I saw you today.
I came home late and your father was already in bed, sound asleep. Exhausted, I lay down next to him. As I reached to steal some covers there you were.
It was the first thing I thought when they handed you to me, how your mouth was just like his. I memorized your every feature, as any mother would. It is the reason I can see you now. And it's why I was able to smile, amidst the shock and devastation that morning, because you were so familiar. Because I could see them in you.
And so on this damp, March night I got a glimpse of you in the dark, as I have often done before. My daughter in the bow of his lips, trembling softly while he dreams of seeing the same.
I don't mind finding you here, in my bed. In our kitchen. Sitting next to me in the car. How you laugh with me during SNL anniversary shows, or when your brother attempts to say the word "Hyundai". It is your smile, my rescue, when I'm so afraid of losing this baby that I begin to shake uncontrollably. Your lips that tell me to be strong.
Actually, you are other places too.
I hear your voice in his, high-pitched and innocent and green. In all of the "can we have pancakes?" and "are we there yet's?" and "I love you, mommy's", a wavelength I could never ignore. It is your eyes, the softest blue, so watchful of my every move. Your embrace, within sweaty fingers as we cross the street.
And every night at story time he will remove his socks, and I will count your long, skinny toes while pulling covers to his cheeks.
Each and every time, I am reminded that you're still here. Still with us. Within these familial walls and wherever we go, genetically bound to our physical presence on this Earth, increasingly remembered, and very much a part of everything that we do.
And each and every time, it hurts. Steals my breath and stops me, mid-sentence or narration, and for a moment I can do nothing more but long for you. My daughter, my baby girl, in a room full of smiling faces on Christmas morning, or in the softest of beds on a chilly Tuesday night.
Last week I was driving to a support group, of all places. It was nearly seven o'clock and the sun was beginning to set as I approached an elevated overpass. For a moment I hovered at the top. It was yellow and it was warm, and I felt you there next to me.
I could see everything below, all of the people, hurriedly, scattered and distracted. The same view as was before you, only I hadn't wanted to change.
And I could have stayed forever, parked there in my thoughts of you. It's how I feel when I see find you in the contours of a cheek, or a simple mannerism. How I want those moments to freeze forever. How they're all that I have.
But I descend, as we all must, into this life without you. Merge into the beautifully tragic details, into our attempted understanding.
And so I'm moving forward. Always a little without, though I'm beginning to favor this perspective. Strange, how I'm seeing so much more.
One eye on the bridge ahead.
And one in the rearview.