Most of the time I remember that Ryann is gone. I know I'll never catch her reading in a corner of her room or chasing the cats into the closet. Most of the time I remember that it's just Jared and me now. Once in a while I'll catch myself reaching down for a little hand or turning to check on a small passenger. And then I remember that she's not there.
I used to have such a hard time dropping her off with her babysitter for the afternoon. Leaving her always felt like there was a rubberband stretching, stretching, pulling me back. The rubberband is still there and still pulling, but there's nothing on the other side. It's disorienting and breathtaking. When I find myself looking around for her I feel it snap back and I gasp.
The strongest thing I remember of those first few weeks was the overwhelming sense that my arms were empty. I could literally feel the wriggly little body. Feel her weight settled on my hip, my arm snugged under her, her hand on my shoulder. But there was nothing there. No little fingers grabbing my nose. No soft cheek rubbing against mine. Gone. It was suffocating.
I feel a constant pull forward to our other children we hope to have. To feel the incredible little life in my arms again. But a part of me is so scared that instead of embracing the lives to come, the me who is Ryann's-Mommy will only be able to be bitter and jealous of the me who is Again-a-Mommy.
It hurts to know that there will be people who will know and love the rest of my family, but who will never be able to know and love the first set of chubby little arms I will always feel. So we tell stories and remember and share the baby girl who will always be our firstborn.
|On moving day with Auntie Rachel|
|A champion wiggle-worm|
|Content in eachothers arms|