I started writing this days ago, and meant to publish on her birthday, but I couldn’t finish it. I can’t imagine why it felt so much harder this year.
Happy third birthday, sweetheart. It’s hard to believe you would have been such a big girl by now. Time keeps passing, but you’re still just a baby. It’s so wrong and heartbreaking that you don’t get to grow up. What would you be doing now? Would you be an outgoing little chatterbox? That’s how I imagine you. I see you as a little adventurer. You would have loved to go exploring with William, I think. He loves to be outside, and he’s not afraid of anything. You two would have scared me during your explorations. You would have loved your little brothers. I have two little brothers too, and although we fought a lot growing up, I love them very much. Would you have been a daddy’s girl? I suspect so. You had your daddy wrapped around your tiny finger from the moment he first saw you.
As we enter the season of your life, I feel like I’m in limbo. For these next two months, my mind will flit back and forth between two alternate realities – the one we live in now, without you, and one where you are alive. Every day, I look at pictures of you from that day and try to remember what we were doing. Easter – the day you had to have steroids, and we missed Easter dinner with a nice family who’d invited us over because I couldn’t stop crying. Every memory I have with you is a memory that I cherish, but so many of them are sad or scary. I try to focus on the others: May 3, the day I first held you, my beautiful girl. April 18, the day we first got to take down the walls of the isolette and give you kisses and nuzzle your neck. April 19, the day you looked at me and I knew you saw me, and I knew that I would die for you.
A month ago, you got a new little brother, Andrew. Maybe you already knew him. Maybe you chose him to be your little brother, because you knew he’d be the perfect fit for our family. If so, you were right, he is the perfect fit. Sometimes he looks just like William, but somehow he reminds me more of you. While I was pregnant with Andrew, I couldn’t think about you the way I wanted to. When the memories got hard and I cried, I got really sick and my contractions got out of hand. So, to protect Andrew, I had to stop thinking about you so much. It felt like a betrayal, and I’m sorry. After Andrew was born, it all came crashing down, and I’ve done a lot of crying. It seems strange to cry so much at such a happy time, but Spring will always be bittersweet for me. When I see the grass greening and the wildflowers blooming, I think of you. The daffodils remind me of your short bright life. When the magnolias start to bloom, I’ll know we’re nearing the end, and my heart will break all over again.
Lucy, your mommy and daddy and brothers have a beautiful life together, but we’ll always miss you. Now that we have Andrew, I keep thinking that maybe if we have a girl, our family will feel complete. Then I realize that our family will never ever feel complete without you. We’ll just do our best to keep you with us, and hope that it will be enough. Darling girl, your light and beauty changed us forever.
For your birthday, we took William and Andrew for a picnic in the mountains, like we wanted to do with you. When we came home, we had Matilda cake and sang happy birthday. William sings “happy to LeeLee,” which is very cute.
The last picture of happy, hopeful times with Lucy:
Loving and missing you, baby girl.