Over a decade ago, I fired up a wordpress site to capture the musings and misadventures of our first pregnancy. The name, whimsical. The URL, never intended for the depth of the content that would end up living here.
It was for fun.
I never knew how much the words I would capture here would end up meaning to me… it was unfathomable, over ten years ago, that these words would be some of the only things I have left of our daughter today.
I got up early to run a 5K, because that’s what you do with four kids. You just make it work.
And on my run, I thought. I thought about what an entire decade without our baby has been like.
I ran past the school I will never drop her off at. I ran listening to songs that I am CONFIDENT she would have loved as much as her mama does. I ran, and noticed little white butterflies fluttering by.
I ran past a cemetery, and thought of the many ended lives were memorialized there… lives that were complete, and many that were not. Lives that were full, and many that were not, and such a mishmash in between. I thought of these lives as I slogged past, and I wondered how many of the people buried there might have tolerated less if they’d known how long they had left.
I thought about my friend’s daughter who is buried there, whose death at just 12 years old is still take-my-breath-away tragic to me (and I’m certain to so many others), a series of inconsequentials that added up to a deadly fall.
“What if it had rained that day?”
I thought how unfair life can be, and how strong we can be despite it all.
I ran harder downhill, trying to make up a little time and in a bit of a rush to get home to my baby who would undoubtedly be waking up any minute, hungry and looking for her mama.
I ran my hardest the last half mile, because we keep more in our tanks than we realize most of the time.
I ran off the two generous helpings of Disney Castle-shaped birthday cake I ate yesterday.
We have a cake, but no birthday girl to blow out the candles.
As I ran, I thought of the wonder of life, and I wondered what Hudson at 10 would be like. I never have a realistic comparison to make, because I only have my own 8 year old, and other people’s 10 year olds simply don’t compare.
What Disney princess would have been her favorite? Or would she have preferred monster trucks and dinosaurs?
Would she hold still for Mama to braid her hair, or prefer it wild like her sisters?
Would she want to be a doctor, a teacher, an actress?
Would she play sports, piano, or both?
How I wonder what you are.
Hudson-at-10 in my imagination is a melding of all the best and some of the worst parts of her siblings, but as any parent knows, a certain tendency or predisposition in one child is no promise of the same in the next. The kids asked me what color her eyes were and I frankly don’t remember… were they blue? My honest, albeit sad, answer was that she never opened her eyes in her lifetime on earth. Maddox responded definitively, “She did. I saw them. They were brown like yours, Mama.”
If I live ’til I’m 102, I just don’t think I’ll ever get over you.
I ran home to my family. When I left for my run, I caught a glimpse of the Blue Mountains in the distance and they were moody and blue. As I neared the corner to turn back into my neighborhood, those same Blue Mountains were bathed in light, golden and brilliantly lit against a still-moody backdrop.
If mountains can change so much in a mere 30 minute run, how much could the world have changed with 30 more minutes of Hudson?
I sprinted to finish the last 3/4 mile, because I wanted to feel my heart pumping and because I have the privilege of a beating heart.
A brief stretch, and I walked into the home we have built, a little salty but not from my tears. Two of the four children I get to watch grow up were awake, waiting for me. My strong, stoic husband as well.
“I thought you had left me,” Maddox said, big sorta fake sad eyes boring into mine as I walked back into the house.
“I would never do that on purpose,” I responded, and held my so-strong red head in my arms with a flicker of a thought.
“I would never do that on purpose.”
I thought about future conversations with our oldest child in heaven. How much she may have processed of the life she missed out on here on earth, I don’t know. God, the Universe, whomever, they don’t go out of their way to clarify how too-short lives get coached through the disconnect between what should be and what is while they wait to be reunited with the Ones Who Carry On Down Here.
But I imagine if we were having an eye-to-eye conversation, Hudson would throw her strong arms around me, her red hair flowing over my shoulder, and then she’d grab my face and look me in the eyes and state firmly:
“I would never leave you on purpose.”
On the day my oldest daughter should be ten, I came home from an early morning run and I relished the many things I get to do with our four living children that I never got to do with Hudson.
We did birthday things, because if we had a 10-year-old today we most certainly would have indulged in bear pancakes, gone to the pool, cuddled on pillow beds watching a Planet Earth show.
We had fun. Hudson, while I can’t imagine precisely what she would have been like, would without question have been fun. She’d have been unbridled joy and calculated whining and perfect timing and surprise vocabulary and violent presence and beauty unawares. It would have a brilliant whirlwind, these past ten years with Hudson.
And they were, even without her.
It may seem like a stretch but it’s thoughts like this that catch my troubled head when you’re away and I am missing you to death.