I have a very close friend. An extremely close friend, actually. The kind of friend you tell your troubles to, share fashion tips, snark on other people, the person who helps to make the days go by quicker... We have been tight for oh say, over twelve years or so. He knows me better than almost anyone and I value our friendship a great deal. He is married and has an incredibly beautiful daughter. Correction, he has two beautiful daughters.
My friend suffered an incredible loss almost three years ago. His firstborn passed away. I will spare the details. For some reason this loss affected me a great deal. I was utterly devestated that this person, who always did the right thing, never hurt anyone, is smart and focused, and a stay at home dad of his exceptional kid suffered such tragedy. Some in the medical community would label his daughter as special needs, but if you ever saw her photo you would just call her especially gorgeous.
For weeks after her death I was in a funk. I was so deeply hurt for my friend and his wife and I wondered if he would make it out of the dark place he was in. I missed this little girl who I never met, but heard about daily and had a special folder for all of her pictures.
Several months later I discovered I was pregnant with my first child. I did not want to tell him. I was afraid because the wounds he had were too new and I didn't want to "throw it in his face", for lack of a better phrase. I was actually tormented the day I woke up and knew I could not keep the information from him because I was proud and I knew in his heart he would be proud of me. So I wrote it out in an email and attempted to be nonchalant. I told myself I would not address it much after that, out of respect.
I never wanted children when I was little. Didn't play with dolls, didn't play "house", never pictured myself as a soccer mom. But once I knew I was having a kid I felt myself blossom. I wanted to be the best mom I could be. Why? Because of this small wonder that was named Indigo. I knew the gift I was about to receive was tremendous and fragile and I was damn well going to give it everything I could. Sadly, the pregnancy could have been better. It was wrought with complications, bedrest, tales of potential issues my son could have, mental anguish, you name it. And you don't know how to handle the shit until it hits YOUR fan. You can be a good listener, say you understand, I'm sorry, or I'll be there for you - but unless the fear has been placed within your very body, you don't get it. So who did I turn to, who was my main source of sanity? You guessed it, my friend. He sat quietly on the phone as I sobbed, he told me I would HAVE to handle anything that happened, he stated facts - not fantasy (and told me most doctors are full of crap) - and that helped me so much. After many nights and days of turmoil and preparing for the worst, I thankfully gave birth to one of the most beautiful pieces of art I have ever seen. And I love him fiercely. He is my man, my best friend. And yeah, for the record, most doctors ARE full of crap.
Because of the horrific loss my friend experienced and the things he went through, I vowed to myself that I would keep it close in my mind and not push it away as people do with traumatic thoughts. I would devote myself to my kid in his daughter's honor because I know now how to appreciate the life that was given to me. She changed me, and I think of her most days. When I think I can't go on, I remind myself how lucky I am to have this creature around to drive me nuts. And I embrace the insanity.
Upon learning of my second pregnancy (by now my friend has had his second daughter, a sassy little girl who runs the house), I kind of hinted around to him that I maybe wanted to name my new baby (if it was a girl) after his first daughter. He understood and didn't actually mind but said he would have problems asking me about her by name. I totally got it and decided against it. Not that it was an issue because I only have boys anyway - thank goodness... But still, the thought lingered in my mind and I could not let it go. I wanted to pay homage to this child who made me a better person and overall showed me what motherhood was all about. She deserves it. When our Rory was born, he was big, beautiful, and peaceful. His eyes are a dark blue, almost violet - indigo, if you will. I knew this would be his color forever and not change. It seemed almost too good to be true. His eyes speak volumes and he is an old soul, I can tell.
His full name is Rory Joseph Indio Martin. Yeah, Indio. What I call the "male" version of Indigo. People ask what it means and I say it's a city in California, which is totally true. It isn't bad luck, as some have stated, to name your kid after someone who isn't here anymore - people do it all the time. My friend knows Rory's name but has never asked about the Indio and I purposefully placed it as his second middle name so it would not be used often. But I know it's there and I know why it's there. It is my gift for the girl that changed my life and brought so much joy to her parents. She lives on in her sister and I will respect her always. I owe her a great deal and so do my children.
Without her I may not have realized I had it in me to be a Mother. Without her I may sweat the small stuff. Without her I may not appreciate things the way I do. Like loving the poopy diapers, laughing at the crying (doubled now), being amused by the tantrums, keeping the smeared hand prints on the glass longer than I should - you know, the finer things in life.
And I will always remember her, I promise.
Thank you, Indigo.