My husband watched the kids gleefully play in the snow while I cooked dinner.
He had bundled them in layers of fleece and feathers, leaving only their faces bare. And off they went to dig in and slide down the biggest snowdrift in the yard. My husband’s ears absorbed their laughter and shouting, and his eyes observed their vibrant facial features that stood out against the white earth.
Rosy cheeks, round and pinch-worthy. Hazel eyes that crinkled at the corners. Red lips shaped like budding flowers.
And he commented that when their hair wasn’t visible, they looked exactly alike. His son and daughter, with five years of space between them, perfectly resembled not their mother or father, but each other. “Except for their clothes, and obvious size difference, I couldn’t tell them apart,” he said.
And I thought about the sweet face of my baby Micah, who was born into heaven. He had a precious face that captured my attention for the entirety of the few moments I was given to look at it. His life fit quietly into the five year gap between my earth babies and left a roaring gap in my heart.
In the few moments we had face-to-face, I examined his fully-formed, yet underdeveloped features. And I declared that it was his sister’s lips and chin I was looking at.
Even a baby born still, a baby born halfway through pregnancy, had features strong enough to compare to those with whom he shared DNA.
I will never forget that face and how it resembled the two children who stand before me. Because a mother never forgets one of her own, even when she can no longer seem him.
So each time I look at these two, I will imagine what the one who is not here would look like if he were. Because a mother who has lost a baby always wonders what life would be like if she hadn’t. And she can’t help but consider the “what-ifs” that will forever remain a mystery.