We’re breaking up with our house. It is indeed, hard to do. I think I’ve never vacuumed or mopped the floors as much as I have during the past week, for constant visits from potential renters.
Edgard thinks I’m secretly in heaven since I now have a legitimate reason to bitch when the house is a mess. I am. not.
A 1937 relic, built when everyone fled Miami’s gruesome summers, the house possesses certain charms. Two mango trees in the yard. A fireplace. A Florida room. None of those features will make me nostalgic.
I only need to take one thing with me when I go–my memories of becoming a mother in this house.
This post is for my son Prose. For him, this blog will probably be like my uncle’s 8-tracks were for me– very dusty and barely functional when he’s old enough to be interested. But, it’s my best effort to preserve some details that I will likely forget with time.
My dear, sweet little man:
When I was pregnant with you, I researched and soul searched the best way to bring you into the world. On week 34 of my pregnancy, I finally decided to deliver you at home with the help of a midwife, a rare choice in Miami. Once I made the decision, I felt relief–and could concentrate on welcoming you into our world on 42nd street in Miami Beach.
We rented a birth pool, we bought supplies, we stocked the freezer, we did test runs with the midwife.
Your due date came and went with no appearance from you. My midwife warned that I would need to be induced at the hospital if you were more than 14 days overdue. And I got my first lesson in parenthood. The stork doesn’t deliver babies, Miami’s postal service does.
Still, I tried my best to take control of the situation. I got acupuncture. I walked Meli for hours. Eleven days past your due date, we took a road trip, seeking the calm of the Everglades and the stimulation of spicy Mexican food.
The next day, I went to labor. After six hours, you were born on October 6, 2009 at 12:13 a.m. — one of Midnight’s Children. You took your first breath in the bedroom next to the Florida room and that’s where you greeted the first morning of your life, sleeping soundly between your mom and dad.
I feel blessed that your birth was so easy and that I was able to have you at home. Your first days were a holiday during which we learned the basics of parenting. We were a cozy unit in our simple beach cottage, feasting on French pastries and drawn out meals while you slept in a baby hammock. The days were so warm, we wrapped you in a diaper and a light blanket, much to the surprise of relatives and friends in colder climates.
In this house, you learned to crawl, walk, eat mango, give gentle pets to Meli, hug and identify airplane noises with a pointing finger and a clearly pronounced “vliegtuig”. You spent long days on the beach and every morning walking through the neighborhood park full of Banyan trees.
When you are older, will journeys to the heat and humidity of the tropics stir deeper memories? There’s no need to search. Your first breath, your first love, they live on Miami Beach.