Sunday, January 22, 2012

She would be five....

Five years ago today, our lives changed in ways that are impossible to describe. Now, it is possible (most of the year) to look back and recognize that we got far more from Sophie than we lost, but on this day, the only thing that we have to focus on is the little blond tornado missing from our family. Because she would have been nothing less than a tornado...this, I know!

When we found out we were expecting again in 2006, we were delighted. Our family was going to be complete with three kiddos and we eagerly awaited the new arrival. Having already given birth to two girls, it was one of the first pregnancies where I found I really, TRULY, didn't have a preference for gender. I mean, I know moms are never supposed to have a preference and I probably didn't with Erin (though I was convinced she was a boy!), but when Erin was a girl, I confess that I really wanted her to have a sister (probably because I never had one). Megan gave me that reality and I knew I could just settle back and enjoy my third pregnancy--boy or girl would fit into our family just fine. (I think my sister-in-law, who is the youngest of three with two older brothers was hoping for a boy...she said something about two older girls torturing a baby brother for a change!) Anyway, it was to be my last pregnancy. Three kids, close in age, was all anyone could handle...right?

We found out she was a girl in the last moments of her life. And at that moment, that exact second, I knew that having three girls was absolutely the perfect family for us. As soon as the fact that she was a girl became a reality, that reality was gone. And as soon as that reality was gone, it was the only reality I could have ever wanted. My three girls.

Fast forward to now. There are many families who have had losses who can say that their subsequent child may still have been born had the lost one lived. I don't know if I can say that. Would we still have had Evan? Timing-wise, it is entirely possible. He is two years younger than Sophie and clearly would have been a possibility. But would we have had him if I was running around chasing all three of his sisters? I doubt it. And yet, now, when I picture our family of "what should have been," it is three girls followed by Evan. Would that have been our reality? I have no idea and there is no way to know. The bottom line is that we are missing one and we have gained one (almost two!) since her death. As we sit here awaiting the Grand Finale for our family, I can't help but picture my life with all 5 of my kids and I can't help but talk about it as if that would have been our reality, even though I truly can't answer that question.

A good friend has started a new blog about her life as a mom of four. She wanted a space away from her blog that was almost entirely about the loss of her firstborn nearly 8 years ago. Because, she admits, it is hard to know how to answer the question, "How many kids do you have?" and she needed a space to concentrate on just being a mom to the four she got to keep. And yet, the loss that defines us so completely changed our mothering that it is hard for it to be separate, you know? Anyway, her new blog is called Four Minus One Makes Five and because she is such a clever writer and I'm so...well, NOT a clever writer, I'm borrowing the phrase from her. Because it is so true. People will always look at me as a mom of (almost!) four. After this baby is born, there I will be in the grocery store with my four kids and all most people will see of me is my four kids. And these four kids will take up all my time and all my days and all my world. And I'm so happy to be able to do that! I'm so lucky to be able to do that! And yet....

Four minus one makes five. Happy birthday to the child who rocked my world more than any other, the one so few people remember to see anymore and the one who brought us the amazing perspective we have on this life. Happy birthday to the piece of my heart that will forever and always live in the stars. Happy birthday, my little Sophia Anne, you are so dearly loved and missed.

Monday, January 9, 2012


I haven't posted in a while, for no reason other than things around the holidays were busy and now as we find ourselves settling back into a routine, I have more time to think about the fact that January is here...again. It comes every year, doesn't it? Without fail, after the bustle of the holidays comes this long, cold month that seems to fight my honest attempts to keep a positive attitude. I plan fun stuff with the kids, we do plays and watch videos, we go to the library, the museum, spend weekends with friends, do whatever we can outside...and yet, at the end of the day, the exhaustion that settles into my bones just feels heavier this time of year.

I got an email from some random parenting site that is one of millions that must have my email address and the ages of my kids...I usually delete them without opening them, but on this one, the subject line definitely caught my eye. "Your child will be 5!" it said, "This is a major milestone! Look inside for ideas on how to celebrate with style!" I paused...who were they talking about?? Of course less than a millisecond later it hit me like a ton of bricks. Sophie would be turning 5 this year! We will definitely celebrate, but probably not in the way the email suggested. We will invite a bunch of friends over, have cake and ice cream, and celebrate the wonderful ways that Sophie has changed our family. We will dance and sing and be so very thankful for the gifts she has brought us and we will honor all the friends who have stood by us for the past 5 years. Later, privately, we will weep for the little girl we miss so much and who would have been such a joy to have in our family. Because, truly, even 5 years out, those tears are still there. Really.