I look at my son and I see my ex. I see his angled nose, his upturned lips, his furrowed brow. I see remnants of a face I once was so familiar with. A face that woke up along side me for 1431 days. A face I once loved. A face that saved me from a bad relationship and then itself turned into one. Not without my doing.
I look at my son and I’m flooded with memories of those days. The days I spent with someone constantly at my side. Through thick and thin. Through tears and laughter. Through the good times and bad. Through my most vulnerable moment when I brushed death’s hand to bring life into the world, when he fought to protect me and made it clear how much I was really loved. And I wonder if I’ll ever have that again.
I look at his little, sweet face and I know he will never know those days. They ended before his memory began. He will only know Mommy’s Home and Daddy’s Home. The transit between our two abodes; the moment of excitement when he sees a face he’s been missing for a handful of days. He will grow up without seeing the union of two in love.
I look at his innocent face and I wonder if I thought of myself more than I thought of him and I realize parenting and selflessness don’t always go hand-in-hand like they tell you they should. I acted for myself. I freed myself. I shut my heart to one reality, and opened it to the possibility of new realities.
No decision is without its thorns. When I’m schlepping numerous heavy bags, the stroller and my son up flights of stairs wondering how I manage, there’s a thorn. When he is gone, and I am alone in my empty home. There is another thorn. It digs deep into my soul reminding me of the company I once had, and how I pushed it away. It makes me wonder if I’ll ever have that kind of company again. To be able to latch onto it and not let it go. To not turn my back on it the next time round. To fight for what is worth fighting for. I fought a lot before, but I was on the wrong team: my own. I should’ve been on our team. I get it now.
I look at my son and I wonder if I’ll ever be able to give him the companionship of a sibling, like I knew growing up. I wonder if I will ever squeeze little baby legs again or if his will be the last my hands touch. I wonder if my body will ever swell extraordinarily with life again. I wonder. I hope. I wonder.
And then I remember: You don’t get to know how it’s going to turn out. You’ve gotta be brave, little girl. Open your heart. Keep it open. Dare to be hurt again. It might hurt like hell. There could be tears. Some day you could end up here again, in your empty home, sitting with your thoughts in solitude. But keep your heart open anyway. Because it was worth it. Because it was beautiful. Because it was.
And it can be again.