It was the night of Theo's ninth birthday, the day's festivities coming to a sweet, sweet close. We had just tucked both boys into their beds and turned out the lights, goodnights. A few minutes later, Theo's voice whispered, but how did I get born again?
I keep a cloth bag of vintage blue fabric with a red ribbon drawstring that our old and dear friend Jana gave us when Theo was born. Inside the bag was the tiniest (everything was the tiniest then) onesie with a Batik print on the front. Of course he has long outgrown that onesie, and we've long ago given it to someone else, but the bag remains in a box of treasured heirlooms in my room, and in the bag is a stack of film prints taken towards the end of my pregnancy with Theo and throughout the first four weeks of his life.
But how did I get born again? I left their room and returned with two photos. One of Theo's birth - the photo Eric took as they pulled him up and out of my womb, just after they had oh so gently unwound his umbilical cord three times from around his neck. The same one when I looked up and saw him for the very first time, alive, wailing, bluish, heavenish. I wept and forever changed in that photo. You can see it and you cannot. The second photo was of Theo just minutes after his birth, swaddled and handed over to Eric for forever's safe keeping. His hands around Theo for the very first time. Sacred.
I turned the light on and we all huddled around the pictures. We told the story of his birth and they listened and studied the photos with wondrous and slightly grossed out eyes, giggles, and questions.
And there you were, Theo. You, whose name means a divine gift from God.
Ours. Yours. All of it from then on. That is how you were born.
"Not the why, but the what." -Hemingway