A few days ago, the U.S. Census form came in and, like the good, upstanding gal I am, I opened it and filled it out. Person 1... Me.... Person 2... Peter.... Person 3.... Maya.... Person 4.... Bobby.... and then, it was over. I said who we were, what we were, and then, it was done. We were counted. Our family did our part for the government.
And then it hit me like a ton of bricks that Nicholas, Sophia, and Alexander will never be counted. They will never be a name on a Census form. My great-great-grandchildren will never flip through old documents and see something and say "Look, there is great-great uncle Nicholas's name"... No. Never.
When Peter came home, I mentioned that the form came in and that I filled it out... That it only wanted the names of people who would be living in our home as of April 1, 2010. He had the look that I'm sure I had that said they wont be counted... We both knew it. It hurt. But we knew this was going to happen. Just like we know that, when we take our photos for the parish directory, there will only be four faces and only four names, when we see our family as much larger.
Yesterday, as we were sitting on the couch, Peter softly said. "Robert wasn't counted either." His voice was tender and he reached out for my hand, when I began to cry, understanding what he meant. The Census would have been conducted months before Robert was born, so he wouldnt have been a resident of the house in April 1980 (just a resident of the womb, which isnt considered...) and, by the time the 1990 Census would have been done, he had been gone for over two and a half years. He wasn't counted... And yet, he lived a life no one could ignore, a life full in its youth, a life that lived on after he died.
While it was a sad thought, it made my heart hurt a little less. My children share the company of their uncle. And that's not a bad place to be... Not at all...