Chapter's End?

It's a road I've traveled hundreds of times. When we first moved to this town, it was the road to Little League. But soon, it became the road to the midwife. Back and forth, back and forth, I'd drive, the rosary CD keeping me company, all the way there anticipating hearing the sound of a tiny beating heart, all the way home reveling in the joy of it all. But that's not why I'm driving here today. I'm on a mundane errand.

Except in my memories. In my memories, I'm re-reading all the stories of their births. In my memories, I'm smelling newborn hair.

All my adult life, with the exception of the year I had cancer, whenever I've had a toddler, I've had a baby on the way. Even in the long gap between Katie and Karoline, there was a baby; we just never got to hold that one. But not this year.

This year is different. It is springtime again. Eight--no, nine-- times, springtime has brought forth the bud of early pregnancy (Christian was the only exception--he was a summer bud). First there is the pregnant spring and then there is the infant spring, the lovely pattern of my life. A sweet, predictable story.

It's not an infant spring, so my mind keeps telling me that it must be a pregnant spring. Except it's not. And that feels very strange.

I remember once when I told a friend that my sixth baby was on the way. She said, "You know, one day, one of them will be the last." And I did know. And that day was always somewhere in the future. I was glad of that. I didn't like to think about it.

Except now I think it might be today. And I'm not quite sure what to do with that thought. I'm reading the last few lines of this chapter very slowly, trying to savor every word. Because really, once I turn the page on these very long, exceptionally sweet phrases, the chapter will be over.


Never again.


That's a long time.