Thursday, December 02, 2010
You've noticed my Christmas avatar. This angel represents my daughter, Margaret.
I carried Margaret for ten months, and she weighed 10 3/4 pounds at birth. She had the darkest red hair I've ever seen on a newborn. My ex and my in-laws had always told me that Irish is a terrible, low-class thing to be. Well, my Margaret was the most Irish-looking baby I've ever seen, and she had the attitude to match. In the words of the classic film The Quiet Man, "Oh, that red head is no lie."
When she was one day old, the doctor told me to give her a bottle of water (she was breast-fed and had never tasted a rubber nipple before). Well, she shoved the nipple back out of her mouth with her tongue and absolutely GLARED at me! "Whatever that was, I did NOT like it!" She never tasted a bottle again.
Her big brother was in ICU at the time from being hit by a pick-up truck. We were bracing ourselves to lose him. Instead, Margaret grew her wings at the age of one month, a victim of SIDS. I've scourged myself for years -- I put her down on her tummy to sleep, and now they say that can contribute to SIDS. Sometimes I still wonder if I caused her to die.
I have two consolations in this. One, I know that my little bundle of attitude is keeping Sts. Peter and Patrick absolutely hopping! The other is that she's with her great-grandmother. My grandmother Margaret (my father's mother) is my other guardian angel, a skinny, frail old woman who would tell my father and my uncle to quit picking on me (big macho men -- I was six at the time). I lost her when I was seven, but I said from the time I could talk that my first daughter was going to be named Margaret. I imagine her holding my little redhead.
Margaret, a stor -- I miss you so much. I wish I could have given you a Christmas.