'Meb', he says.
This is his name for her. It makes my heart leap that he has a name for her.
I try and stay in the left lane as much as I can. Away from the cars hurtling in the other direction. Sudden movement on the road makes the breath stop in my throat. There is no crash (this time) but I gasp with tears.
'Yes, Mama is sad. I'm ok, little one, sometimes I just feel scared.'
I should stop there but I don't.
'All these cars and trucks are so big, my love, if they bump into one another then people can get hurt'. The words catch and I sob again.
I don't want to give him a neurosis. But I also want to tell him the truth. I don't want this truth to come as a rude shock. I want him to know that 'normal' is not just the good, happy things (though I hope they make up the majority of his days) - that 'normal' includes the whole range of human experience - including heartbreak, grief, anger, not getting what you want. This truth won't, can't insulate him against the pain that accompanies all these things, but he should know that they are heartbreakingly normal, that they happen to everyone, that they aren't his fault. That these hard things are just one part of the big glorious horrific picture.
'Digger!' he says - and I'm relieved for the distraction.
It doesn't help that I've been sacrificing sleep for work. Sleep is the sawdust that keeps me solid. Without it the tears wash through me, blurring the boundaries between the one big old grief and all the surrounding griefs of this year (my dear friend Sam, cut short far too young, my two friends who have lost their dads in the last six weeks, one to a motorcycle crash, Stella Young, who I'd only exchanged emails with once, but whose wit and heart are sorely needed in the public conversations about disability and feminism). And then there's atmospheric grief - the colourful shapes that I spy from the train under a bridge, then realise are sleeping bags and mattresses. The sound of small voices at the library sing-a-along that make my heart ache for my own babies, one safe with his grandad today, the other in the care of the sandy dirt and gum leaves at Somers.
I have work to do, I need my focus, my solidity, my sawdust. But if I don't let this sadness leak out a little, it will drown me from the inside.
My sister is pregnant. She's just had her 20 week ultrasound and everything was wonderfully, swimmingly fine, but still she's not buying any baby things yet. They have bought a new fortress of a car though. It gives me the heeby-jeeebies with its 4WD bulk, but I can understand why they might want a fortress. She's been the one at the other end of the phone line, receiving bad news, she has no interest in making her own news.