I Just Miss You Today


Sweet baby,
I miss you today.

As we turned the corner into a new year, I realized it has been almost 4 years since I saw you last. Four years ago on my (our) birthday, I woke up knowing I wouldn’t ever hold you in my arms. Instead I stroked your delicate body with my index finger when I saw you on my maxi pad. You were beautiful, formed exactly as you should have been at 6 1/2 weeks gestation. But your heart had stopped its tiny beating, and your cells had stopped their rapid splitting, and my heart was cut deeply when your life was cut short.

I just miss you today.

Today, four years later, I’m sitting on a new couch in a new house watching Daniel Tiger with your baby brother. I imagined moving to this house with you. Our Bonus Baby just had a bath after drawing on his face with markers, a funny little habit your big brother, my Sweet Prince, had when he was a toddler. He always loved wearing costumes and insisted on drawing on his “mask” to be more authentic. I wonder if you would have liked costumes like your brothers do? Of course he taught Little Carrot to draw on his face too, because Carrot did everything just like our Prince. They have always been built-in best friends, and I’m so glad they still are.

I wish Bonus had you.

You would have been born in October, and I conceived our Bonus in December. I have never felt like our rainbow baby was a replacement baby, because you had a place in our family. You could have been born, and so could he, and then there would be 5 of you, and my heart would grow all the more to make room. You and Bonus would have been built-in best friends. You would be in the bathtub together after drawing all over each other with marker, and instead of watching Daniel Tiger you would be playing dress up. Maybe you would be teaching him about lipstick or fighting over the orange football. You would get the pink cup and he would get the green one, but as a 3-year-old, you might decide you only want your milk in a blue cup today, because that’s what 3-year-olds do. That’s what you would do, if you were here.

I just miss you today. 

If you were here, the days would be louder. I would spend an hour trying to get you and Bonus to nap at the same time in your shared room, or maybe I would put you in my bed to keep you from playing. At lunch time I could cut your sandwich into the shape of a hippo and Bonus’ in the shape of a dinosaur, and you would each pretend to be your animal while you ate. I would still be cutting your grapes when you’re 3 because you two giggle so much when you’re chomping on snacks. You would dance in tutus and make Bonus play the prince to your princess. “I so pretty, brubber?” you would say. I can hear you two jabbering in your little toddler language as you snuggle under a blanket fort to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse on the iPad.

Because every time I look at Bonus, I see you. I see what could have been, the life I expected and not the one I’m living. Don’t get me wrong, the life you are living right now is perfect, and I can’t wait to live it with you one day. But sometimes it hurts, and today is one of those days. Whenever I look at your little brother,

I just miss you.


To My Fourth Child…

To My Fourth Child

Photo used with permission by Stephanie Lancaster of Adara Photography.

Hi Baby,

I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since we welcomed you into our family. It’s been a wild ride already, hasn’t it? People always say you’re the happiest baby in the world, and I know it’s because you’re so loved by so many people. You would never know it, but things are a lot different for you than your big sister and brothers.

When your sister was born, things were much…quieter. She had a room all to herself, full of brand new pink baby things that belonged only to her. In the mornings she would wake up early, and Daddy and I would hear her laughing and talking to herself as she started to stir. During the day, she got love and snuggles from so many people at day care while Mommy and Daddy went to work, and we were both so anxious to give her our undivided attention when we got home! At bedtime, we would gently rock in the glider, singing sweet, quiet songs as she drifted off to sleep.

You, dear child…

Well, that story probably sounds like a fairy tale to you. Your room is shared with big sister’s furniture, clothes, and 8-year-old girl stuff. The only thing in there that belongs to you is your crib and pile of diapers in the top dresser drawer. Those are pretty much the only things that belong to you period, since everything else is a hand-me-down from someone. You are almost always awoken abruptly by a sibling who either does’t understand the word “whisper” or several who are fighting over who gets to hold you first. During the day we shuffle back and forth to the gym, Walmart, Chick-fil-A, and…well, those are pretty much the only places we go. You spend as much time in your car seat in an average week as any of your siblings did in a month. And bedtime? HA! It’s more like a circus, complete with clowns, acrobatics, and plenty of animal noises. Rather than peacefully laying you in your quiet bed to drift off as your sleep-trained older siblings did, Daddy and I take turns hurriedly bouncing you (the glider is in my room serving as a holder of clean laundry I probably will never fold) because you’re over-tired thanks to the big kids who make way too much noise for you to sleep when you want to.

When your brothers were your age, they had playmates. Our Prince Charming had big sister, just two years his senior, then he became a middle child at just about your age when Sweet Carrot came along. Those two boys have always been inseparable. Mommy started staying home when Sweet Carrot was born, and our mornings were filled with costumes and sword fights and coloring each other with markers when Mommy wasn’t looking. Now two of your siblings are in elementary school, and the other one would rather play by himself than with you most of the time. He just doesn’t seem to appreciate the way you chew on his action figures and throw them across the room, does he? You don’t seem to mind too much, though, as long as there’s a roll of toilet paper to unravel because Mommy forgot to shut the bathroom door again.

There are a lot of things you don’t have. You don’t have a keepsake box because I keep forgetting to buy one (but there is a pile on my dresser…), I already lost the lock of hair from your first trim (in my defense, you tried to eat it while I was helping sister with a project, and it got scattered), and you didn’t even have a first birthday party (you won’t remember, it’s cool). I don’t read to you unless you overhear me helping the big kids with their homework, and I don’t flinch when you eat Cheerios off the floor. (Sweet Carrot probably put them there for you.) You don’t have much 1-on-1 time with me, and sometimes I wonder if you’re getting the short end of the stick.

And then I remember your tribe.

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