Meet my kids:
Luna is our baby girl. She changed us. We grow in love, deep and true, guided by her. She lived inside my body for 26 weeks and 5 days.
Lucas is 5. He is wicked smart. He likes to climb. And he does it really well, since before he could even walk. I truly believe he will grow up to either climb Mt Everest or be one of those Spiderman burglars.
Gaspar is 3. He is cheeky and sweet. And a little manipulative, choosing either incessant shrills or an overly sweet voice and hugs to always get his way.
My boys are best friends, buddies, accomplices in good and evil. They drive us nuts and make us happier than humanly possible. Most times both, within the space of 1.5 minutes.
But the three of them – that is something I wasn’t expecting.
We told them Luna might not be fully healthy the same day we found out ourselves. It was our 12 week scan, and we’d all gone in together. A look, a question, the mood changes – Wynn walks out with the boys and I hear the whole thing, the questions and the indications of what may be and the small light of it might be all right, but really it’s not.
Later, as I’m pushing both of them on a Maclaren built for one, Lucas nonchalantly asks, so what did the doctor say anyway. How do they always manage to ask the hardest questions when there is only one parent!? I take a deep breath. I remember breathing, giving myself an extra second, willing my voice to be even, he said that Luna was sick. This word, “sick”, it sends Gaspar off into turmoil, I see it on his face in a flash. Rewind! Rewind! Never use that word again. Sick is something that happens to people, to him. Sick is a state, a moment we come back from. Sick can be this bad? Sick can make mom and dad cry and look so very very lost? Rewind! I make a mental note never to use that word again, to remember to tell Wynn, too. I underline the note and highlight it in neon purple in my head. I try again. Luna’s body is forming in a way that it will not live in the world here with us. The way her body is growing, it is for living only inside my body, but she can’t be born to live in the world.
They understand. I know, because they said, oh. I keep pushing in silence.
A few days later the conversation comes up again when we are getting ready for bed. Pyjamas, teeth-brushing, the general shuffle. They ask again. We tell them again that Luna’s body is only for living inside my body. And Lucas says, she’s just here to feel our love. And to feel all, all of our love. And he puts his five year old hands on my belly and gives Luna a kiss and says, Puchila, te quiero mucho, which is how you express deep, good love in Spanish, and he walks off to finally brush his teeth.
Now, almost four months since Luna died and was born, they keep her close. They say her name. They draw pictures and pick flowers.
When we first found out, I was scared that it would change them. That they would now be children with a shadow about them, carrying extra sadness. Gloomy. In fact, I think it has made them wiser, more in tune with life. I think it has shown them deeper love. In some way it’s as if they had something extra: the moon means a little more, because that is Luna, her name. A beautiful sunset is a little more special, because nature, the sky, a butterfly – we feel them all as gifts, as mementos of love. Anything that is beautiful, that is love, is a connection with Luna. When Gaspar sees an orange streaked sunset he calls me. He screeched with the urgency of a three year old that has something amazing to share. And I wonder if his finger has suddenly self combusted or been chomped off by a mad dragon. Mostly it’s just the sunset, or the first star of the evening. And he looks so proud, so overcome by beauty and love. And I hug him, and through him, I spirit hug Luna too. And I wonder if he will ever grow into an indoor voice.