Joseph left a note on Facebook asking for memories, so memories of Joseph have been going through my mind all day. The little boxes on Facebook are too irritatingly small, though, so I needed to move to a different space to start writing.
So this is for Joseph:
The day Joseph was born
When we got the news that Amy had finally had the baby (Peter and I had been looking at the return date on our tickets and getting a bit nervous), somehow Mother and Dad thought a decision had been reached that they should go first to see their new grandson, and the rest of us should take turns going in quietly a few at a time later throughout the day. As soon as their car pulled out of the driveway and turned the corner, we all agreed that we knew what our sister liked, so we all piled into (at least) two cars and headed for the nearest party shop – all of us: Dan and Pat, Jim and Sara with baby Jack, Peter and me (I have been trying all day to remember whether Kris was with us too, but I think she must have been). At first we were a bit stymied, when the party shop had no “welcome new baby” banners, so I think we agreed that “happy birthday” would be close enough, bought banners and balloons and headed for the hospital.
Mother was not pleased when she looked out the window and saw us all parading down the path with banners and balloons, but we did know what our sister liked, even as exhausted as she was. Jack, in particular, was clearly having a wonderful time, although I doubt that the hospital staff was any more pleased than Mother was.
At some point then, Clifford and I went outside together to smoke. Listening to him talk on and on about Amy, about this amazing baby, the whole overwhelming experience, I felt that I could understand what Amy had seen in him, why she had decided to marry this man. It was the first time (sadly also the last time) that I heard him speak of Amy with genuine admiration and respect, and I was touched to see what the birth of his son meant to him. With all the hurt and disappointments that have come between, I am still glad that I had that brief opportunity to catch a glimpse of the man that Clifford might have been.
This beautiful, wonderful new little person that was born that day: it meant so much to me that Amy has asked Peter and me to be Joseph’s godparents. Amy had shared my pain in losing my first two babies, knew the fears that Peter and I were facing that we might never be able to have children of our own, and she was willing to share her baby with us, for which I was – and still am – deeply grateful.