Today I saw my cousin's daughter, Baby Anna. Oh my, what a beautiful child. She is just so adorable, with her big blue eyes. The first time I saw her after Gabriella died was on Christmas, 2 days after the funeral. Anna is only 4 months old, so at the time she was 3 months old. I thought Anna and Gabriella would grow up together, just as Dominic and my other cousins son Ryan would. (Dominic and Ryan are only 4 months apart too.) There was a point on Christmas that I offered to hold Anna for my cousin. I sat in my aunt's formal living room. It was just me and her. I held her and rocked her gently. I looked at her, and over and over again as she slept I reminded myself, 'this is Anna.' I felt good holding her. No one came in to the living room during our time together. It was so quiet and peaceful. At the time I didn't think about what it would be like if I was doing the same thing with Gabriella.
Today I again had the opportunity to hold Anna. Oh how I loved it. She is so precious. Today I missed Gabriella. Anna and Gabriella will not grow up together. Anna will grow up to be a strong, beautiful woman and Gabriella will not. God willing, my cousin will be blessed to watch her grow from a baby, into a little girl, to a young lady and into a woman. She will be able to wipe her tears as she has her first heartbreak, share the joy of her being accepted into the school of her choice, and one day watch her walk down the aisle at her wedding. She probably will even one day hold Anna's child with the pride of a grandmother. I will not be afforded such opportunities. I will never have any of those experiences. She will always be a baby and I will never know what she would have looked like all grown up, or know what kind of a woman she would have been. I am so sad for all the memories I am going to be cheated out of. So today I am sad, my heart is heavy and my soul aches. One day I know I will be able to hold my baby again. One day... but, I have the pain of knowing it is not today.
Recently, before we lost Gabriella, my husband and I were sitting in our den, playing with our son. I was lost in the moment, when I looked up and saw my husband started to cry. I couldn't imagine why he would be crying. His tears were gently rolling down his face, and he wasn't making a sound. I of course asked, "why are you crying?" He told me he was crying because Dominic was growing up so fast and that he wished he could stay small. Only lord knows why I answered him the way I did. I looked at him and wiped his tears away. I said to him, 'don't you say that. Don't ever wish that again. If he is growing up that means he is doing something right, that means we are doing something right. Some people don't get to see their children grow up. We are lucky.' How strange. How strange I would have said that to him. This wasn't long ago, maybe little more than a month ago, maybe two. We are now in the very situation I was referring to. Our child would not grow up. We will not have the pleasure of watching her grow. I wonder if I will create my own memories of her as the years go on. Imagine what she would have been like or what she would have liked. What her favorite color would be, her favorite cartoon, her favorite drink. Would she be funny or serious? Would she prefer her hair long or short? Would she be a girly, girl or a tom boy? So many things I will never know about my own child. How will I know her when I meet her again?
Sometimes counting our blessings can be hard. Sometimes things are so difficult in this world and day to day life can seem overwhelming. But, we owe it to ourselves and to those who aren't as blessed as we are to count our blessings; every single one, even the smallest ones. Because it is in the smallest moments of our lives that we could just let them pass us by if we aren't paying attention. Open your eyes, pay attention and start counting, don't let them pass you by, don't take them for granted. Embrace them, cherish them and enjoy them.