Once upon a time, an enchanting little sprite with golden curls and bright blue eyes appeared upon the scene, the second of what would wind up a passel of six golden-haired, blue-eyed sprites. Her name isn’t Tinker Bell, but, minus the mean streak, she always makes me think of Tinker Bell when I think of her, so that’s what we’ll call her.
Tinker Bell was born a few hours before Rose and Ned, now parents of five sons and a single, brand-new daughter, birthed their first, Davin. Davin, was the baby’s birth I nearly missed per a malfunctioning phone and punctilious police officer on a stormy wintertime night of 2005. Tinker Bell, you may remember, came so quickly we nearly missed her.
Tinker Bell’s sister, Ellery, had Hannah and I racing toward Marshall on Halloween night, 2007. It was about twenty till midnight, and we got two miles or so from home when a tire on the van blew. That was the night we discovered only midwives answer nighttime telephone calls. As we were just around the corner from James and Aileen Sunnock’s house, we drove the van over there. And then we discovered only midwives answer nighttime doorbells. I rang the bell and pounded on the door while Hannah called their telephones. I suspect I was in danger of getting us cracked in the heads by James’ baseball bat, but finally he opened to us. I said, “I need your van!” And five minutes later we were on our way again. Ellery dilly dallied a bit, then joined her sisters, Islette and Tinker Bell, in the morning, while James Sunnock got me a nice, new tire.
Two years and three months later, Tinker Bell’s next sister, Gretel, swept into town. By this time, Tinker Bell was nearly five, and all wide-blue-eyed curiosity underneath her mane of blonde curls. At every visit she’d seat herself exactly beside me. Every item I drew from my bag she handled carefully and examined. She listened studiously to her mother’s answers to my questions, and to my answers to her mother’s questions, frilly curls bouncing as she nodded her agreement. She knelt beside me as I knelt beside her mother. I felt her mother’s belly, then she felt her mother’s belly. I measured her mother’s uterus, then she measured her mother’s uterus. I listened to her sister’s heartbeat, then she listened to her sister’s heartbeat. When I pulled out her mother’s chart and a pen, she produced a pad of Post-It telephone notes and a pencil. When I jotted a note, she drew a squiggle, and passed it to me to add to the chart. She was my tiny shadow, as attentive as attentive could be.
When it was time for her sister to make her debut, Tinker Bell was, as ever, right there at my elbow, working to puzzle all she saw out. Tinker’s mother chose to bring Gretel into the light while perched upon the birthstool, and, as Tinker’s daddy received the squirming, squealing bundle of pink, I glanced over my shoulder and smiled to see Tinker Bell, Islette, Ellery, the Great Pyrenees-German Shepherd mix, Tinker’s grandma, and Tinker’s Aunt standing in a row, transfixed by the event, looking for all the world like a Norman Rockwell painting.
The group exploded with joy, but, surprisingly, tiny Tinker Bell remained more interested in what I was doing than in her new sibling. Her grandmother told me later that she was all observance as her mother’s gentle efforts pressed her placenta into my hands. She looked up at her grandmother and said, “Uh-oh! Now, just how is Kim going to get that back in there?” Her grandma told her I wouldn’t be putting it back at all. Tinker Bell said, “Well, what’s she going to do with it?” Her grandma told her, as her mom and sister were through with it, she supposed I’d just get rid of it in the trash. “Throw it away? Well, gosh!” Tinker Bell exclaimed, “You’d think she’d at least give it to the Good Will!”
And that was our little Tinker Bell.
A bit shy of two years later, Tinker’s fifth sister, Clementine, joined the troupe – her birth is a story all by itself – and, after a couple months fewer than three more years, Tinker’s sister, Anthea, popped in to make six – also a story all its own! Tinker Bell remained watchful through those years, though, admittedly, never quite so watchful as at Gretel’s birth. I wondered for awhile if I’d found a future apprentice. I still wonder! Wouldn’t that be something? Yes, I think it would ♥
As ever, the names of these elvish creatures were changed. For the record, only just last fall, the family added their first man-child to the delightful mix!
The sparkly photos are from istock, the picture of the “while you were out” note is one I took of one of Tinker Bell’s charting contributions ♥
Thank you so much for the gift of your time!
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Kim Woodard Osterholzer, Colorado Springs Homebirth Midwife and Author
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