A little over two years ago, we learned that the baby I was carrying was a boy! The next day later my sweet friend Jodi brought in the cutest boy outfit. Our first item of clothing for the little guy. Today was the first day that outfit finally got worn. And as I dressed Finley and was thankful he got to chance to wear this outfit with the cute little monkey, I also remembered receiving that as a gift to celebrate a different baby who we thought would get to wear it. I couldn't help but think about how many moments like this are bittersweet. A reminder of what we have lost and a reminder of what we have gained.
I mentioned recently how each milestone Finley hits is bittersweet. It's sweet to see him growing and developing, but bitter to see the time passing so quickly, but the truth is that for me the bitterness doesn't end there. I also miss seeing Cale hit these stages. These milestones he never got the chance to reach. I miss what should have been. Do I sound like a broken record? I know I do. I just can't and won't ever stop missing that baby and wishing so badly that he was here with us all.
There is a woman at work who is going to replace me at my job (because I am almost done!) and until recently, she didn't know about Cale. He just never came up in conversation, but we've been working together for a few weeks now. So it bothered me because I knew she assumed that Finley was my only child. Last week when talking with her I just said, "I want you to know, because it's just important to me as a mother, that I have another son who passed away. You met Finley the other day and it got me thinking about how rightfully so you'd assume he was my only child, but we had another" - I just explained that I don't feel right letting people assume that I only have one child, especially if it's someone that I work with on a regular basis. She thanked me for sharing that with her and I left feeling a little better. But only a little better. Because sometimes the pride I have for acknowledging Cale is tempered by the tremendous sadness I feel when I can only acknowledge him as a child in the past, a baby who died. It's gotten easier. That's for sure. But it still sucks.
Brooke's post today spoke to these same feelings. Losing Cale will never be okay. It was awful and painful and unfair and the sadness I feel as a result will never leave. How can it? The same smart Brooke also mentioned once to me (in a blog? comment? I don't remember, but it stuck with me) that we'd all be a lot healthier if we could acknowledge our pain just as we do our happiness. And sometimes it happens naturally. Like when I miss Cale when celebrating Finley's milestone. But sometimes Cale deserves his own moments. Moments where I can just acknowledge that I still miss my baby. Plain and simple, I miss him. And Finley deserves the same - his own moments. His times to be celebrated and adored without any strings attached. Sure, I'm so thankful to have him because we lost Cale, but I'm thankful to have him regardless of Cale as well.
Yesterday was my birthday. It also happened to be the Super Bowl, but as my mom pointed out, the whole country was really celebrating me! Miles asked me what I want to accomplish before my next birthday or where I want my life to be this time next year. And really I couldn't think of an answer. Sure I have little goals I want to accomplish, but I hope it's about the same next year as it is this year. I hope that I'm the same emotional mess over how quickly Finley has grown up. And I hope that I still miss Cale just as much because I never want that to diminish. I think I have come to a healthy point in my grief where I'm able to walk through life and enjoy things and I want to enjoy them and I hope I can say the same is true next year. Although maybe Finley can slow down just a little bit. . . .