“Hi,” the 11-year-old kid said, interrupting my morning walk with a one-syllable sledgehammer. It was just a nicety during a jog with his mom. I don’t think his voice had changed yet. He needed a haircut.
I know he’s 11 because the summer his mom and I were 40-year-old swim team moms, our jokes about our geriatric pregnancies flew off the blocks faster than our freestylers. Then, her belly got bigger and mine didn’t.
Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. If you’ve lost a baby, I hope reading this tends to your heart the way writing it tended to mine.
Little man, how are you? You were the tiniest 16-week-old baby last time I saw you. Perfect little features. Imperfect little heart.
I delivered you, but in some ways, you delivered me. Placing you in a grave jolted me out of mine. I’d been in a rut for a while, and loving you helped me feel again. The feeling was grief, but at least I knew I was alive.
I’m a little jealous of you. You skipped all the hard stuff. You passed Go sooner than me. This world never was your home and I think you’d remind your brother, your dad, and me that it’s not ours, either. I hope you keep your room clean. Please don’t eat Doritos in bed like your brother.
I want to know everything. What’s it like to walk on streets of gold? What pizza toppings would you have wanted? Would you have loved my Chicago Cubs or your brother’s Bronx Bombers? Would you have been impulsive like me or contemplative like your dad? Would you have loved Jesus here like you love Him there?
Would you have fought me on bath time, screen time, and bedtime? Probably.
Would I have won? Also, probably.
Oh, but time. I wish we’d had time.
I bet you’re beautiful. I bet you run fast. I bet you know the answers to most of my questions. Meeting you will gobsmack me. But also, how will I know it’s you? Once we sort that out, please brace for impact because I’m comin’ in hot with a tackle hug.
I’ve still got stuff to do here, so hold that thought. God punched your ticket straight to glory and for that I will praise Him. But I really have missed you, son. Mom
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