March 24, 2013

She and Her Second Birthday

Maybe you're here
Or maybe you weren't
Maybe you
Touched somebody
And got burned
The silent sun
Has got me on the run
Burning a hole
In my brain
I'm dreamin' of you
That's all I do 

- Bob Dylan

She's tall. Off the charts, like her sister. Blue eyes, dark hair, even though I still think of her with golden locks. She had her first haircut recently, a trim, short bangs. She threw her head back in rebellion before the sheers made the first cut. Stubbornness runs in the family.

The two of them fight and dance and giggle and then wake up and do it all over again. Stella leads her around from room to room, ordering her every move. You be the frog and I'll be the princess, Stella says cooly, as if she's been through a thousand dress rehearsals. She plays along most of the time but isn't afraid to walk away in protest when she needs to.

She walked at twelve months, talked at thirteen. Exactly like her sister, even though I thought she'd be walking at ten months and talking in sentences by a year. Poor girl. High expectations and kids are never a good mix.

Sometimes I dream of having a son, of his eye color, his mannerisms, what kind of boy he would be.

The sun calls to my girls and having two of them ask about the beach, in addition to their sun soaked momma, means on days off we end up at the ocean more than we end up in my beloved mountains, which is fine by me most of the time. Go water? were some of the first words she successfully strung together.

People say they look nearly identical, but I can see the differences. The youngest has bigger hands and less forehead. A more pronounced Jackson nose like her grandfather. Her lips are slightly thinner.

Lately, while Stella is at school, we've been pulling her mattress into the living room and using it as a launchpad for games and wrestling and forts. And lots of tickling. Underneath her chin. Her left rib. I tickle her feet with my scratchy beard and she wriggles and screams when I don't let up. Nooooooooo daddy, she squeals.

Last night was like most other nights. I crawled in Stella's bed and my girls followed suit, curling up to me on either side, playfully fighting over which two books I'd read before bedtime. I read in my best British accent, which is really a mix of southern twang and Scottish and just about the worst accent you've ever heard. The girls giggle and beg me to read in my normal voice, a request I rarely indulge because reading Owl Moon for the six hundred and twelfth time requires some creativity. We discussed birthday plans and Stella does her best to keep secret the presents waiting for her sister. I squeeze them tight before turning out the light. You. Are. My. Favorite. Girls. In. The. Whole. World. I whisper slowly, carefully, making sure they understand, even though they've heard it nearly every night of their lives. 

Goodnight, Stella Rose. 

Goodnight, Margot June. 




Amanda said...

Thinking of you all...

Little Adventure said...

We love you all so much. Thinking of you today.

Kate said...

Hearbreaking, Josh. The scenes we play out in our heads of how our lives should be with our babies.
My thoughts and love go to you and Kari and Stella and Leo - and Margot June, as you remember her on her second birthday. Happy spirit birthday Margot.

Anonymous said...

When it comes to M I'm always at a loss for words Josh... I think of her often. She has made me appreciate every second with my girls even more! Even the tantrums and tears...
Thanks for sharing her with me through your words! Thinking of you all today!
Much love from PA.

Beck said...

I think of M often, and remember your family tenderly this week especially.

Brooke said...

It still takes my breath away, how close we all were to that other life, and how much I can miss a life I never had.

JoyAndSorrow said...


March is for daffodils said...

This is beautiful and heartbreaking. I am also missing my second daughter and reading this is lovely and painful. Remembering Margot June on her second birthday.

Alison said...

So beautiful. Thinking of your family and remembering M today.

Anonymous said...

You all have been on my mind all Month.

Hope's Mama said...

Oh god. Oh Josh this really stopped me in my tracks today. I don't even think I could write a post like this, because I just have no idea. I like that you can see a life with your Margot in it, but I hate that it is not the life you are living, even though I know your life is still grand.
Gorgeous post. Margot is loved and remembered in Melbourne.

Jeanette said...

Beautiful, so glad I'm not alone in doing this. x

Caroline said...

Beautiful. Sending you love. Thinking of M.

Mama Bear said...

I wish Margot was here to celebrate her birthday with you all. Sending love.

Tash said...

God this is beautiful Josh. Margot June is always remembered in our home. Thinking about you guys, wishing your second born daughter was here to celebrate her birthday. xx

Jamie said...

Oh Josh, I can barely read it. Missing her...

surfjams said...

Awww, hugs, hugs, hugs... You are amazing parents. Those scenes are so beautiful, so touching, and I know they are a true part of your lives right now with Stella and Leo. Wishing Margot was there too, in flesh and bones. Thinking of you tonight, you brave, courageous, inspiring people...

Catherine W said...

A beautiful imagining, full of love. Wish that your dear girls were together, wish that my own dear girls were together.

Remembering your beautiful daughter, Margot June, and thinking of you, Kari, Stella and Leo x

Veronica said...

Oh, that video broke me open. My god, what a life we all had...before.
Your thoughts and feelings are so beautiful as you express your love for your girls. So beautiful.

Remembering Margot June, with love xox

Heather Bray said...

I thought of you guys all day yesterday. Wish so much we were celebrating Margot's life instead of remembering her. Thanks for this beautiful post Josh. I love you so much!

Mary Beth said...

Read your post and have been just reeling ever since. I love it, and it makes me just crumble.

Happy birthday to beautiful Margot, who is loved and missed so dearly.

JR said...

So beautiful. Happy Birthday, sweet girl. Loving and missing her so much. xo

Groves said...


Maybe you're here
Or maybe you weren't
Maybe you
Touched somebody

yes, you did.

You *do*,

xo CiM

Anonymous said...

Love from afar to all your babies.
Margot June, you are remembered.

loribeth said...

Amazingly gorgeous post. You help us to see her too. Happy birthday, Margot.

Em said...

Beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing this deep part of your heart.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. Breaks my heart.
-Burning Eye

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