Lately I find myself catching my breath. Simple moments with my 16 month old leave me falling back in my mind. We are starting to bond, like really bond. There are trains on the floor and blue shirts and dinosaurs all around. All these things are evidence that a boy lives here, grows here, sleeps here. We've begun the early stages of potty training. The other day as I took his diaper off to watch him toddle into the bathroom he started peeing, clearly not making it to the toilet in time. At first he cried, unaware of what what happening. But then I laughed and reassured him it was alright and soon he was laughing and it was such a great moment between us, mother and son. And for a brief moment I thought "this is how it was always supposed to be." This is how it was supposed to be if my first born had lived. If raising a boy was the first child I got to raise, mold and shape.
Sometimes when its just Judah and myself those words "this is how it was supposed to be," wash over me again and again. Its as if it makes it possible to see back in time to the "what if he had lived" portion of my life. I know Judah is my third child but in so many ways he feels like the first. Caleb died, Abigail was born and everything was a thick fog of grief. I don't remember much about the first year of Abigail's life. But Judah, Judah came at at time when I was better-mentally, physically, emotionally. Its as if the lens is cleaned now and I'm seeing things, or rather raising a baby, for the first time. Everything I do with this child feels fresh and new and like he is my first. But he's not. See how confusing it still is? Because even in those blissful moments when I think "this is how it was supposed to be," its not how it is.
The fact remains that Judah is not Caleb. When I try to swap the two kids my heart instantly sinks because the more I know Judah the more I want to know Caleb. The more trains and cars and dinosaurs we buy the more I long to have them already. Some days I feel like I'm going backwards through time, not forward. I had in my mind when I was pregnant with Caleb this great expectation of what being a boy mom would be like. And the thing I'm learning is-its all true and then some! It's really as great as I thought it would be. Mother and son, son and mother-the bond between us is so close, so precious. But where does that leave my other son? I have another son, right? I still have to convince myself because the longer it gets from his birth and death the less I remember. The less tangible things I have of him. And I hate that.
"This is how it was supposed to be." Except its not. This is how it is. I have three children. I have two sons. One I grow closer and closer with each day and the other is ?what? I don't know. That's the hard part. Its days like today and weeks like this that I feel the weight of all we were robbed of when death took Caleb from us.
Don't really have a nice way to wrap this up other than to say, I still miss my first born son.