I watch my husband and my two living children, a son and a daughter, as they play in the water. This moment looks so much like the life I dreamed for myself (masks and distancing notwithstanding).
I wanted a husband, children, a house with a back yard. I have those things. We are comfortable and happy. From the outside looking in, what problems could we possibly have?
I have two, giggly, bright, adventurous, and sweet children to tuck into bed at night. But I don’t have my firstborn son.
I have a four-and-a-half-year-old who would correct me if I said anything else. He’s the first one-year-old, two-year-old, three-year-old, and four-year-old I ever had. But he wasn’t my first baby.
I have support, mementos, rituals, and coping mechanisms. But the grief still changes me.
I have friendships cultivated in the lowest moments of my life, and friends who stayed around through the dark. But I still feel alone.
I have guilt, pain, too much empathy, too little empathy, mood swings, and fear. But I know – I know – others have heavier burdens and less helping to carry.
I have two children drawing on the sidewalk with me. A boy and a girl. People often call us a “perfect family,” in that small-talky presumptive way they do. Almost.