Tomorrow is significant.
Last year on the 25th of July, I learned you were coming. I remember buying the test that morning, tossing it into the cart with the milk and the band aids. I never thought we'd learn so quickly. Never dreamed it'd be that easy.
I remember seeing the lines. The first one bright and pronounced, the second was faint and soft. Your life and your potential, materializing before my eyes in bright pink.
I told your brother first. His eyes lit up, immediately demanding to play with you. Sometimes when he gets confused, he asks when you'll be "better". Places his hand on my heart, swears he can feel you in there.
It is difficult to explain death to a four year old. Some advise brutal honesty. Others encourage a more abstract guidance. Is it better to be scared or hopeful? The blissful ignorance I'd give anything for. It is easy for one to ask why. Of course I don't have the answer, but he needs me to.
After giving the afterlife my best shot he looked at me. "Do they have toys there?"
"Of course,"I smiled.
"Oh I know!" He set down his Buzz LightYear.
"It's like a museum!"
A few weeks ago I was talking to someone when she asked about you. "Tell me about your baby," she said.
I began as I always do. How you were there and then you weren't. Felt you moving and then I didn't. Pregnant then not so much. I was me and then I wasn't.
I told her about the tests, all the blood work and confusion. Rambled off doctors and statistics and memorials and letters. She looked at me confused.
"No," her soft clarification. "Tell me about your baby."
It hadn't dawned on me until then, that I've never really discussed you with anyone. How morbid I've become, that my focus on your life remains the end of it.
So I began, astonished at how much I can remember, even now in the depths of my sorrow. I told her about your dark hair, how you were the perfect hybrid of your brother and grandfather. I explained your long, skinny toes, five pounds and three ounces of soft perfection. Told her about your kicks, always soft and comforting. You were nothing like your brother, a chuckle rising in my throat. He was always moving, always making his presence known. I never had to wait for him.
There were days where I'd get busy and you'd go unnoticed in the rush. Many nights where I'd lay patiently in my bed at the end of a long day, and there you'd be. My soft reassurance. My reminder. I like to think you'd have been my calm, my easy thing. Introverted and strong as stone, like the mother you created.
You were most active on my long drives. To work and back again. To softball games and Christmas vacations. I'd raise the voume and you'd dance for me. The Strokes were a particular favorite of yours. In fact, as I drove to the hospital that night I turned them up as loud as my car would allow. That's how I knew you had gone, before any doppler ever touched me.
Perhaps it's why I sometimes find myself driving, aimlessly after midnight trips to Walgreens for cough syrup, soaring down highways and back roads with no objective in sight. Still waiting for the kick.
I wish I'd seen you open your eyes. Wish I'd had just one breath, mere seconds to tell you how much I love you. I'm sure you felt it, but I wish it just the same.
The air is getting crisp, but my favorite time of year now offers a different sentiment. I breathe it in, can feel you as I did then. Sense the exchange in my lungs and I hold it, long enough for a taste of the life I once had.
Then I exhale.