honestly, i don’t even know if they were brothers. or boys, for that matter. they very well could’ve been all girls. but likely, they were a mix of sister and brothers,… after you lose as many as i did, chances are that 50% were probably girls and 50% were boys, right? because,… odds. but i’ve always dreamed i’d be a mom of boys, and for this reason i told him he had brothers.
i always dreamed i’d be a mom of boys. #momofboys was to be my forever hashtag. i envied every single one of the women who added it to their shocking-yet-hilarious facebook posts of boys doing stupid crap. i knew what i would do: i, too, would post it proudly at the end of every single one of my IG perfectly-filtered posts of my two sweet tiny “men” loving on each other, or maybe wrestling in the yard, or standing awkwardly in matching little league jerseys. i’d be able to join that elite club of moms who wear lululemon activewear 24/7 at the baseball fields, while they scratch their heads marvelling at these crazy humans. i would easily fit in, throwing out comments like “i know right? i can’t keep these two from killing each other!” and then laugh that perfect “i’m just kidding, they are angels” laugh. while i silently wanted to down a box of wine, yes, a box, and hide in a corner.
i always dreamed i’d be a mom of boys. i pictured the early months where my older one would lovingly gaze at the baby in my arms, doting on him and wanting to be my helper… my big boy. i envisioned myself chasing them all over the house, in one hand a bottle of 409 and a rag, and the other perhaps legos left on the stairwell needing a home, or some half-eaten snack discovered hiding behind a chair. i would have to wrangle them to stand still for the christmas photos, annoyed the entire time because we can’t get the f*cking shot, but later on that night chuckle to myself with a full heart at the comedic scenes that unfolded earlier. a full heart who’s only problem that day was too many tiny humans needed extra love and hugs in that moment.
i always dreamed. that is the take home message. i dared to dream. dreams are important, they are extensions of your heart, your psyche. representations of your deepest desires. you should have dreams, it’s healthy to dream. as a 20-something and even early-30-something you believe your dreams are absolutely within your grasp. this is your prime time, these are your years to find yourself, find a partner, and find a purpose in life. many women dream of having children. it’s innate: i am woman, i make the babies. we are born to create life and carry it. but we aren’t prepared, at any age really, to hear that we are broken. i wasn’t ready to hear it. and then hear it again. and again. there is no manual, no self-help book, no script to follow when you learn firsthand, that your body is more likely to kill your babies than nurture them.
there is no lesson in life harder to learn, than losing your own child.
i always dreamed i’d be a mom. and with that, a mom of more than 1 child. my dreams actually did come true – i am a mom of more than 1 child. seven children, to be exact. but only 1 that lives and breathes today. i never thought i’d be the mom i am today. the one who doesn’t talk about her other children. do you know how hard it is to answer the question “how many children do you have?” or “is he the only one?” … you don’t go “there.” you don’t freely open the jagged raw discourse of miscarriages and emergent surgeries. it happened the other day at his after-school program. the director was telling me how much she enjoyed having him and his funny personality (cue proud mom moment) and followed it up with “will you guys have another?”. you never go “there” with people, they aren’t buying tickets for your crazy train. so you smile politely and say “no, he’s all we ever wanted.” which is true, he is everything we hoped and prayed for. i don’t talk about my children that died. i write about them, sure. i try to honor them in whatever way i can. but i actively avoid leading any conversation with “let me tell you about my miscarriages”. that’ll ruin a good time, every time. i keep them locked away in a necklace, next to my heart.
i never thought there was the right time to open up pandora’s f*cked up box of pain. and then i told him about his brothers.
it was so natural, the way it came out. i had no intention of telling him at this age (5)… he’s too young. he probably was/is. i’m sure i’ll regret it somewhere down the road. but his question was the same one he’d asked a million times over and i’d always put it off, or distracted him so as not to have to answer it. it’d be bedtime, and we would be laying in his bed, cuddling. the conversation light, maybe talking about the events of the day (what happened at karate, who went on time-out today at school, because allll the kids know who went on time-out), or what lie ahead of us in the coming day. i’d stroke his face lightly, and sing to him gentle lullabies. his hand would reach for the locket around my neck, and he would hold it between his little fingers, bring it close to his face and inspect its contents.
over and over he’d ask me what’s inside the necklace. over and over i’d tell him “your brothers”. i never could lie to him about this, i wouldn’t deny their existence, especially not to him. they were real. whether they took a breath or not, they lived… they existed. to me, to us at least.
3/14/2012 (my rainbow baby)
he’d ask why his brothers were around my neck to which i’d always reply “it’s how i can keep them close to my heart.” cue tears on three… two… one… there is no rulebook for this. usually he’d be satisfied with that and we’d go back to singing, or cuddling. tears would stream from my face like rivers, but i’d manage to keep them hidden from him. i’d kiss him goodnight, he’d nod off and hours later i would cry myself to sleep. i never shied away from telling him he had brothers. i just wasn’t forthcoming about where they went.
but not this night… on this night he was not satisfied. “why are they in the necklace and not here with me? i wish they were here with me.” and he looked up at me with these big brown eyes, eyes that pleaded with me to make a miracle happen. to somehow produce a sibling out of thin air. he’s asked for a baby brother or baby sister a hundred times over. but this time was different. choking back tears i decided in that moment to tell him, it just felt “right” when it never, ever, feels right.
“your brothers were too tiny to live with us, i loved them so much but God wanted them to be with Him instead.”
the big eyes only got bigger, i could see his mind racing. “my brothers died?”
shit. should i have said that? i can’t take it back now. i nodded. and followed it up with “dad and i prayed so hard for you, we wanted you so badly and God answered our prayers.”
“i wish i had a tiny little baby brother, but it’s okay. you and dad wanted me real bad and God gave me to you. He wanted my brothers with him so he could love them. He and Tía Angie can take care of my brothers.” dagger meet heart.
oh sweet boy, you are wise beyond your years.
“yes sweetheart, Tía Angie is up in heaven playing with your brothers.”
dear God, if you’re listening, and you too Angie… please give them all a big hug for me right now. and please give me the strength to bear this. this mom of boy can only take so much right now, and i don’t dare tell him his wish will never come true.