I need to apologize. To you. Even though I’m an adult and we think we’ve got it all down, we make mistakes, and I need to ask for forgiveness. When your sister and I are out and about running around town, or at homeschool days, or reading in chairs at the library and someone asks how many kids I have, I usually say “One”, and we all know it’s a lie. I have six, but five of you I will have to wait to get to Heaven to meet.
Sometimes it’s just easier to give the ‘elevator pitch’ to someone instead of pouring out our entire history. Infertility. Multiple losses. When someone is just making conversation or wondering if all the kids crowding around me while I read my daughter a story in the kid’s section of our library are all mine, I don’t want to get into it with them. To tell them about you all.
It’s not disrespect, or that I am wishing I could forget. Nothing could make me forget you. It’s that sometimes I don’t want to have to tell our story, even though your sister is at an age where she’s more than willing and often tells people “I have five brothers and sisters but they’re dead so we’re a triangle family down here!” Then I watch the person who is questioning and see their face go from smiling to shock as they take a few steps back to scuttle away.
I have a hard time knowing what to say when people ask me about the size of our family.
To me, I never feel like your sister is my only child. I feel like I have my ‘herd’ with me, surrounding me like a cloud at all times. I can see one older and four younger siblings for my girlie who is on earth, playing with her, holding hands, bickering. As she grows, so do you. I see other kids your age and wonder if you would be doing all the things they would be. I picture our family table, so big and with plenty of room for our triangle now, crowded and with mismatched chairs trying to fit everyone in for meals and games and school.
Many of our friends do know about you and are sad that you’re not here with us. Many look at our little family of Mama, Daddy and Girlie and wish that it could have been different for us, and so do I. We won’t ever know why we didn’t get to meet you down here, why you didn’t stay past a few weeks from when we found out you were coming. We won’t know if you had my eyes and your Daddy’s hair and smile.
We won’t even know if you were boys or girls.
What we do know, and what I want you to know, is that we were so SO happy to have you, brief as it was, here with us. The hope of you. The joy that those two lines brought each time. I wouldn’t wish that away no matter the pain that followed after. I am thrilled that our Bug doesn’t think of herself as an “only child” but knows that she has brothers and sisters in Heaven watching out for her. Even if she never got to feel you move, never saw you on ultrasounds waving at her from fuzzy black and white, never got to hold you when you were born, fresh and new, she knows about you. You are real to her. You are real to us.
I don’t know what Heaven will be like. I don’t know if I will get to raise you there, or if you’ll be grown, or if I’ll even get to meet you, but I hope I do. I hope that when I ‘cross that bar’ I will be rushed at by my herd, attacked with hugs and kisses and having you grab my hands and drag me off to see whatever it is that you want me to be proud of. I can guarantee that eternity will be amazing in those first few moments of getting to know you, getting to meet you and discover who you are. I can’t wait to see you jump on Daddy for the first time, watching his eyes light up and hearing that laugh of his as he *finally* gets to hold his family all together. And when your sister joins us, getting to watch as you all fall into a gigantic pile of siblings, laughing and jostling each other. Because even though it’s something I’ll never get to see down here, I’m hopeful I will up there.
Even though I don’t often tell people I’m just meeting in passing down here about you, you are always on my mind, always close. You are in each and every smile that your sister has, each snuggle, each picture she draws. You are ever-present in our lives, just not physically. But because of our faith, we don’t need something to be right in front of us for us to believe it’s here with us. Like you.
I love you all and I can’t wait to see you one day!
Jill Kawchak is the proud mama to one truly amazing daughter, the wife of a good man, and a companion of a very troublesome Labrador retriever. Her days are spent homeschooling from the shadow of the Rocky Mountains in Cochrane, Alberta, where her daughter constantly begs to go exploring. She had always wanted to be a mother and started TTC just after her wedding in 2006. Jill has been diagnosed with PCOS, and was told motherhood would be a difficult goal to attain, but after 3.5 years of infertility with one early loss, the clouds parted, and the sunshine that was a little girl with blue eyes and brown curls broke through. However, in the years since her daughter arrived, there have been another 4 early losses. After *much* debate, angst and tears, Jill and her husband, Mark, have decided to end their fertility journey and are now focused on ‘what comes next’. She writes to keep sane, and support those who are also experiencing infertility and baby loss.