Dark and warm, love hormones flowing, muted sounds of voices from the outside world- this was the home you knew beneath my heart for thirty-six weeks. Bright lights, constant beeping, forced air into your lungs- this was the home you knew for the six hours you lived apart from me. When I brought you to my chest, I hope it felt like home. But there is so much more to your home that I want to show you. Come see, Mabel, the world that was supposed to be yours- the “should be’s,” the “would-have-beens,” and the “is nows.”
The corner where the rocker should be, where I could sit in the wee hours of the night gazing at you while you nursed.
The back of the attic where your carseat is now tucked behind a mattress, hidden so I don’t cry thinking about how it sits unused.
The green grass of the backyard that would have stained the knees of your pants.
The rock wall that would have caught your chin as you stumbled, leaving a tiny scar.
The back path to the elementary school that you should be marching down, armed with your backpack and lunch box, so proud, so eager to learn.
The town pool, where you would have swam with your daddy and we’d have to pull you out shivering, with lips blue and smiling.
The playground down the street where you should be running to me in tears brought on by the cruel words of children who don’t understand the beauty in difference.
The pediatrician’s office we would have gotten to know so well, where the staff would smile and comment on just how charming you are.
The patch of grass, which is now matted down, at the cemetery where I sometimes bring a blanket so I can lie next to you.
This is your home and mine, my Mabel-stained home.