Here it is. The announcement that never came in the onesie that still did.
I remember scanning pages and pages of big brother onesies that fit newborns. Most ‘big brother’ shirts only come in t-shirt sizes. Most Moms only announce their second child after their first has had time to grow.
A black onesie – was it too dark? I decided I had plans to take Sam Bear outside, surround him in the autumn weather with bright colored leaves, sit him in a painted wooden chair, and find some way for him to be holding balloons, balloons in the shape of a rainbow to be exact.
It’s funny what I allowed myself to place my trust in for the two months I was pregnant with Lion and what I could not. Birth announcements, yes. Lion living, no. Polar opposites. It makes no sense. Grief makes no sense.
Last night I was walking by Sam’s room and noticed two balloons deflating and on his floor. My girlfriend Jenn left them for Sam at his grave. One said, “thinking of you” and the other “big brother” with the perfect elephant pictured in the center. I picked them up, put tiny holes in the side so I could throw them away and then stopped; I couldn’t.
I flattened the big brother balloon and placed it in Sam’s crib. I sat in his room alone and cried. I remember the day I packed his clothes and moved his dresser out of his room. It felt right. Now it feels like something’s missing. I know it’s not the dresser but I still can’t bring myself to touch his crib.
Ted laid on the floor and listened to my tears. When I was pregnant with Sam my brother and sister in law welcomed Rhett four months before his birth. This photo keeps flashing in my mind; me holding Rhett in my arms and Sam in my belly. Next week, we’ll be welcoming my sweetest niece, Vivienne, and I was confident I’d recreate it with Lion, but I won’t.
I saw two rainbow birth announcements today and one Facebook memory of the sweetest rainbow girl’s birth I had shared on Facebook a year ago today. I wrote that Mama then and said, “I celebrate with you in such a deep kind of love way.” And I meant it. I still do.
But I’ll never understand why I don’t get to have one with Lion. Why another year is leaving us with an even greater space in our empty arms.
My friend Sara posted to my Facebook last night a picture of a pregnant Mama elephant. Captioned in the photo was this:
An elephant and a dog became pregnant at same time. Three months down the line the dog gave birth to six puppies. Six months later the dog was pregnant again, and nine months on it gave birth to another dozen puppies. The pattern continued.
On the eighteenth month the dog approached the elephant questioning, “Are you sure that you are pregnant? We became pregnant on the same date, I have given birth three times to a dozen puppies and they are now grown to become big dogs, yet you are still pregnant. What’s going on?”.
The elephant replied, “There is something I want you to understand. What I am carrying is not a puppy but an elephant. I only give birth to one in two years. When my baby hits the ground, the earth feels it. When my baby crosses the road, human beings stop and watch in admiration, what I carry draws attention. So what I’m carrying is mighty and great.
Don’t lose faith when you see others receive answers to their prayers. ..Say to yourself “My time is coming, and when it hits the surface of the earth, people shall yield in admiration.”
I can’t write that my hope rests that one day we’ll deliver a living baby. I just can’t. So now, the desperate cry of my heart is that the earth continues to feel it, Sam and Lion’s presence, for their lives are mighty and great.