I think that the mind is an amazing thing. I think that it's so amazing that I am able to see, not only the way things are, but the way things would have been, and the way things will be one day.
I look at Erin and Patrick and I have such joy in everything they do. Even on nights when they're both up multiple times and I'm falling over exhausted, I am so grateful for the snuggles and the kisses and tears I get to wipe away and fears I get to calm. I'm so grateful for being a mommy. I love watching them grow and learn new things. I love each new word that comes out of Erin's mouth, and each new thing that Patrick has conquered (getting better at the inchworm crawl. Maybe one day he'll figure the arm part out. Or maybe I'll just not have a baby that crawls normally). He's recently started blowing raspberries. And he's SO CUTE when he does it.
But in watching them I also see what should have been. Like one of those images printed on a transparency and laid over another picture, I see what life would have been like. It's not as real, or as clear, but still there, ever present. Most of the time it makes me smile. A sad smile, yes, but a smile nonetheless. I wonder if she's whispering to me what it would have been like so I can get to know her a little better. Or maybe I'm just remembering, since I knew her before we came here. I wonder if she ever wishes that she could have stayed and grown up with us, too.
But then I have this wonderful image in my mind. One that I hold onto tightly and keep close. I picture myself with my mother, and my grandmothers and my various aunts and cousins, and so many other beautiful women I've come in contact with over the past 3 years. We're waiting, tense, expectant, excited. Some come, walking. Some come, carried by figures in white. One by one, each one of us received our beautiful babies back into our arms.
Can you imagine the joy?