What If It’s a Beginning?

5:52 a.m. | I’ve spent so much time lately, sitting in the darkness, wondering what our life will be like if we’re thrown into abyss again. What if it happens again? What if something is wrong and I don’t know it? What if he runs ahead too? 

I’ve said over and over how hard it is for me to ask myself questions that begin with “what if” and end with ideas about what my son’s life could be if he gets to stay. 

For the sake of trying to relax enough to go back to sleep (it’s been two hours now), I’ll play the game of imagining. 

The one thing I try to picture, over and over and over, is all of us bundling up in winter coats—Eliza and Eleanora Bear are also in this vision—getting into the car, and driving around to look at the last few homes that still have their Christmas lights up. Daniel has to help all of us in: I’ve just had a c-section, both the baby and Eleanora Bear are too heavy for me to lift, and Eliza simply refuses to get into the car without being carried like the queen she is. It takes an effort to get all of us settled, but it makes us laugh. I imagine that we stop at Starbucks for hot chocolate, and Daniel and I have Eleanora’s name on our cups. She keeps us warm. 

What if I let myself imagine all of it? What if we actually get to do it? What if I get to put the little reindeer hat that’s waiting for him onto his tiny head, and zip him up in a ridiculously puffy and cozy outfit, and watch him sleep next to me in the backseat while I marvel at him, and at my wonderful husband who is so deserving of every happy moment, and at the lights? What if he misses every single second of it, and I just don’t care because he’s HERE? What if we all laugh? What if I get to feel all five of his tiny fingers curl around one of mine? 

What if we get just the perfect amount of snow and all the world feels quiet to me again, the way I’ve longed for since the day we lost her? What if Daniel looks at me in the rearview mirror and smiles because we actually made it? What if we get to bring the baby back home and just hold him and hold him and hold him in the living room while we have a fire in the fireplace and an old Christmas movie playing quietly on the tv? What if we get to tuck him into bed that night and watch his little face as he dreams? 

What if he makes it here and all these moments that look so small but are actually monumental get to be ours? What if we really get to be that lucky this time? What if we get to wake up the next morning and actually TELL our son, “Good morning, precious boy”? What if I get to hold my son on my hip while Daniel brews the coffee and we watch the snow fall outside our bedroom window? What if he looks at me and smiles? What if I see so much of his sister in him that I can’t help but smile? What if my heart melts into a puddle on the floor instead of shattering into more pieces? What if we get to say our son’s name, out loud, over and over and over all day long, just because we can? Just because he’s here? 

What if we make it the next eight weeks and everything turns out okay? What if I walk into the operating room with a baby in my belly and get wheeled out with him breathing in my arms? What if I get to leave with him this time? What if the end of this year isn’t really another ending, but a beginning? 

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