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.