Every year I feel some obligation to write this post and every year I make some half-assed attempt at being poetic and powerful. Every year I fail miserably because, if I'm being honest, I am still too raw. And what I'm writing is not deeply personal or even all that inspirational to other Angel Moms because I still haven't found enough distance to impart some great wisdom. Basically, I just don't want to talk about it. Or think about it. But all of that avoidance hasn't gained me any great comfort over the past 6 years. I still feel like we are living a lie, this family of 3.
How many children do you have?
One. Just the one. (No, two. I have two children. One runs, one flies....Man, that looks so much better stamped on a necklace than it sounds aloud to a complete stranger.)
So, I don't say it, of course. I say one. The nosier ones ask when we will have more. If you press me hard enough, I will tell you that we actually have two. And I will make you feel like horse poo for saying anything at all.
I'm clearly not in my happy place.
But I don't know if I will ever, on this earth, find my happy place. Last year, I heard of a couple who was in the process of adopting a newborn. Adoption is competitive so they created a book to show the birth mom how important adopting her baby was to them. In the book, they explained that their dining room table has 4 chairs but they are only a family of 3. They felt incomplete. It was proof to me that their family was serious about expanding and would endure any heartache if it meant they would, one day, be whole. They were able to adopt and complete their family shortly thereafter.
It's a beautiful story and speaks to the life-altering potential of adoption, but I feel like the opposite holds true for us. To me, our family is always incomplete and will only be whole again when the 4 of us are in Heaven (OK, I'm assuming we will all be in Heaven...I need this hope, even if everything goes sideways and we end up in Hell...or it turns out there is no Heaven or Hell just worms. But I've placed all my bets on Heaven). Having another child, biological or otherwise, will not change my feelings about our family. It will not complete us or make me feel less guilty about ignoring one member of our family every time I'm asked. It won't erase this date from my memory or make me wonder any less about what life could be like.
The whole thing just sucks. And that's as elegant as I can be today. Ask me tomorrow. Tomorrow, I will tell you about time healing open wounds and being a light to those in the darkness. I will tell you your angel is always near and that God has a plan. But tonight, the open wound and the darkness and the angel and the plan don't make any sense. And I don't want to be poetic or powerful. I don't want to be wise or inspire. I just want to hold my family of 4.
This afternoon, as Blue and I were leaving the house, headed for the nursery to buy our annual mums, he spotted a black and blue butterfly in the grass. "Look! Mommy! A butterfwy!" Blue has a keen eye for butterflies and can spend hours chasing them. I tend to let him because I've always felt butterflies were Shep's way of communicating with us. And when Blue takes off after one, it's just 2 brothers playing tag. Today, Shepherd, you're it.