There is a park near Peter's job. It's a township park, near the local police, and they have this awesome castle for the kids to play in. There's a little food station, lots of picnic tables, the local pool, and paved multiuse trails. There's even a bandshell. All in all, it's a great little park, only about two minutes from where Peter's building.
When he first got his job there, we would drive by the park and talk about how great it would be, once we had kids and could meet there during they day. I'd pack a lunch, pick him up, and we'd nosh on one of the picnic tables before taking the kids to the castle or the swings. When I was pregnant with Nicholas and Sophia, I actually drove through there, with Peter's mom, to show her all the neat things we'd be able to do with Peter on his lunch break.
It took thirty one months, but we finally had lunch in that park. With our children. And we played with them on the swings afterwards.
Thirty one months ago, I was pregnant with Nicholas and Sophia. I was off work that day, and Peter's mom and I did some running around and shopping. We drove through the park. I showed her the castle and pointed to the food hut, closed due to it being winter. I even remember there was one mom there with her little one, who was bundled up from head to toe and tottering around on a little tricycle of some sort. The day was grey and cold, and rain and snow loomed on the horizon. And I was happy. So happy. I pointed out the castle, we oohed and ahhed over the child playing, and gushed about how it would be when we brought Nick and Sophie there... How we could lay out blankets in the shade and just relax with Peter on his lunch break.
And then, I went home and took a nap. And Peter came home from work, and joined me, and we cuddled for a blissful hour until I got up to go to the store and make dinner... And the rain preceding the snow started. And I delivered a sweet baby boy... My oldest son... My Nicholas.
And we never took them to that park. And I had no desire to ever go to that park again.
When we were looking at buying houses, one of the towns we looked at shares this park. So, I went back, to see how the trails were and to enjoy the beauty the park had to offer. I took the kids to the swings and walked with them through the castle. I met up with other moms there.
And yesterday, for the first time, Peter and I had lunch there with Bobby and Maya. And, then we played on the swings. Today, his mom came with me and the five of us had lunch and played.
And, as I watched them laughing and pushing Bobby and Maya on the swings, my heart was struck with that pain... 31 months... This was the life I saw. This was the life I thought I'd have. My sweet boy/girl twins being pushed by their daddy or their grandparent or their aunt or I or someone... In the park... Pushed by their dad on his lunch break... In the summer heat or the fall breeze... This was the life I saw.
And, God, how it hurt. How it hurt to know that it was the life I thought I'd have in the summer of 2008- not the summer of 2010. The life I thought I'd have with Nicholas and Sophia- not Bobby and Maya, who I'd not even imagined at that point because I was still wrapping my head around their older brother and sister. This life of the happy couple and their two happy babies...
I couldnt breathe for a moment. Their laughter filled my head and their smiles my heart and it was the only thing that kept me standing up because the pain was like a knife slicing through my core. But I said nothing, did nothing, just stood there, watching them swing, until Peter took my hand and pulled me to him. Because, I'm sure, he felt it too. That sting that comes when the day is perfectly beautiful and life is how you, at one time, imagined it to be.
Now, it is the same and yet different.
And always will be.
And I wouldnt- couldnt- imagine it any other way.
But it still hurts.