wells up on occasion. We have stronger coping mechanisms now and we are more practiced at pulling back when the grief threatens to suck us into a downward spiral. Most of the time.

Oberon would be five. FIVE.

Instead, he has been dead that long, and we live on in the absence. During and after his birthday this year, we focused more on our first baby.

Obie's O, Obie's Bench, Obie's Siblings, Nov 23, 2019

On November 23, we hiked at Uvas Canyon. We haven't prioritized hiking as much, so it was anyone's guess how well Everett and Imogen would do. They did great. Both of them hiked up to Obie's bench at Manzanita Point on their own (3/4 of a mile up trail that is quite steep in places), and Everett made it almost all the way back down as well. There was some drama about hiking poles and getting too close to the end of the trail, but generally speaking they were good listeners. Everett and Imogen tend to spontaneously break song these days, sometimes with a made up tune. We were treated to Evie's Hiking Song: "We're hiking, we're hiking, we're very very hiking. We're going up a steep hill, so let's keep going!" (to the tune of "It's Raining, It's Pouring). Everett also hollered at passers by that it was "Obie's Bench," which made us smile. We do wonder if any of them read the plaque on their way back down.

Obie's Bench, Manzanita Point, Uvas Canyon County Park, Nov 23, 2019

Evie's Hiking Song, Nov 23, 2019

Family Selfie on Obie's Bench, Nov 23, 2019 

Hiking at Uvas Canyon Country Park, Nov 23, 2019

Hiking at Uvas Canyon Country Park, Nov 23, 2019

Hiking at Uvas Canyon Country Park, Nov 23, 2019

On November 24, Obie's Bee Day, we were somewhat mellow. We did the typical double gym and swim rigmarole in the morning, where Everett tried to tell his gym teacher that it was Obie's birthday. She replied, "Oh yeah? Who is Obie?" Then she got distracted by another child or parent, not hearing Everett's response... "The first baby Mommy and Daddy had." The wording was familiar, repeated from a photo book we have that discusses Oberon.

Later in the day we made birthday cake and Elizabeth got in some scrapbooking time. Five years later, there are still photos in the bin waiting to be grouped together and decorated. Some piles are shorter than others, and many of the remaining pictures are grainy and out of focus.

 Making Obie's Birthday Cake, Nov 24, 2019

Making Obie's Birthday Cake, Nov 24, 2019

Making Obie's Birthday Cake, Nov 24, 2019

Everett has said a few times now how sad he is that he doesn't get to see Obie alive. Elizabeth showed him a video of Oberon on her phone, and he wanted to watch it over and over. Is it simply the novelty of getting screen time? Is he really curious about the brother that came before? We think probably both.

Oberon, Dec 9. 2014

A new book we've been reading is A Perfectly Imperfect Family. While the baby who died in the story is a girl, many of the other details line up with our family story. She was the first born, she lived for 33 days, and her little siblings participate in traditions keeping her memory present.

With more data points now, it seems that every November might be this way. Astonishment at how much time has passed, longing for the boy who didn't live, expressing the love that still does. Both looking forward to and dreading the holiday season.