Several of my friends have small children. It's only natural, being our ages and positions in life. The transition from single to married to parent seems to happen in the blink of an eye. It seems that not that long ago, my friend Stephanie and I spent our weekends out on the town. And now, she is married with two kids. It seems like yesterday that my only worries were which restaurant we should eat at tonight so I have delicious leftovers tomorrow - and do you think those leftovers will keep in the car while we go to this movie? Every life that crosses with mine is vastly different than it was five years ago. Not better or worse - just not the same. In life, change is inevitable.
Before I was pregnant, I loved to watch Mike interact with my friends' kids. Every girl loves a man with a baby! It stirs something up inside us - a very biological reaction, I'm sure. He has always been wonderful with kids. Making faces, doing voices, playing games. It melted my heart - and fired up my ovaries! (He doesn't want to believe this, but he's the one who gave me the Baby Rabies. I was perfectly fine until I met him. Scout's honor.)
During my pregnancy, seeing him with our circle's children was even more wonderful. Look! Look at how great this man will be with our child. Our child! We created life together. I automatically transferred those actions from our friends' kids to our own. In just a few months, I thought, Mike will be making faces and doing voices for Kenley. She will be the one grabbing his hand and laughing at him. She will be the one he swings around by her arms, heads thrown back, eyes sparkling. I had a sense of security and comfort. A sense of accomplishment. I had created a family.
Now, things have changed. The family I was so sure of does not exist anymore - at least not in the sense that I thought it would. Seeing Mike with our friends' children is very bittersweet now. It still warms my heart to see him laughing and playing with kids. How could it not? But, icy waves of sadness wash over me at the same time. That should be our child. He should be holding Kenley. He should be laughing with Kenley, buckling Kenley into her carseat, handing Kenley her cheerios. He would have made such a fantastic dad! I feel like I've robbed him of that chance. I feel guilty that our daughter is not here, and that he can not do those things with her. Again, I understand that is not true - but I can't help but feel it. He tells me it's ok. He tells me we will have that chance again. And we will.
Many of my friends have asked me if they shouldn't bring their kids around me, but I tell them of course they should. I don't want to be sheltered. I don't want people to walk on eggshells. I want to be reminded that there is life out there. It gives me something to look forward to. I lost my baby. My husband and I are not able to be the parents we want to be right now. It's the most terrible feeling in the world, but I can't let it stop me from being who I am. And I can't let it stop me from holding on to my dreams. I want to be a mother. I want Mike to be a father. I want us to be parents together - to have a family. We will have that one day. We will. And when we do, we will also have a few things that not many other people have. We will have an intense appreciation for each other - and for our children. We will have wisdom that only comes from knowing how easily things can slip through your fingers. And we will have Kenley, always in our hearts, reminding us of just how fiercely we can love and be loved. As long as we're living...our baby she'll be.