This morning, I decided to brave Hudson’s room.
I go in there from time to time, just for a few minutes. I pick up one or two items of clothing, open and close the closet door, stare at the words “She believed she could, so she did” on the very green walls.
But today, I really WENT IN THERE.
Two strollers, two car seats, and a swing clutter the room, so you kind of have to tip toe around things, but today, I moved things around so that I could sit in our rocker, look through her big pink bin of toys.
I squeezed the hand of the little red Valentine’s monkey that my mom bought for us, and it started to sing Pitbull’s “I Know You Want Me”. I laughed imagining our bright eyed baby lighting up and giggling to this very inappropriate song.
I read for the first time a few of the books we were given, and I allowed myself a few tears imagining what it would be like to read to our sweet girlie in that rocker.
I found the little pink box that Hudson’s aunties bought for her, filled with colorful flowered clips to put on her stretchy white headband. I had thought it was left at the hospital, and was so happy to see it.
I dug into the closet next, sifting through hanger after of hanger of tiny adorable outfits, organized from 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months. I realized she would have outgrown all of these outfits by now, and I mourned the fact she never got to wear the so so so cute little red white and blue bathing suit that Momma Sue bought for her.
Then I tackled the stack of blankets. Handmade quilts and hand-knitted blankets. Soft, store-bought blankets, some so ridiculously small I couldn’t even really think what they’d be for. I found the blanket that my Grandma (Great Grandma R) knit for the “next grandbaby” – wrapped in a pink and blue bow – and I thought I should probably give that to my brother and his wife now.
Then I moved to the dresser. I thought I was going for the shoe drawer, but it was actually the burp rag and bib drawer. I found the pink Boston Red Sox bib that we had bought during our babymoon to Boston, and I cried a little bit because these are some of the few things I personally bought for Hudson.
I did eventually make it to the shoe drawer, my favorite thing when I was pregnant. Tiny, pointless baby shoes. Little baby moccasins, pink baby Crocs, frilly gold Mary Janes. These shoes never made it on our daughter’s feet.
I read through every single one of the cards I got at my shower, and I cried a little more thinking of all the love I felt on that day, thinking about how loved Hudson was and still is.
I have two gifts from an old church member, beautifully wrapped, sitting on the changing table, unopened. I contemplated for the umpteenth time opening the gift now. I couldn’t bring myself to do it. Maybe on Hudson’s birthday. Someday.
I looked around this room and I thought about how ready we were to have a baby, how ready we are. I cried. I’m crying as I write this.
The Hubs came upstairs and found me on the floor, digging through the baby shoe drawer. I had been allowing a few silent tears to trickle down my cheeks, but something about the sight of my sweet husband at the door, taking in the scene and probably assessing what kind of damage control he needed to do, made me burst into the “randomly gasping for air” tears that later result in the hiccups.
“I’m having fun!” I tried to explain through my tearburst.
I was having fun. Taking in all those unused things, all those unworn baby shoes, all those outfits and all the love that went into preparing that room… It took me back to the fun of our pregnancy, this surprise, unexpected thing that changed my entire life. And it got me excited, really really REALLY excited, about having another baby, being pregnant again.
Having a baby is going to be so fun.
Being pregnant is going to be so fun!
I’ve somehow gotten to a place recently where “having a baby” is just another thing to cross off the to do list of our “moving on”. The idea of being pregnant again is just a stepping stone to the baby part. “Ugh, I’ve got to make it through 40 weeks of pregnancy before I have another baby.”
But looking around that room, pawing through those drawers, made me remember how freaking awesome it was to be pregnant, how good I was at being pregnant, how delightful those 41 weeks really were.
Looking at Hudson’s things reminded me that there was so much more love in her life than the three short days she lived outside of me. I’d been cherishing the mementos of Hudson’s life in Sacred Heart – the locks of hair, the Red Sox socks, the molds of her feet – all the while totally neglecting this room full of mementos of Hudson’s life when she lived inside of me.
The love affair with our daughter started so much sooner than July 11, and will last a lifetime.
And when we have another baby (oh my God, it’s going to be so so fun), Hudson’s things can become her siblings’ things, hand-me-downs from big sis, a legacy of love that made us a family.