I am surrounded by giggles, squeals, coos, crying and sometimes screaming. I am surrounded by little girls. Little girl smiles, little girl sounds and little girl smells. I am a mom to two little girls.
I brush hair, pull pigtails out of thin air, play with princesses, and gently smooth coconut oil on my sweet smelling girls. My days are full of one little girl calling my name, following me around, endlessly asking me to play people or "watch this!" She asks for snuggles one minute and demands a pink sucker the next. Her hair smells like grown-up, big girl shampoo, and it seems to get longer and prettier each day. I spend my days with a tiny baby girl wrapped up next to my chest. She coos and sighs and smiles up at me. She cries and whines, searching for milk and even more snuggles. Her soft cries wake me up in the middle of the night, and I struggle to keep my eyes open while feeding and shushing and cajoling her back to sleep.
I am a mom to two little girls. I smell like coconut oil, milk, spit up, and sweet lavender lotion. I have a spare pink bow in my coat pocket, and a million tiny elastic bands in my purse. There are princesses, cinderella dresses big and small, and some superheroes thrown in for good measure.
Five years ago, in a quiet, invisible sort of way, I was a mom too.
I did not smell of spit up or diaper cream. I did not have a crib at the foot of our bed or a diaper pad in the middle of the living room floor. There were no toys scattered around our home, no little boy clothes in the laundry... no little boy sounds... no coos, no squeals, no cries.
Our home was quiet, and our hearts were broken.
Five years later, I am a mom to two little girls, and a little boy. Our home is not quiet, yet our hearts still feel the brokenness of his absence. That is something no amount of noise or joy or business or years can affect. This year he would be a kindergartner, a big boy with no time for snuggles or rest. I can't teach him to tie his shoes or learn to read. I don't have grass stains to wash out of his jeans or five million G.I. Joes to pick up off the floor.
Our house is busy and our days are full and loud... but there is a gap, a silence, where a five year old boy should be.
I don't write this way to gain sympathy or pity. I write about him, about the heaviness and reality of his absence because he matters. Because he's always a part of our family, and his absence will always be felt.
I am a mom. I am his mom too.