It’s a little hard not to choke on this post. Or present it in the shreds I’d like to tear it into, instead of the pristine format you find it.
Then again, there’s also a sad gentleness akin to what I imagine nestling with your conked out toddler feels like. Knowing that this stage will pass all too soon, reminiscent and sentimental, trying to soak up as much as you possibly can while you have it.
The first represents the frustration and anger of our reality, the second our wish-fulness for the girl and the moments we never got to have, our imagining of how it would be. There’s always both - or always fighting for both - because we don’t want to seem ungrateful for the months we did have with her in the womb, or the perfection that she was or the pictures we have or the sacred moments we and a few precious others had in holding her. And we definitely aren’t ungrateful for the perpetual and equally sacred support and love from friends and family. But we’re also still p-i-s-s-e-d o-f-f. Betrayed, confused, jilted and wanting. Wanting to make it different, wanting still to just get her back and start from the beginning. It’s okay we had to wait two more years. As if there was an ethereal error - “Oops, you weren’t supposed to have her yet. Let us just take her back until the celestial Right Time arrives. Okay, here you go. Enjoy.” I’d be okay with that.
Again this year her birthday came before I was ready, before I had a chance to prepare (which I realize is an utter joke as I write it - I’d never be truly prepared), and mostly much before what felt like a whole other year had passed. This year was very different than the first. Sothat part of the “just make it through the first year” bit is true. The first year every single marker felt like being skinned and dissected alive. I remember it as a year of Horror, actually. Raw. This year was more like the year of Numb. The same markers were sometimes barely noted. Mother’s Day, for instance. I worked. I think told two patients that my daughter had died when they asked about my working on Mother’s Day - calmly, matter of factly, ignoring their discomfort and moving right along with my work, which enabled them to move right along as well. This year felt like we were back in a routine and while all looked that same on the outside, we were Less on the inside. Fully recognizant that we were simply plodding along hoping that somehow it’ll get better and that we won’t always feel like this. That somehow, a little Anna magic will come again and we will be revived.
Emily did that, for those 24 days, brought magic back. Most surely she did that. Which is a hopeful thing in and of itself, knowing it’s possible. What we don’t know yet is how much damage that ending did. We’re both less optimistic/hopeful/excited about the adoption process, and wonder if we’ll feel as impossibly lucky as we did with Emily the next time ‘round. It’s hard to know how the knock-down-drag-outs of life will ultimately shape you - we’re still waiting to see, I think.
For now, though, for today, we remember our Anna with tenderness, grace and yes, with wanting. The tears are no less potent today than they were at any point last year. When it comes to you baby girl, I don’t think they ever will be.
Love to you, sweetheart. Mommy & Daddy