We are off to our traditional Thanksgiving celebration later today and I have mixed feelings. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday- food, drink, family. But now, like every holiday, I face the day with a little cloud over my head. The holiday has gotten easier after I lost Mabel- every year I still feel her absence but I can carry it with me and still enjoy the time with family. This year I anticipate things to be a bit harder. There are some new babies in the family who will be joining us. I know I have come a long way- I have Felix to fill my arms; I have returned to work caring rather effortlessly for pregnant women and new moms; I am able to really see those babies born at the same time as Mabel as real adorable little people and not simply triggers.
The babies. I know today I will see lots of cooing and holding warm wriggly little humans, outpourings of love from family. All so very deserved. I think I can safely say I truly understand how precious little babies are. I have taken that into my heart in an even greater way after having Felix. Understanding what a gift it is to have a living breathing child to hold and watch grow up. Watching Felix grow from a baby to a toddler occasionally reminds me all that I missed with Mabel. For the most part, I am so very grateful. Grateful to have the opportunity to parent a living child. But I am also still sad- sad to have missed that opportunity with Mabel.
Since Mabel will be my forever baby- my memories of her as a five pound chunker curled on my chest-newer babies can be a reminder of her. Reminder that she did not come to Thanksgiving, that most of my family never even met her, that she might not seem as real to them as Felix or any new baby entering the family.
I tried to go through some of Felix’s old clothes to bring down to one of these babies- as Felix was gifted many hand me downs. It was a struggle to part with any of them. I pulled out some- ones that I know had been hand me downs- but most I couldn’t bear to let go of. Going through the clothes I grew super emotional, realizing how lucky I was to have had a baby to fit in them- holding up newborn, then 0-3 month, then 3-6 month outfits. The ache was so strong for my other baby that only wore two outfits ever. So I pulled out a few onesies- most of the clothes were the wrong season/size anyways- and that’s what I’ll bring. I hope they understand why I can’t be more generous. I need to hold on to the rest- they are a reminder of Mabel, a symbol of how grateful I am to have Felix and a beacon of hope that someday, if I would ever be so lucky again, I might have another baby to wear them.
In the meantime, I pack up the cheesecake, mac n cheese, some eggnog and a few onesie hand me downs in anticipation of our family gathering. My ears have tiny carrot earrings and my feet have my carrot socks. I’m wearing a sweater- one that my husband dislikes for its gaudiness- one with Olaf the snowman from Frozen decked in sequins. But his carrot nose is a tribute, literally close to my heart. I am adorned with my Mabel armor, so that my forever baby can join us this Thanksgiving.