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60 to 60: Lilacs

Twenty years ago, I was on strict bedrest. I’d lie on my left side (good for blood flow) for two hours, then get up and move around for exactly 60 minutes. It was already a high-risk pregnancy when on April Fools Day 2003, I had to have an emergency cerclage. Sometimes the cervix shortens and wants to open too soon, so there is a real danger of late miscarriage or preterm birth. After all we’d been through to make this baby, now Marin was in danger of coming out too soon.

My doc stitched me up. They used a McDonald stitch. Jay and I, each with Gaelic blood, thought that was a nice touch. I was also told in no uncertain terms to quit my job immediately, and to go home, lie down, relax.

By the second week in May, I had established a schedule: two down, one up. In mid-May the lilac bushes next to our house were in full bloom, releasing a sweet fragrance like no other. For several weeks, when I could be vertical, I enjoyed the early spring blooms while my belly slowly grew.

When our family of three people and three animals moved to another house across town, we planted several lilac bushes. This evening, I’m cutting a few flowers to put into a vase for my daughter’s room. Marin returns to Colorado tomorrow from her college in New York (possibly for her last summer at home). I think as moms we always want to make things nice for our kids, somehow. Provide a soft landing. Make it home.

I breathe in these purple, pink and blue-ish lilacs. I remember.*

* When we smell a lilac, we may find ourselves thinking back to another time and place- a special garden, a birth, wedding, funeral, or maybe Aunt Mildred’s perfume. Science calls this a “Proustian” memory. This is an involuntary sensory memory that’s triggered by a molecule the nose recognizes.


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