So I’ve taken a little time away from the digital world, traveling to see my girlfriend who had a baby a while back: the cutest, happiest, most loved little nine month old on the planet. She is seriously why people have more and more babies. Her smiles, even when coughing from a cold, are enough to brighten up anyone’s day, hour, minute. All stress and trouble melt away when you hear her laugh or babble in her baby talk which sounds like: HAIAIIIIAIIIIIIII and HOOOOOOOOOO, EEEEEEEEEEEE, OOOOOOOOOOO.
Oh, how I miss the land of the infant. How much I adore this burbling, happy, watchful, observant, cute little girl, I cannot measure. The rocking and rolling on hands and knees as she attempts to crawl, the face plant or butt plant when suddenly losing her balance and the surprise giggling that ensues, the way her smile when she sees you completely engulfs her face into a toothless grin. How much I enjoy her miracle self and the joy she brings to her mom and dad, and how surprised at the level of internal grief it triggered within.
On the plane ride home, I dissolved into tears, when watching a movie and the protagonist told her love, “I forgot what it felt like to be a family, I forgot!” She is overcome with fear and grief and loss, and I know exactly how that feels. I lost parents when I was young (given up for adoption as an infant, to a loving and complicated family, and then I lost my father and stepfathers along the way), I know loss like the back of my hand. But what was making me cry, and something that I will recognize here is: I am grieving for the loss of “my family.”
No, this doesn’t excuse the terrible behavior that happened. No, this doesn’t mean I do not love and care and cherish my “new life” that includes my husband and children. I just…simply for a little while…was sad that I “lost” my family, that dream, the one I worked so hard to build, the one that included a mom and a dad and two daughters. That was supposed to be my family.
I love my friend and her husband and their baby to pieces. My weird sadness does not mean I do not love and celebrate them. It only recognizes that deep inside, I still grieve what was lost, my own little dream of a family.
I have a different version of a family now, a better one, I know it. Just, there’s a little piece of my heart that wishes and misses that long ago dream, one that I’ve learned wasn’t real, even though I hoped it was. I think this is why I’m still in therapy, and maybe this is one more step toward healing—simply recognizing the pain and loss while at the same time working for and embracing that better present and future.