Compost: My Daughter’s Birthday

On the night of July 27th, 2005, when my daughter C was pregnant with my first grandchild, I had a dream. Because I can (this is my blog, after all), I am sharing my dream:

I am on a sailboat with my two daughters, H and C. We are sailing around Puget Sound on one of those sunny days that let you know you live in Paradise. C is hugely pregnant and I am giving her a baby shower. Except for myself and H, the other attendees at the sailboat shower are, in reality, dead. They include my Aunt V, who died in 1992, and my Aunt R, who died in 1986, and my Aunt T, who died in 1990. Also present are both my grandmothers, one dead in 1964 and the other in 2002. Plus two great-aunts, who died when I was a teenager. The aunts and grannies are having a great time, relishing the sunshine sparks on the blue water and the feel of the wind on their transparent faces. Their laughter floats on the waves.

Instead of shower gifts, we are passing around a basket. The aunts and grannies are putting money in the basket. Wads of crumpled money appear in their hands like magic, and they stuff and poke the bills into the basket until it is overflowing.

Suddenly C moans and clutches her abdomen. Labor is starting! H takes C down into the hold of the sailboat so she can have privacy to give birth. The aunts and grannies think this is the best party game yet. Their laughter gets louder and even happier. Auntie R falls off her seat because she is giggling so hard. Grandmother M tells a dirty joke and everyone whoops.

I am distracted, running between the party on deck and the drama in the hold, where C pants through contractions and H holds her hand and whispers strengthening words into her ear. I don't want to miss the birth, but I don't want to leave my guests either. During one of my trips up on deck, I count the money in the basket. "There's SEVENTY FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS in here!" I shriek. From below, I hear C yell, "Yippee!"

Well, you tell me … does this dream mean I am the carrier, the go-between, of the old family stories? I think so. Maybe this is why I do what I do.

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