I regret every time that someone asks me “How many children do you have?” And I respond “I have two children” because I am not brave enough to explain that I have four children, only two living.
The other day, Theo was at our bus stop. A parent appeared who does not normally walk her son to the bus, so we had not met. Theo gave her the run-down of our family: “There is Mommy and Daddy, and me and Quentin. And our cat Libby and our dog Penny. And we used to have another cat named Hurley but he ran away. And we had two babies that died. I would have had two sisters.”
Just like that. No hesitation. Matter-of-fact. He acknowledges that they existed and that they are part of our family, even though they are not with us now. Why can’t I do that?
Yesterday, I was taking a bath with both of my sons. Theo could see my tattoo, and noted his birthday, his brother’s birthday, and the birthdays of his sisters. He said “Are we taking a break from having babies?” I told him that we just have to see; because the doctors still cannot figure out what happened, so we do not know how to stop it from happening again. He said “I really wanted a baby sister.” I stared straight at him, unsure of what to say. He then proceeded to tell me that he was certain the babies had gotten a virus that no one knows about yet. I changed the subject.