The last time we visited Red Rocks National Monument, we were in mourning.
Two and a half years ago, my husband and I were reeling from a doctor’s appointment the week before as we were visiting my sister and brother-in-law in Las Vegas. At that appointment, we found out that the child-to-be I thought I was pregnant with had stopped developing. I was supposed to be ten weeks pregnant; the child-to-be’s heart seemed to have stopped at seven weeks. Rather than delaying our vacation, I chose to wait to get the D&C.
It was the right decision. We spent days taking in beautiful scenery and doing fun activities. We spent nights with family hugging and crying together.
Now we’re back. Since then, our in-laws have moved out West, our older son has turned four, and our younger son was born.
Occasionally, I wonder what our life would have been like if that doctor’s appointment turned out differently. We would have that that baby-to-be with us now, someone beautiful and sweet.
But instead, we have our younger son, our beautiful and sweet Little Bird. We have his giant smile, his giggle, his hilarious obsession with all things ball-shaped, his howler-monkey shriek of joy. As I’ve never wanted to have more than two children, we wouldn’t have had him if the pregnancy hadn’t failed. And I simply can’t imagine not having Little Bird in our lives.
I don’t believe everything turns out the way it is supposed to. As Anne Lamott says, “God gives us more than we can handle. That’s a crock. God never said that.” Similarly, I would never deny another person grief for children they never had.
But for me, my love for this child now, in my arms, overshadows any grief that I carry in my heart. There’s always a quiet “what if?” but now there’s also a loud and joyous “what’s next?”
Back then, we were where we needed to be. In a beautiful place with people who love us. And once again, we’re exactly where we need to be, in every sense of the word.