it started happening a few weeks ago.
i would see new babies in the grocery store or in stroller on the street, and i would think to myself, these babies were newly conceived when nathaniel was born. zygotes. embryos. but they had something in common with my boy. they were on this planet, in utero, when nathaniel was on this planet, in utero and out.
this little generation shared the world with my son.
pretty soon, the babies coming into the world and the grocery stores and the strollers will have nothing to do with nathaniel. they will have been conceived after he was gone already. when he was here, they were just eggs and twinkles in eyes and other raw material, but not a unique entity with their one-of-a-kind custom mix of dna.
maybe it's happening already.
i went on-line and calculated gestation time from nathaniel's birth and death date. it's not a perfect science. nathaniel was due on july 8th, but he wasn't born until july 25th. i have a vague idea about when he might have been conceived, but no way to know when the real magic happened of sperm meeting egg.
and then there's this limbo of his due date and his birth date and his death date and the days we learned he probably wouldn't survive outside the womb.
but there's something there. there. in the sliver of this generation, from the children conceived or born starting early october 2010, to the full-term babies coming through birth openings about now. this is nathaniel's generation. children that crackle and burn at the edges when i look at them, with a painful, confused fascination. children that agitate an ancient, animal part of my brain.
they shared the world of gestation with nathaniel. maybe, somehow, they knew my son. know my son. maybe, somehow, they are his friends. would have been his classmates.
my hope and my prayer is that the sharp and pointy existence of this generation softens in time. i know, and love, too many people who have had babies in nathaniel's gestational group. babies i have never met, may never meet. i wish wish wish to cultivate a love for these little beings - an energy of love and lovingkindness that resonates through my heart and being.
i also hope and pray and wish that this new group of little ones, who will soon just start to be born, won't jab at the still-fresh wound that is the absence of nathaniel.