Time is passing with graceful speed. I believe there was a gust of cold snowy air and then January was nearly behind me, tapping on my shoulder to bid farewell before fading away to memory.
Very soon a little boy will come to live in our house again.
A little boy. I think God knew what my heart was aching for: baby boy eyelashes on flushed soft skin and matchbox cars and shades of blue. There has been a hole in this house for nearly one year. A hole shaped like two precious little boys whose laughter is no longer heard here. I think this house wonders where they went. I think this house has been mourning.
Or was that me?
Life is like that I suppose, unpredictable and at the mercy of change. Love is strong and sticky like maple syrup on stuffed animals worn by love, but circumstances can be stronger than bunny kisses or a heart’s desire or even a wet willy or two.
Seven years ago my sister and I married best friends. We lived in houses down the street from one another and I was the second mommy to her two boys, A and B. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Life was so much fun. Even now, after the pain of suddenly being separated by 1,000 miles after rarely spending a day without them and the ache so strong that I felt it like shattered glass in the bottoms of my feet, I wouldn’t have given up one single moment.
The question that I am asked most often as I walk in public, now obviously pregnant: “is this your first?” I always nod and say that it is and wait patiently for the next question which always comes, “is it a boy or a girl?” In my case I smile and answer “boy” and then listen as well-wishing strangers tell me how special little boys are and how much I am going to love my little boy. And gracious heaven, do I know. I know that love because it is burned into my heart and every cell in my body. My lips don’t even begin to part to explain how very much I know because, really, there are no words. Only silent prayers to heaven and I know He understands. He can decipher the emotion from every breath this life exhales.
Thankfully I don’t need words to explain how I know the love that feels soft and gentle when a little boy crawls into bed with you before daybreak and snuggles his footed pajamas across your legs. I know the love that feels scary and desperate when the fever spikes high and the cut won’t stop bleeding. I know the love that is only strengthened by projectile vomit and rectal thermometers and the calls “I need help” coming from the bathroom.
I know this love.
And these special boys were not my children. They were never mine but my heart did not know the difference. I am glad that it did not. Even today.
I have a matchbox car in the console of my car that is covered in dust but I can’t bring myself to move it. I open my silverware drawer and A’s baby spoons are still in their rightful place. I never put them away. There is a room in my house that was built just for them. Because this was their home too. I was their Aunt E, in a manner that redefined the word “aunt.” And they are my boys-always will be.
But now another little boy is coming. My heart yearns for his arrival as I try to memorize the feel of every kick and squirm and hiccup inside me.
Oh baby mine, mommy is waiting.
And to answer the question, “is this your first?”
First. And Third.