four years ago today, at the rolltop desk in the upstairs den, i opened my old laptop – long since gone to Jesus, as has its replacement – and wrote my very first blog post.

welcome to the crib, i warbled tentatively, voice new-born and flippantly uncertain. i’d grabbed the first name for the blog that had come to mind, not wanting to spend too much time agonizing over it for fear i’d talk myself out of the enterprise altogether. i thought the handle was a bit twee, but then, i thought the whole idea of a blog was a bit twee, too.

and yet i so very much hoped that someone might be out there listening. i unspooled the first post half-breathless, feeling as if the keys were a microphone i was tapping: is this thing on?

if you’d asked me then, i couldn’t have made an honest bet whether i’d keep it going two weeks or two years. four was beyond my capacity to imagine.

i was in that late, waddling point in pregnancy when you’re wide open, all possibility, living with the swollen, sciatic awareness that even four days may alter your life irrevocably, let alone four years.

but it was more than that. i’d simply forgotten the long, streaming flow of time when things are normal and decent and mundane.

the only thing i ever took out of high school physics class was the idea, only half-understood and possibly half-garbled, was that Einstein said time is not the same for everyone, nor for any person over different periods.

i get it now. because when i look back at then, i avert my eyes.

i’d just come out of two months on hospital bedrest. in the same hospital where less than a year before, i’d delivered another baby. his ashes were in my bedroom. and we’d only been back in the country fifteen months, and had carried multiple part-time jobs – those i didn’t lose to hospitalization – the entire time, with periods for both of us where no work was forthcoming. unlike most Canadians, we had medical bills, for the airlift almost exactly one year before. we had a house to pay for, bought the day our son was born: perhaps the biggest booby prize in the history of first homes.

time and the world were heavy on me, then.

four years was a useless measure to me, from the vantage point of that rolltop desk. i was Lot’s wife, looking backwards, but in far shorter increments. at any point during the 11 and a half months before i wrote that first post here, i could’ve told you precisely how long it’d been since i’d held Finn in my arms.

grief seems to be like that, at least unless you are particularly gifted at ignoring it. it measures itself incessantly, gapes like the wound it is. you know time is supposed to be its only anaesthetic, but time crawls, refuses you the mercy of oblivion. and as it crawls, it obliterates what shreds you have to cling to: the crispness of a memory, the smell of a blanket. i had lived lifetimes some days, that year before.

four years was also irrelevant simply because it was far too large a measure. at any point in 34 or so weeks before i wrote that first post here, too, i could have told you exactly how far along i was in my second pregnancy and how long it would be again until this baby would pass the 26 week, 1 day mark at which Finn had been born, and the 28 week mark at which s/he’d ostensibly reach lung maturity. my life was measured in weeks, then. i had been boiled down to gestational time.

and even still, even at the nearly 35 week mark where i sat down and wrote the blog into being, i didn’t truly, fully believe that everything would go right and the baby would be okay, would come home with us. i didn’t care, really, what a charming little boy he’d be at four: that was no more real to me then than the sort of 50 year old he may turn out yet to be, when i am old and gray. i only cared, that April four years ago, that maybe he might cry when he was born, and breathe.

pregnancies after loss seem to be like that, no matter what.

that baby was Oscar. and he has grown to be more than i ever dared imagine him to be: my small companion, my heart on legs. but so has the little blog with the slightly embarrassing name that has given me a place to write my world slowly back to a place where time is joyfully, mundanely, normal.

i look back at that first post now and my heart goes out to a woman i no longer identify with: brittle and braver than i hope i ever have to be again.

the blog is four. four years olds are energetic and imaginative and boisterous and silly. i think my voice could use more silly. it’s matured over the past year, developed an internal compass that feels, for the first time, like skin. but three is a watching age, a pleaser’s age, the point at which change and consistency are primary focii. four year olds are ready to adventure. and perhaps my voice is too.

back when polyester was still a glorious gift to humankind, i started kindergarten at the ripe old age of four-and-a-half. this coming September, when this blog is four-and-a-half, i will start school all over again. a Ph.D program, in education, here at UPEI.

i am thrilled that i got accepted. i am still recovering from that year of everything going wrong. when things go right – when i wake up and realize i have two kids, and a job, that the faithful partner and friend i feared i’d lose in the chasm of 2005 is not only still here but has learned to do laundry…and that now, finally, for once, i didn’t get rejected for something i really, really wanted – i flop back on the pillows, flattened by gratitude.

i’ll be researching social media, so i suppose it’s possible i may put the blog to another four years of service. maybe i’ll write more about Einstein. i hope i’ll write less about loss. i hope these next four years fly, with the busy-ness of normalcy and mundanity and the joy of growth.

thank you for being here, for keeping me company no matter what. when i sat down four years ago hoping somebody out there would hear me, receive…i couldn’t really have imagined.

feel free to send cake. or just eat it, in copious amounts.