I can't even begin to tell you how much I am dreading Christmas. If I could skip over the day completely - the week even - I would do it in an instant. I don't want it to come without her. I don't want to wake up in the morning to a still silent house. I don't want to have to face another childless holiday, especially this one.
This one is the big one. It's the first big event almost every mom immediately imagines when she is pregnant. We picture the outfit we will shop for our baby to wear - both on the actual day of Christmas and for any pictures we might take beforehand. We picture putting up the tree with the various "Baby's First Christmas" ornaments we have either been given or purchased ourselves. We picture relatives coming from afar to ooh and ahh over our beautiful baby. Maybe we are even hosting the day at our house for the first time because the baby is here and it's easier than lugging everything all over town. We imagine how our baby's eyes will light up as we hold her close to the tree, carefully brushing her fingertips over the branches. We imagine sitting her on our lap on Christmas morning and helping her rip open the brightly wrapped presents that have been lovingly bought for her. We picture the laughter and the smiles, the eyes shimmering with joy, the music, the light, the family. We construct this day in its perfection while our baby is still forming her fingers and toes inside us.
When you are pregnant, everything your baby has yet to do is still bright and shiny inside your mind. When your baby dies, everything goes dark. Like Ebeneezer Scrooge's Christmas that is yet to come, fog rolls in, the lights go out, and nothing is what it was supposed to be. Only, I don't get to wake up on Christmas morning with a second chance. Kenley will not suddenly be alive in her crib. My Ghost of Christmas Future has come and gone without leaving me a reprieve. My baby is gone. There will be no Baby's First Christmas. Not for her. I hope Bean will get one, but there are no guarantees in life. And there's still another year to go before that happens.
This Christmas will be hard. I will wake up like I have every day for the last ten months to a house without my child. I will hear her absence echoing in the silence. I won't get her dressed in an adorable dress and tights. There will be no shiny black shoes to snap onto her wiggling feet. No presents to open. No new toys to play with. There will be only an empty crib and a living room without a Christmas tree. There will be a broken promise and a weary soul.
As I write this, a tiny sliver of hope squirms slightly below my belly button. A little ray of light the size of a sweet potato quietly reminds me that not all is lost - that maybe, just maybe, next Christmas will be different. While Kenley will always be missing, I hope Bean will be here. But, now, instead of thinking of a future with bright, shining lights, I hope with a softness that cannot be helped. A quiet pleading. Please. Please. Please don't take this one away from me too. Please let me have this one. Please. Please. Please.
But, she's not here yet. I still have a long way to go, and all I really have is right now. Right now, Kenley is gone and Bean is still growing. Right now, I do not have a baby in my arms. Right now, life is hard and uncertain and Christmas is still coming. The first of many I will face without her, but hopefully the last I will face with empty arms.