“He’s so cute. How old is he?”
“18 months. About. I think.”
I hesitate, but suddenly I don’t know. It seems like he’s been 18 months forever. I make a joke.
“With my oldest, I knew to the day. After seven, I know he’s one. And when he’ll be two. But I have to work out the months.”
And we laugh and the conversation goes on. But somewhere in the recesses of my mind, it bothers me. He HAS been 18 months forever. Why does this month in particular seem so long?
In the morning, I take my seat on a bucket beside the cow to milk. Lately, I’ve been apathetic about the whole milking thing. I like the cows. I love the fresh milk. I love the fact that my daughter’s GI doctor used the word “pristine” to describe her recent lab results and is beginning to question whether the original diagnosis of ulcerative colitis is even accurate. And since there is an abundance of anecdotal evidence linking whole raw milk with the alleviation of gastrointestinal issues, you would think I would be more excited than ever about milking.
But I’m not. And it’s kind of weird. This is what we have worked for for so long. Through all the struggles getting started and all the frustration last year. I now have a trained milk cow. She knows what to do. I know what to do. Her calf knows what to do. And while I have never achieved that happy state of looking forward to these moments of relative peace and quiet while I’m alone in the barn, there is no stress involved in collecting our day’s milk.
So I rest my head against the side of the cow to reach her teats on the other side and it occurs to me that little Asa has been 18 months for an awfully long time. And for the first time since first having that thought, I start to do the math.
. . . in December he was 12 months . . . August is the 8th month . . . he should be 20 months . . .
And then it hits me. September 3, he’ll be 21 months. Tiggy was 21 months when he died.
These waves of grief seem to strike out of nowhere. Time doesn’t really weaken them. It just spaces them out more. Makes them more unpredictable. Makes them harder to talk about.
But next week, my little boy will be 21 months old. He’s a little bundle of energy, curiosity and joy. He brings so much joy . . . and fear. It sometimes makes it hard not to parent from that dark place that only sees 1,001 ways a child can die rather than the thrill of exploration and accomplishment. And I’m so thankful he’s a cuddler because right now, that’s all I really want to do, anyway.