Thursday, April 23, 2015

Full circle: loss, longing and getting out the other side

I took Magpie to the Manhattan Children's Museum a couple of months ago and we ventured in to a special exhibit on Japan. As I rounded the corner in the exhibit, I stopped short and was transported back in time. Right there in the exhibit was a model of a Japanese offering tree, the kind you tie wishes to in the hopes they will be granted. We saw offering trees outside several temples when we visited Japan in 2008. And they hold a special resonance for me.

Children's museum offering tree in Japan exhibit

We'd tied our own wish to a tree when we were in Japan just after our second miscarriage.  Outside one of the temples we'd visited, we'd found a Nanairo-no-yadorigi tree. This is a particular kind of offering tree. Located near a shrine, the tree is believed that it brings prosperity and protection to those who are pregnant and hoping to conceive (the word yadori means “conceive").  Fresh with the grief of our loss, we tied our wish for a healthy living child to that tree. The custom is that when your wish is granted, you return to remove the paper.

Mo tying our wish for Magpie to an offering tree in 2008

At that time, we had no idea what a long road was in store for us, that four more years and five more losses would stand between us and Magpie in our arms.

So when I stood in the children's museum this winter, and I saw the offering tree while holding Magpie's hand, I nearly cried. And I was also filled with gratitude. Here we were full circle.

This time, I didn't need to tie an offering to the branch. This time, I could ask my girl to stand in front of this tree for a picture. I knew she couldn't understand why this picture was important to me, but I needed to take it nonetheless.

I am humbled again and again that we made it out the other side. That Magpie is here. That we struggled so mightily and succeeded. I am ever so grateful for this little one in our lives.


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  1. Dear Mo,
    I remember you writing about that trip and can only imagine the emotions on finding this tree. Your blog was a great source of information and support to me whe I was trying to conceive my son. In retrospect that journey was pretty short and simple. I am 3+ years into trying for a second and I still do think of you and will and magpie as I carry on. Thank you for sharing your story and my very best wishes to you and your family.

  2. A beautiful post. We have one of those here in DC, out in the Smithsonian garden. I love reading the wishes, but moreover, that people take the time to write them and tie them to the tree.

  3. I remember reading that post the first time around so this one just makes me so HAPPY and grateful for little Miss Magpie.

  4. What a wonderful post (and photo)! And Magpie is just as cute as she can be. :)

  5. What a perfectly beautiful little face. She looks like an angel! Kiss her for us!

  6. look at that...

    your wish, all spiffed up with a cute little barrette.

    if only we could have known,
    back then,
    that this was an outcome...
    it would have made the journey so much more bearable.
    a real wish-come-true.

    magpie is perfect!!

  7. What a beautiful post. It made me cry.

  8. Beautiful... It's lovely when moments come up to remember back when you were in a much different place, dreaming of where you are now. She looks so cute - and so big now!

  9. I could not have said it better myself. Sending much love

  10. Full circle, indeed. :) That photo of Magpie in front of the tree takes my breath away thinking of how far you've journeyed and how that wish has at last crystallized into something (someONE) so very tangible, so very real, so intensely loved and treasured.

  11. It is so wonderful to see your wish made real. I , too, remember reading that post many years ago-- I am so glad to see your dream realized so tangibly. I can completely understand why it took your breath away and almost made you cry-- I'm crying with joy over here! :-)

  12. It's so crazy when something so tangible pops up and reminds of how hard the journey was. I know when I take the train into penn station NYC I will be s blubbering mess as I comuted to NYC for fertility tx.

  13. Life can be amazing, Magpie is beautiful.


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