Sometimes people described me as the Marilyn in my family. That is a reference to “The Munsters” from television in the 1960’s when Marilyn was the only “normal” person in a family of vampires, werewolves and several more other worldly creatures. If you knew my family, everyone had a special something that made them unique and different. I am the “regular” one, the down-to-earth, ordinary runt of the litter. After considering my mother’s response to the death of her little Robert Alexander, premature at 8 months and not able to breathe on his own, perhaps I have a little window into my Marilyn slot.
I can’t imagine losing a baby close to full term. I have had two early miscarriages, but that is not the same. I have been lucky enough not to experience the funeral of a child and hope that will remain the case with my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. What I can imagine is how I might feel about my youngest child after having lost a baby. I can imagine that I would want that child near me all the time, and would hope that I could develop a deep bond with that little person since my heart would most certainly be aching with sorrow.
I believe that is how my mother viewed me after losing little Robert. I remember snuggling up with her in bed while she read (I read, too), and feeling completely and totally attached to her. I slept with her until I was almost nine (at least in the pre-dawn hours when I would slip in her bed) and I had a profound sense that she “got” me in a way that many others may have not. She understood how much I loved language and people and spirituality. She shared those loves and that gave us some strong connecting points.
I kept my mother company when she was confined to bed rest for almost her whole pregnancy with my younger brother, Sam. She and I ended up spending lots of time together over the course of my early years. That is most likely the reason that going to school and leaving her was a particularly tough part of my life.
I am a product of that early snuggle time with my mother. I felt loved, valued and seen. I am aware that I was fortunate to have fallen right there in the sibling lineup. I think I received the benefit of more mother time than most of my other siblings and maybe I am just plain “regular” because of that.
Call me Marilyn if you like. I call myself lucky.