A Mother’s Regret:
Baby’s breath placed in glasses on her wall.
Golden angel wings above her changing table.
Stickers of each month to come, displayed in a basket.
Her initials displayed in blue, on the wall you can see, walking by.
Her sisters’ clothes I never thought I’d pull out again, washed and hung—brand sparkling new, written in glitter.
The green recliner I rocked them all asleep in. The place she posed as a one-month-old.
The lamb I placed next to her to show how she would grow.
Telling her sisters we would get to keep her after two years of foster children always leaving our home, and then realizing, after, that they had stayed longer than she had.
The boxing gloves I bought on bed rest hanging from the mirror in my car.
The flower crown I made through contractions, sitting on a shelf.
Saying, “She’s real,” when I first held her in my arms because I thought she was too good to be true.
The salt that spilled, that I didn’t throw over my shoulder.
The nursing cover left behind in a bathroom.
Worrying about how to be a mother of three.
Not worrying about it being Friday the 13th. A history of thirteen as my lucky number.
Saying we wouldn’t have to worry if she was breathing or not because of the loud noises she made in her sleep.
Doctor appointments the day before.
Insisting that something was wrong. Listening to the doctor telling me to let her cry it out.
Not buying the expensive alert system.
Not having a carbon monoxide detector.
Not turning the ceiling fan on.
Not holding her in my arms.
Not going in to check on her because I didn’t want to wake her.
Not knowing what was happening in the very next room.
The bows I bought, waiting on her to wake up.
Things that got delivered after.
Goodnight kisses that end up being goodbye. Lullabies about going to Heaven. Wanting so desperately for her to find rest.
Telling her, she didn’t need to cry. That Mommy would always take care of her. Telling her how proud I was that she took a nap on her own as I went in to wake her.
The scream I made when I stepped into the light.
The comment I made when training for CPR that I could never imagine doing this to a baby.
Knowing I was breaking her ribs.
The noise she made when I begged her to take in my breath.
Grabbing her paci, thinking she would need it.
Leaving the hospital without her.
Being questioned about everything I did, in the middle of blaming myself.
Waking up to nurse her in the middle of the night. Thinking I hear her crying, going to check on her before I remember.
Calling her sisters by her name.
Carrying a doll for pictures. Balloons floating across the sky.
Not being able to save her.
A Mother’s Joy:
Quitting my job so I could stay home to raise her.
Every single picture taken.
All the kisses all over her tiny little body.
How it felt to run my fingers through her full head of hair.
Skin to skin.
The showers we took together.
A cross with “Bless This Baby” adorning the front of her door.
Holding her instead of putting her down.
The way she looked wearing her sisters’ clothes.
The way she looked with a bow in her hair.
The way she looked at me and smiled.
The way she always woke up happy.
Taking in the way she smelled. The way her breath felt on my neck—the weight of her on my chest.
Every single moment my arms were full. Every single moment I held all three of my girls.
Every single prayer.
Letting others hold her and know her.
Letting her sisters hold her and help.
Seeing how she was the perfect combination of both her sisters.
Named after her father.
Watching him hold her as she slept.
Pumping milk so he could feed her with a bottle.
Painting her feet for pottery in the shape of a heart.
One Mother’s Day.
Taking her to church.
Rocking her to sleep.
Singing her lullabies.
Tuesday’s and Thursday’s when it was just her and me. Moments to sit and soak her up.
Saturday’s and Sunday’s when we were all together. Where so many happy memories were made.
Neglecting the laundry and dishes to keep her in my arms.
Talking to her constantly about how much I loved her.
Being able to call her mine.
Being able to fight for something more than just existing.
Being able to share her part in our story.
Family and friends that picked me up off the ground.
People who say her name.
The unconditional shoulder of a husband to lean on.
My Savior drawing me near.
God guiding me to an unwavering peace that passes all understanding.
Being able to stop blaming myself.
Grace upon grace upon grace.
God bending down.
Feeling His tender mercies through the love and giggles of her sisters.
Feeling His tender mercies through strangers.
Glitter spread through acts of kindness.
Wildflowers growing through brokenness.
A love that knows no boundaries.
A love that has changed everything.
Knowing she was loved every single moment of her life. Knowing I will love her every day of mine.
Knowing where she is while we are apart.
Knowing I will see her again someday.
Knowing every bit of her. Even if only for seven weeks and one morning long.
Her always being a part of what fills my heart with greater joy.