Dear Sweet Zoë and Lennox,
Today is your official due date. It’s the date your daddy and I circled on all of our calendars even though we knew the likelihood of your putting in an appearance well in advance of today. It still gave us a concrete goal to look forward to. I liked the idea that you might have your birthday in the same week as your grandma and your aunt. That it would be spring.
Then, when you arrived so much earlier, that date circled on the calendar took on a whole new meaning. It became the date when you would most likely be able to finally come home. It would be the time we’d say goodbye to the nurses and the doctors of the NICU and leave all those bright lights and loud noises behind to come home and be all together. April 23 seemed so far away in January. I drew a bigger, brighter circle around the day, I erased the countdown of weeks left in my pregnancy and added in a countdown of weeks until Lennox and Zoë came home. Those calendars are packed away now, in a box full of other memories and reminders of hopes and dreams.
I wonder all the time how things would be different. These past few days, I’ve done a lot of wondering. How big would you be? Would you both have hair now? Would it be dark brown like mama’s or more reddish-brown like daddy’s? I have no doubt that your eyes would be brown. Would Zoë’s toes still be funny, like mine? Would Lennox still have that serious, wise look? Would you like to be held lots?
I stand in a small room with lavender walls and white trim. I painted that room for you before I was even pregnant. I knew when we built the house that that room would be a nursery someday and when we painted it last spring, I went ahead and painted it the right color. I hadn’t made up my mind on how to decorate it yet. For a long time, I’d planned using “Where the Wild Things Are” as my theme. It’s one of my favorite stories and many years ago, your daddy bought me a collection of figures of all the wild things and Max, dancing in their wild rumpus that I would have put on the shelf and I’d thought about making some paintings from the book as well. Sometimes, though, I thought I’d just do something simpler, like stripes and dots. After all, I don’t think the two of you would have cared one way or the other. I’d picked out the furniture for your nursery years earlier as well. That’s how I got myself through all those failed attempts…I’d pour over websites and catalogs, making lists, picking out exactly what I wanted for you, when you finally came along. I spent those two weeks in the hospital, mentally placing two cribs, a changing table, a bookshelf, and a rocking chair in that small room, trying to figure out exactly where it all could go. But now, that small lavender room has a sewing table by the window that looks out over the rose bushes. There’s a desk with a shelf that is filled with my bins of watercolor tubes and brushes, pads of paper, rolls of quilt batting, pages and pages of quilt patterns. There’s a stack of storage boxes, things we couldn’t find a place for immediately so we stuck them in this room. I find it hard to be in here now. Before, I sat at my sewing table and worked on my quilts thinking about how, before long, I’d put the sewing machine on the shelf in the closet, take the table apart and put it in the garage, and instead of sitting by the window making quilts to give to other people, I’d be sitting in a rocking chair with you looking out at the pink roses, watching the bunny wiggle under the fence, while the clothes line spun with your diapers and t-shirts. Now, if I have to sew, I make Shannon carry my machine to the kitchen table. I don’t spend much time in the little lavender room. It just doesn’t feel right now. There were supposed to be two white cribs in here. There were two little organic cotton chicken rattles and a turtle and a bunny. There should have been a changing table with its shelves stacked with the cotton diapers. Two hand-knit blankets were supposed to be there, ready to wrap around you, instead of being wrapped in tissue and carefully packed away.
I miss you both so very, very much. Not a day, not an hour goes by that I don’t think of you. I wish you were coming home today. It is exactly the sort of day I imagined bringing you both home on. The irises are all blooming, and they smell so good. It’s nice enough that we just open the windows in the house and the breeze makes the sheer curtains billow. We have two swallows that swoop down over the flower bed at sundown, catching bugs. This is the first spring we’ve had any birds like that. The backyard is full of ladybugs and I’ve started seeing butterflies…little yellow ones, beautiful blue ones…all over. Soon, we’ll have hummingbirds. The sky is clear blue and the air just feels good. This is what I dreamt of. Pulling into the driveway on a day just like this, and bringing Sweet Zoë and Lennox home. Spending hour after hour, lying on our bed with the two of you.
I thought today would be a beginning.