I can’t recall the day the boys were born. Can’t play a film of it in my head, the way others can. The day is a series of snapshots, taken as though I were quite detached from it all; merely an observer passing through the maternity wards. Jolly midwives; grim-faced doctors; juddering contractions; trailing wires; emergency transfusions. The rustle of the foil they wrapped around my babies. The squeaky wheels on the incubator trolleys as they whipped them away from me.
Alone in my room on the seventh floor, it was almost as though nothing had happened. Someone had tacked two Polaroids to my wall, in a sorry attempt to remind me I was a mother. A baby cried in the next room.
And then the fireworks started. Soundless to me, so high above the city in my glass box; smears of colour in the inky sky. I watched it all – this muted celebration offered in lieu of flowers – and I imagined it was all for me. For my boys.
Tonight the colours will be just as vibrant, just as clear in the night sky. But the sounds will echo across the hills; each bang and whizz and crackle. My children will clap their hands over their ears and laugh in delight. They will grab my hands and jump up and down, thrilled by the colour-filled noise they can feel fizzing in their stomachs.
And I will think of my silent fireworks; that gentle celebration of lives created, of lives changed. And I will squeeze my six-year-old son’s hand just a fraction tighter than his sisters’, and together we will remember.