She would be nearly 8 ½.
I’m so detached from other girls her age. Ever so acutely aware but zero connection to how who they are might relate to who my daughter might have been. It’s simply too big a divide. To wonder what 2,920 days of life would have made her into. Who MY genes would have made her into. The crushing primal wanting to know who Brad and I could create together still weighs like an elephant on my chest – if I let myself think about it. Which I don’t, except on days like today when I’m granted the gift of time to myself. In the reflection of how wildly grateful I am to be a mama to those two crazy beautiful children, today I cannot help but wish for my first. To play at the edge of the Wondering Abyss. Flick a pebble in with my toe and, despite myself, hold a flicker of hope that this time I’ll get an answer back that would tell me just one thing about her. Until suddenly the plane in which I live flips and I’m several feet down the pit, hanging onto the roots, flailing, tears streaming and mouth agape in the same silent scream of horror and disbelief that we lost her. Forever.
Not quite as quickly I choose to flip back to my here-and-now. I don’t want to spend today visiting my old friend Grief. Today I want to quietly sit in the tender piece of me that holds her always, while simultaneously being fully present to my two living miracles. I want to soak up every delicious and wondrous moment of their quirks, silliness and gifts. Of their love for me. Of their dependence. Of their belief that I will always be here to tend to their every need. To bask in their knowing that they are My Most Important Thing. In all my failings as a mama, my children most certainly know that this house and their parents are safe places to land. They can be who they are even when it’s hard. Even Anna. Whoever she is out there, whoever she might have been here, the Anna she IS has a place here. I really do feel she has actively staked her claim and space in our family as much as we have done for her. She lets us know she’s here in her own way…
Oh how I wish for you still, babe. How I long to feel your arms around my neck as I look out the front window to the house across the street, whose owner is deep into the business of becoming a mama herself right now – at the same hospital you were born. Her babe decided to come six weeks early, and anxious fear-cum-hopeful anticipation is high in me. How I hope to be able to tie a giant ribbon of pink or blue around their tree to welcome them home, rather than gather the ragged pieces of her Being into my arms in silent solidarity. I would not know how to do that if it weren’t for you, my darling girl. You are how I learned true compassion. You taught me How to Be Human. Not that I’ll ever be done learning, but…you have shaped me into a better person despite all my kicking and screaming and railing against the very thought. I’m still not ready to say you were meant to die. I’m not ready to accept that God approved this little proposal to give you to us only to take you in those last minutes in order to open me up. As of now I will ALWAYS balk against my brother’s “God did this to bring you back to him” (Jesus H, what bullshit). But I do acknowledge, with actual peace, that you have broadened my soul.
I love you Anna girl. Deeply, scorchingly, forever.