Sometimes when I think with excitement about how very much I have to learn about Smudgie over the beautiful decades of our lives together, I remember you and then I realize how much I know about him already.
I never got the chance to discover that you hiccup almost as much on the outside as you did on the inside-- at least four times a day all through the third trimester. I never felt your knees or elbows through the barrier of a tight swaddle and recognized their familiar pointiness from their poking against a very different kind of enclosure. I never compared your ultrasound images to your peacefully sleeping form, marveling at the little hands that extend above your head in your crib, just as they did before you were born.
I knew nothing, but I loved you anyway and missed you like my best friend when you were gone.
Today, two years later, I hold your sleeping little brother on my lap and don't know how to wish for anything more or anything different. When I look at him, I see perfection. But I don't want to say "It all turned out for the best' or "Everything happens for a reason." Because once upon a time you were here and then you weren't, and it broke my heart for me and for you. I wanted you to live and love and be happy. It is still so sad that you never got the chance to.
I wonder sometimes if I would love Smudgie in quite the exact way I do if it weren't for you coming and going first. I think of you when I look at him. I think of you when I hold him to my chest at night and kiss that smooth, precious place where his neck meets his shoulder.
Be at peace little one-- little ones. You are knit into the love that makes our family everyday. So you'll always be with us.
I'm back, and it's hopefully not a once-off!!
8 months ago