After I finished my Friday run, I found myself standing at the garden for our missing children, in front of the beautiful Virgin Mary statue that Peter gave me for Mother's Day. "Sometimes I feel like no one really remembers," I said through the tears.
It's not true; Peter remembers. He always remembers, always thinks of them. "No one" wasn't an accurate thought; I know others remember. But my heart was sore.
My dad forgot.
My own dad.
He was visiting with us and we were discussing Thanksgiving and the day after, which is when we always trim our tree. I make egg nog and turkey soup and we play Christmas carols while rearranging furniture and putting up our decoration. It's a good time. Whether there is a houseful or just us, it's fun. I mentioned in passing, "This year, we'll have Alexander's birthday cake, too." The 23rd is the day after Thanksgiving... One day, his birthday will fall on Thanksgiving. I'm not sure how my heart will handle that one.
There was a sharp intake of my breath; my heart began to crack. I was glad that my back was to him. "Your grandson. Alexander."
"You mean B...?" He said, mentioning my nephew.
"No. I mean Alexander." Did my shoulders start to hunch? Could he hear that cracking sound? Did it sound like trees outside instead of my heart crushing in on itself?
"I dont have a grandson named Alexander."
He seemed legitimately confused. I walked over to the pictures that sat next to where he was and lifted the third one in sequence. "Alexander," I said, softly.
He was quiet.
Maya was making pancakes and I wasn't up for the silence or for hearing my dad try to backpeddle. I know it wasn't on purpose. I know it wasnt mean spirited. I dont have hard feelings, even as I'm typing.
But it still hurt. It still was a direct hit to my heart.
It was one of those reminders. Everyone elses lives have gone own, even my own father's. The last few years have been able to fade into the recesses of their memories. They can look and see two children... But I can't. I never will. I don't want to, either.
This is par for the course, I suppose. Part of me feels like I should be used to it, that my skin should be thicker, that I shouldn't care, that the fact that I remember them, that Peter does, that Bobby and Maya know their siblings- this should be enough.
But my heart is still heavy, even today.
Nicholas, Sophia, Alexander, Bobby, Maya. They are my children. All of them. Not just the two that I snuggle on the couch or laugh with at the park. Two daughters, not just the one who helps me cook in the kitchen; three sons, not just the one who runs laps with me around the track. Defined by all of them, changed by all of them, mother to all of them.
It doesnt matter to everyone, I know that; but it matters to me.