Friday, June 22, 2012

In Terms of Joy

About a year ago I wrote In Terms of Pain while in bed recovering from a head-on collision. It's on my mind because something crazy miraculous happened on the anniversary of my accident...


This:



This is Ben.


On June 16, 2011, a car accident jolted my world, shifted my paradigm, brought me face to face with mine and my family's mortality, and refocused my priorities.

Six days ago, June 16, 2012, Ben came into my arms, all waxy and newbornish, and brought me face to face with... pure gratitude.


I'm a writer because life is beautiful and painful and unexpected and I can't let the beautiful, painful, unexpected moments pass without celebrating, or honoring, them. In my fiction, I try to make up lovely symmetries that move people, like the incredible bursts of light that happen after we suffer through darkness, or the heroic sacrifice of one life that makes possible the birth of another.

But the truth is that these bits of balance and symmetry only move people because they are rooted in the human experience. We've all experienced these symmetries, or you might say coincidences, that are just too perfect not to notice. They make us stop what we're doing and see, really see, the world around us -- sometimes for the first time, sometimes after a long time.

So what do I see when I look at these two life-altering events dated coincidentally a year apart?

One whole year of LIFE. 

365 reasons to be thankful. (Don't worry, I'm not going to list them all. :)


I only want to share this one moment with you:


My mind settles slowly back into my body. With the final fury of instinct past, I'm completely blank, like an angel has pressed my restart button. Donna tells me, "Look at your baby, Katrina. He's looking at you."

And I remember where I am - what I've just done.

I look down at the baby in my arms. Here's Ben. He's absolutely perfect, I'm convinced of it. I can't look away. His tiny dark eyes watch me in the dim morning light. I take his long fingers and wrap them around my finger. Then he lets out a cry. Just one, like he's testing it out. We go back to inspecting each other. I've given birth twice already, but I've never had this moment before. It's monumental, this sudden and unexpected calm. I could stay in the water forever, just touching his silk cheeks, watching him breathe. "What do you think?" my husband asks. "Does he look like a Benjamin?"

"Oh, yeah," I say, coming back to the world around me. "Yeah, he does."

Ben starts to cry again, and all I want to do is hold him close, kiss his face, and teach him to smile.


20 comments:

  1. Wow. This brought tears to my eyes. It's amazing how quickly we forget the pain and exhaustion when that little miracle is finally in our sights. :) Congratulations to you and your family, Katrina. What an amazing year you've had. :)

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  2. I was also brought to tears by the end of this. When I first saw you write his name, Ben, I had a few doubts. I've had life altering troubles caused by a man, a boy, named Ben. But your Ben is fresh, new, and has his whole life ahead of him. I will love your Ben.

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  3. Unbelievable June 16th. Wow! That sure is something. Welcome to wee Ben, and heart felt thanks for sharing a bit of what sounds like a remarkable year.

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  4. Wow, thank you for sharing these incredible moments. Your Ben is beautiful, and your post reminds me to stay present and grateful for the wonderful gifts in my own life. I think I'll do something special with my son today, just the two of us.

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  5. Beautiful post. Congratulations on the birth of your son. Health and happiness for you all.

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  6. Wow, what a year you've had. Congratulations on Ben's arrival! He's beautiful!

    (Sorry it's been so long. I've been more of a lurker.)

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  7. This is sooo beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

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  8. Congrats on your beautiful baby boy, Katrina. What a blessing to have something like his birth replace the memory of what sounds like a horrible car accident from the year before. This is a lovely, touching moment. Thank you for sharing it.

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  9. Congratulations! Ben is adorable! Now you have something wonderful to remember every June 16.

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  10. Oh Katrina! I'm getting all choked up. This post is absolutely beautiful, and so is Ben. <3 Congratulations on a happy, healthy baby!

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  11. Congratulations! Welcome to your new little June Bug. My little June Bug turned 11 yesterday. Summer birthdays are the best. Warm sun, cool water, and giggles.

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  12. What a wonderful post--thank you for sharing this with us. Welcome to the world, little Ben, and congratulations on your new addition to the family!

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  13. Wow! You really have a gift at pulling us in to share your experiences and remember our own. Well done! Can't wait to see how it translates into your story-telling. Just keep writing when you're inspired to write like this.

    And Ben is the perfect name for the strong steady son I know he'll be for you. Every Mother should have a 'son of their right hand' to rely on.

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  14. Oh, that also brings tears to my eyes. I'm so happy for you!!!

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  15. Congratulations!
    This post struck me in a couple ways too. First, the name Ben. I have no idea why, but it keeps popping up in random places. A short story I wrote and then just randoms spots.

    The second is the date. My anniversary. Which just past w/o either my husband or I noticing! Our lives are so full that we handn't planned anything, but totally missed the day because we were in the mountains helping a friend hunt a missing horse. All ended well and we're blissfully happy whether we notice the date or not.

    I'm glad it's a meaningful date for you and that this year is much happier than last.

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  16. Wow! What a story and what a blessing your little Ben it:) He is such a cutie and I must say, I'm partial to the name Ben. That is my son's name:)

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  17. Congratulations! I loved your description of the moment of Ben's birth... magical. Beautiful post!

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  18. Awwww. Nothing's as beautiful as a baby. I should know. I've had 5 of them.

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  19. Congratulations, and I LOVE the name Benjamin!! That was my first choice for our son, but my husband didn't agree. We ended up with a Jack. :-)

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  20. Congratulations, Katrina! May your life be filled with these magical, grateful moments.

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