Joel’s grandmother passed away shortly before Ella was born. The day after her death, literally overnight, a huge swarm of bees turned up her in garden and began to make an elaborate hive inside her compost. It was such a strange incident that we understood it to be something other-worldy: her spirit doing what it needed to do at that time of transition to the next life.
During the first week following Ella’s birth, Joel was in our backyard one day and as he passed a tree at the side of our house, he looked up to discover a huge bee hive had, as if overnight, been made within one of the trunks. There were bees everywhere, it was quite a swarm, so much so that one of our neighbours must have also noticed it and called the council, as the next day, they arrived to relocate the hive.
In the first week of Billy’s life, I was sitting in his room nursing him. The chair I breastfed from was right under a gorgeous window and I would often look out from it, soaking in the light that trickled in. One day in that first week, I looked out the window and saw a handful of bees hovering near the window hood of the house adjacent to us, about a meter away. They were flying in and out of a section I couldn’t quite see, maybe making the beginnings of a hive, maybe not.
We very clearly understood that our visits from these bees were Joel’s grandmother, blessing our home, our babies, our family. Her soul was popping down for a short time from the other realm she was now part of and saying to us: This is all written in the stars — these babies, this family, this life.
Deciding to have a third baby was like playing a game of tennis. The ball would be sent back and forth; when Joel would suggest a third, I would hesitate, and then months later when I’d decide it felt right, he would hesitate. We just couldn’t quite get a consistent feeling on whether we wanted to change our family, if now was right, or if we’d cope. One day, we decided to leave it up to the universe and we asked for a sign, either way.
The next day, Joel went to work as usual. I did mum things as usual. Made beds. Put some washing on. Took the kids to the park. Found lost shoes. Diffused fights.
Around midday, my phone dings. It’s a text from Joel. I open it up and all that’s there is a photo. I’m confused. It’s one of those garden ornaments, a waspy-insect thing on the end of a long stick you put into the ground. I vaguely remember seeing them at Bunnings. Nothing registers and I get annoyed at Joel for sending me weird cryptic stuff when I’ve got a million things to do here. He texts again a little while later when I don’t respond: Rach, what is this?
And I write back: I don’t know, a wasp?
And then suddenly it hits me.
I madly type out a message back: Oh my God, it’s a bee. Where did you get that from? What is happening?
He tells me that one of his clients brought it in for him, a sweet old lady we have sort of adopted into our family. She has been seeing Joel for years and he has helped her through some extremely challenging times; a natural bond and connection was inevitable. She has become like an extra surrogate grandmother to our children, always buying them gifts and sneaking them treats when we visit her. They know exactly where her cookie jar is located. We swap gifts with her at Christmas and we always go to see the Christmas lights together at the church near us. She gives us pots of lavender and tries to teach me to sew and she comes along to our local Easter fair with us every year.
And it just so happens that that exact next day, she arrived to see Joel with a bee garden ornament for the kids, something so completely random that we understood exactly what it meant.
Georgie Rose Delaney was born on Saturday morning at 3:51am. I can’t write about it yet, or even speak about it much because I’m a hot mess of other-wordly love, like I touched the centre of God, and now I just have to be silent about it.
So today, I’m stockpiling the moments of those first few days where everything is a magical blur of some faraway dream.
Her birth story to come.
God is it ever beautiful. What a wild ride.
Favourite things about those first few days: Fresh flowers on every table, swaddles flung over couch arm rests, meals brought over, the toasting of champagne glasses and that little buzz which tells you that after nine months, bubbles retain their charm. Breathy squeaks. Their smell – oh God, their smell. Reflecting on every detail of their birth. The calls and texts and love you feel wrap around your home like a bubble. The weight of them on your chest. The tiny clothes hanging on a drying rack. The warping of time from day to night where everything merges into one dreamy blur you never want to end. I forgot how magical this part was, and every morning I spent huddled over a bucket, every ache, every burn of reflux and night I lay awake, every second of her birth I’d do a thousand times over for right now.
First time Ella + Billy met her.
Ella and Billy woke up at the exact moment Georgie was born – me in the hospital labouring, them at home with Joel’s mum staying the night. They called out just before 4am, something they never do, and Gran whisked them into bed and told them Georgie was coming. But they knew.
They already knew.
First morning waking up together.
These precious days Joel picks up my camera without me asking or knowing, flicks it on auto and savours forever this time for us and I’m so grateful.
I know how fast it flies, this time we’re in.
I know I’ll forget.
I know I’ll ache for it back like an impossible break in my heart.
So I’m just trying as much as possible to stay completely present. To shut out as much of the world as I can. To savour up everything.
Because these are the days.
And a little Spotify list we play, adding to it each day, reminding me of this time in our lives, like our home is cushioned inside some strange angelic spirit world as we fall in love with our Georgie Rose and brush up against something so utterly pure.
“Mum! Mum!”, Ella comes running. “What is it, honey?” I say.
“Mum, the bees are coming. Look!”
She takes my hand and guides me to the front of our house where we’ve planted a row of lavender bushes. We look, but I see nothing.
And then suddenly, a bee flies onto the last lavender bush of the row, quietly gathering nectar, buzzing away, as if oblivious to us standing there watching it.
“Mum, the first bee in our garden has arrived!” Ella says again.
Georgie is four days old.
And all I can do is nod, because my breath has caught in my throat, and because these are the exact moments in life where words will just never be found.
“Honey, you’re familiar, like my mirror years ago.” Hozier