There is a difficult balance in dwelling upon the “could of” and living in the “what is”.
Last Thursday, my baby boy turned a year old. We celebrated the day by spending all of our free time doing his favorite things. This included a long time outside with out dog. We put her up and grabbed out our chicks and played with them. We used our hands to dig in the dirt (and one of us snuck a taste of dirt, but who? I’ll never tell) and building mud pies. We ended our fun with a bath in an old metal tub his Grammy gave us.
For some reason, the last week has been both amazing and meaningful. Somewhere in all of that, there has been some pain and sadness.
I have those twinges of astonishment that Andrew and I created such a beautiful little boy who is so curious and smart, and that one year has passed and he is no longer the baby that relied on me for every waking (and sleeping) moment.
In other ways, I find myself dwelling upon that ever present “could be”.
I wonder if this is normal.
Then I realize I’m not sure I care.
Our daughter could have been two this year, in February.
She could be running around my backyard right now, with short blonde hair.
I imagine her some kind of mixture of my sister and me, always into trouble and tough, yet always fighting me to get her the pinkest outfit or toy at the store.
I imagine Andrew coming home from work and her running to the front door, excited for her daddy to be home and ready to take off his boots. She undoes one shoelace at a time with her little hands. This way he can rest his feet before they go into the backyard and water his garden.
They don’t write about these things in the books on how to cope with loss of a baby.
Or that strange eerie feeling when you meet a little girl who would be her age, they never talk about how to deal with those feelings.
Today, we continue celebrating Aedan’s birthday week.
I’ll hold him.
I’ll play with him.
We’ll make messes.
When daddy comes home and Aedan crawls to the door to see him, I’ll see that sparkle in his eye and I will realize for a brief moment that what “could have been” could never have afforded me “what is”.