Our time together was a whirlwind.
Not a romance, but an intimate relationship nonetheless. My body was your dwelling place – a living, breathing home made specifically to house and nurture the smallest of souls.
Your life began within me. And although the idea that you might not stay lodged itself deep within my bones, I hoped you would. I begged God to let you.
I cherished each moment when I could not only feel you, but see you too. Your body danced on the dark screen as I watched your heart flicker like a candle, evidence that my wish for another child had come true. And in just a few brief moments, I could tell you were going to have both your sister’s legs and her energy.
We went everywhere together, me carrying you, the rhythm of my footsteps your comfort and calm. I listened to your heartbeat as often as I could, and what joy it brought me to know you were always listening to mine. Our bodies were in sync, together but separate. Yours, an offshoot of mine.
But our days together were numbered. By the time I held you in my arms, you were already gone. My body let go of you too soon and I had no choice but to say goodbye. Your body left its mark on mine, your precious life etched itself deep into my soul.
And every year on the day I assumed would be your birthday, I think about you. I wonder what life would be like if you had in fact been born on your due date, your big sister’s birthday, instead of months too soon.
I wonder if you’d be sharing a birthday cake with her, or if you’d each demand one of your own. I wonder if you’d be mild-mannered like her or wild and uninhibited like your little brother. I wonder if you’d like chocolate cake, or white. Or if the two of you would be fighting over balloons and ice cream and new toys.
You were the one who got away. The one who never got to celebrate even one birthday.
But we celebrated you from the moment we discovered you had taken up residence within me. And we continue to celebrate you – your life, your existence – even though you are gone.
Because just like your big sister and your little brother, you are worth celebrating. You are ours. We are yours. And we’ll never stop wishing that you were here to celebrate with us.