I see your glance sometimes. When the conversation in our mom group turns to how many children we have, or how many we want, or don't want. When the moms of new kindergartners share the emotion of sending their baby off to school. When we share stories of labor and delivery, and I share my two and then fall silent.
Maybe I finger my bird's nest necklace with beads in it for my babies - all of them. Or maybe I just give a little smile, with part of me participating in the conversation and part of me in another world, the one where most of my babies live.
Maybe you think about saying something later, but there's that fear again of an uncomfortable moment. Anyway, the moment has passed, and we are back to talking about this new movie and that new must-have toy for Christmas, and if I'm doing okay, like I seem to be, well, you don't want to ruin the moment by reminding me about my losses.
Don't worry, you won't.
Because I remember every single day.
I remember when August comes, or June, or February, or May, when they would have been born, and when they turn, in my mind, one year older.
I remember when March comes, or November, or May, or August, when we said good-bye to them.
I remember when the seasons change.
I remember on the birthdays of my living children.
I remember at the dinner table every night when we set only four places.
I remember when I look at Naomi's shadowbox in our living room.
I remember whenever I see a family with more than two children, and I wonder what it would have been like to have more children than I have hands.
I remember on the holidays.
I remember every day.
Remembering doesn't mean I am sad every day. It doesn't mean I am stuck in my grief. It doesn't mean I am not living life, not appreciating the blessings I have, or not moving ahead or trusting God. It doesn't mean that I am not living a happy, even a joyful, life.
It just means that I remember my children, because I love them, and I miss them, and I will always wonder what and who they might have been. And that the passing of time does not diminish that love.
And if you mention them to me, with a note or just a comment that you thought of them, too, it's okay. More than okay.
I promise, you won't be reminding me that they died.
But you will let me know that someone else remembers that they lived.
And that is one of the most precious gifts you could ever give.