When Birthdays are Reminders

Nelle was stillborn on September 4th.  A mere 16 days later was Theo’s sixth birthday.

It is a painful contradiction to find your own child’s baby photos difficult to look at, but I spent that year quickly looking away from images of his tiny newborn cheeks, fingers, and toes.  All I could see in those pictures of the first few days of my son’s life were the reminders that I would never have any pictures of Nelle.  That overjoyed look on my face in those photos – the induction into motherhood – seemed like a completely parallel and disparate experience from where I sat after my baby girl had died. Continue reading

Familial Laughter

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This past weekend, I went to Wisconsin for a wedding shower, staying with my aunt and uncle.  Meeting Autumn for the first time was a flurry as I dropped the carseat into their entryway and headed back to my vehicle to retrieve all of the stuff.  My aunt peered into the face of her “griece,” as she calls her (great-nice).  Autumn began belly laughing, and didn’t stop.  She continued laughing and laughing as we settled into their home.  My aunt decided that it must be the laughter of recognition: looking into the face of family and knowing there is shared DNA. Continue reading

Two Dogs

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For my baby shower, my sister gave me a stuffed sheep for Theo.  It was white and very fluffy and as the months passed it became his favorite, named Baa.  When he was not even two years old, we lost Baa at the pediatrician’s office.  I frantically asked my sister to please send two backup Baas.  I rotated them out so that they could be equally loved and interchanged.  Then a laundry error revealed that we had two Baas in our possession.  We lost one of the two last year when we came home from an overnight stay at a hotel without Baa.  Down to one. Continue reading