his hands–the ones that hold me in the dark and press palms against pain and fold nightly into prayer–these hands make carrot cake from scratch for my birthday. and they’ve never looked so beautiful.

and i know it’s his way of saying i wish i could do more. i wish i could have lain on that bed and given birth to our children so you didn’t have to. i wish i could have been the one yelling at the doctor to “pull him out” and crying into the mid-day atmosphere and yanking at my dreads for the curse that makes birth a sacrifice, and i wish you could have been the one giving me ice chips and washing my forehead cold and asking if i wanted drugs even when i couldn’t hear you for the pain.

he worries the cake isn’t good enough and layers it with frosting thick and i remember birthdays past, when mum made me cakes in the shape of houses and cats and dolls and it was always carrot, and some things never change, and make you loved for the little girl you are, deep down.

and child licks the frosting and it’s all sweet now, the pain past, but it’s taken awhile for i wanted him to lie there in my place, this husband strong of mine. i wanted him to carry the pain for me, and he couldn’t. and i held it against him, secretly, until i realized he would have done it for me in a heartbeat. and this too, part of the curse, that man, who’s made to protect and defend his wife and family cannot carry the pain of childbirth. cannot bring life into the world, can only watch defenseless as his woman does it for him.

the cake redeems in the late hour of afternoon, this family living history in a kitchen in alberta. the cake reminds me that one day, there will be no more pain and men will not be made to stand by while their love goes through hell.

thanking God wtih ann today for:

501. two-week old baby stretching into limbs and hearts

502. 20-month old son filling full the role of big brother

503. friends around a campfire in our backyard

504. children on the trampoline laughing loud

505. carrot cake from scratch

506. family coming to visit this week from out east

507. friends bringing meals and gifts and grace

508. sleeping in while husband rises with older son

509. art commissions

510. peace that transcends all understanding when bad news is received