Claire determined her birthdate. She wasn’t going to be born on October 23. She chose November 1, when Halloween was over, the wood was stacked, the last of the leaves were falling damply on the frosty earth.
I remember walking down the road that cuts through Bennington along the river and passes Alberto’s restaurant right before Starrett Row. I remember the dress I wore — a Laura Ashley – a tent with tiny purple flowers woven through its soft fabric.
I remember her twists and turns under my pregnant tightness as I walked and cradled her so alive and vibrant. Her heel glided seamlessly across the equator of my belly. Her hand imprinted under the skin on my stomach like the Vac-u-Forms we made in the sixties. She was dancer pressing against a nylon screen in a dance about yearning for escape, but not quite ready for it.
Claire, the dancer before she entered this world. Was she Claire yet? I thought she was a boy named Warren. Maybe my intuition wanted to surprise me. Either way, I knew I was carrying a strong and powerful being as I walked along the river that day.
And today, the day before her day, I remember her little self. The self which was born from me. The self who traveled through her first 18 years with me.
How much of that little self that I carried 22 years ago is still a part of us today?