When I reflect on my children, I often think "I should have a X year old and ..." But really, I shouldn't. My children shouldn't have been born, according to a 40 week pregnancy, on their birthdays. Nicholas and Sophia "shouldn't" be going on 3 years old; they should have celebrated a second birthday right after my 30th. Alexander "shouldn't" be 2 years old next month; he should be nearing the 18 month mark. And Bobby and Maya "shouldn't" have just celebrated a year; we should be discussing our almost-10 month olds.
And then, that leads to harder questions. If Nicholas and Sophia were 2 and some-odd months old, would there be an Alexander to celebrate 18 months or 9 month old Bobby & Maya? If Alexander were 18 months old, there, for sure, would be no Bobby and Maya, since I would have still been pregnant when I conceived them.
Hard questions lead to harder ones. Which brings me back to what I should have.
And what I dont have.
God knows I'm grateful- so very grateful- that I just held my sleeping daughter for an hour over dinner and that I was led around in circles by my walking son who wanted to show me every toy over and over again. God knows that I'm more thankful than words can say that they are safely here, healthy, growing, and lighting up my life more than I could ever have imagined. That I can't imagine life without them. That I can't imagine another life.
But I miss Nicholas and Sophia and Alexander. I miss knowing if their hair would grow quickly and thick like Bobby's does, or if it it would be more wispy and light colored like Maya's. If they would have brown eyes or blue ones. If their skin tones would be olive or fair. If they would talk up a storm like Maya or not wait to walk like Bobby. If they would tell me they want to give me a kiss by grabbing my face and burying their open mouth against my cheek like my baby boy does, or if they would gently tap our foreheads before planting a sweet, delicate kiss like my baby girl does. I miss learning their personalities and their likes, comforting their cries, kissing the boo-boos when they fall down, running my fingers through their hair, kissing them goodnight. I miss everything I would have known and seen... Everything... Them. I miss them.
And yet, without them, there would be no me of today, no mother of Bobby and Maya. I wouldnt know how grateful I truly am. How much of a gift this is. And, while sometimes I wish I didnt know the world of losing pregnancies and babies and hopes and dreams and learning to live a life-after-loss, I know that it gives me different eyes. That they gave me different eyes. And a bigger heart. And a hidden patience. And a love that was unmatched and unparalleled.
In their deaths, they gave me life.
I miss them, but I'd miss them more if they were never here. And the worst tragedy of that would be that I wouldn't even know it.