Mama's Little Bird

It’s been six years. Six years. When will the heat of the summer stop taking me under? When will it stop covering me in its blanket of swelter, causing my eyes to roll back and close, causing my chest to heave like a tiger’s as I walk through it all over again? Time is not distance. That much I’ve come to know. Sometimes it feels like there is little actual distance under my feet from the day Roxy died. I am like a drunken explorer with a broken compass. Every time I think I’ve navigated the swamp of summer, I find myself standing at its precipice again, wobbly and mystified.

We have a late ultrasound of Roxy recorded, and in it, she is moving. I’ve never been able to watch it since she died at nearly 38 weeks in utero, but I find myself thinking about it often. I find myself thinking about who I was then, when she was still wiggling and kicking.

When I wrote this song, I imagined it as a duet that Roxy and I would sing together through the belly of my wife, over the walls of time, through the narrowing tunnel of memory. She would take the first verse and I would take the second. Would she be a singer like Lila already is at age 4 (but too shy to perform without something over her face, being a lot like me)? I don’t know because I don’t get to know. 

The Loch Ness reference in this song speaks to how defensive inside I often feel, knowing that so few ever saw her, she may not seem completely real. But oh how real. How real. 

This song is for you Roxy, my knotted throat, my tired eyes, my first daughter, my second child.

(***I apologize for the terrible sound quality here. It’s a tired live version, but hopefully it gets the point across.***)

Darling, something’s broken
I can hear it through the walls
I can hear them making phone calls
Calling, who can they be calling?
I feel nervous and distressed
There are feathers on my arms and in my chest
I was mama’s little bird
Little bird
I guess that I’ve been walking
Through a world I just don’t get
Through a world that I can’t quit, oh
I am like the Loch Ness
I want it to exist
Wanting to believe there’s more than this
Something whistling through the leaves
Something down under the ocean
Something new and something clean
Somewhere no one else is going
I was mama’s little bird

Do you become defensive of your child's memory? How do you talk yourself down?