I’m breaking a promise to myself here. I had sworn that my next blog post wouldn’t mention Barky. That I would move on, take a small step forward and get back to blogging about 3B and his baby sister and Mama and all of those still with us.
I can’t separate the past from the present, however–a point that 3B made for me this morning. As we were getting out of the car for his last day at Mrs. K’s, he again picked up Barky’s foot long steel screw in tiedown from the floor of the back seat. It’s been back there since we returned from Grammy’s farm. I just never got around to taking it out, so Mama had already warned him that it was sharp and dangerous.
It’s actually more of a hassle to get away from 3B than it is sharp or dangerous, but those words work when we want him to put something down, and it is marginally sharp and could be dangerous. As Ani sings, any tool is a weapon, if you hold it right.
So, I repeated the warning to 3B at Mrs. K’s house. He replied to the effect that he was taking it out of the car for Barky or that Barky needed it. Gently, in a soft voice, I said, “Barky can’t come back, sweetie, so let’s just leave it in the car.”
3B set down the tiedown and stepped down out of the car and said, “Barky has his own space ship.”
“That’s right. He has his own space ship up in the stars.” I had never heard him say this or mentioned to him anything about a space ship, however. When I told him that Barky wasn’t coming back, I just said that Barky had gone up to the stars and that we could go outside at night and look up to see him, to find a star where Barky was.
We kept walking across the lawn and 3B repeated to me a warning I’d given him a few weeks ago, “Watch out for that big hole over there.” And then he went on about Barky, “I don’t see any stars.”
“That’s right. It’s day time now, so we can’t see any stars. But tonight we can see the stars. Do you want to go out and look at the stars tonight and see the stars and look for Barky?”
“We can talk to him. Barky! Barky! I can’t hear him.”
“Yes, he’s too far away for us to hear him right now, but he can hear you. Maybe tonight we can go outside and look for him and talk to him some more.”
“And he will hear me.”
“Yes. He will hear you.”
And then we were at Mrs. K’s door, mercifully. I wasn’t sure how much longer I could carry on that conversation. My preferred form of mourning is conscious ignorance of the situation, so talking about it was breaking down my defenses.
All the while, however, I was wondering if Mama had talked to him about a space ship for Barky, because, if not, 3B had placed Barky in that space ship on his own, had built Barky his own little heaven up among the stars. A space ship that I’m sure has a couch, a lawn with a sunbeam, an ever-full food dish and a little boy who always drops food when he eats.
On the walls of that spaceship, there might even be a picture from an ultrasound of another baby who will soon need Barky’s protection–but hopefully not too soon, since we still have to get her a car seat, a crib and a few other items.
But even before we get to meet her, we did get to see her again, and this time we took 3B along. It wasn’t easy since it was a daycare day for him, so we had to shuffle all of our schedules to make it happen, but Mama was nice and humored me in my desire to have 3B there, even though it was a hassle for her. In the end, I’m not sure how much difference it made to him, although it made a difference to me, as is so often the case with activities at this age.
The good news is that baby sister’s placenta has moved up out of the way for delivery, which is what we were checking on in this extra ultrasound. Baby sister is also developing well–on the day of the ultrasound, she was measuring one week ahead in size, taking after her big big brother.
After that was determined, the tech took some measurements and gave us as good a look at baby sister as she would allow. For most of the appointment, her umbilical cord was covering her lower face, but Mama did get to see her yawn–I was talking to 3B at the time–and we did get a glimpse not only of her lips, but also her open eye.
Unfortunately, it was black and white, so no idea what color her eyes are yet. Oh, and Quaatchi got a free ultrasound out of it too, after we returned home.
Although baby sister will never get to see who was making all of those barking, groaning and whining sounds she heard before she was born, her big brother will be able to tell her all about him and take her outside to show her where his spaceship is, up amongst the stars. He knows. He knows that as we walk into the future we carry the past with us, that death doesn’t mean departure, and that the living create heaven for the dead.