I dream that your eyes will be big and dark around the edges, your cheeks dimpled, your hair curly. And I'll feel your laugh all the way down my spine. You've got two little bottom teeth and a kid belly. With cherry popsicle-sticky all down your shirt, your neck creases gummed up with a mix of lint and red goo. Fat little fingers that get stuck in my hair when you kiss me. Spit all over my cheek. You'll call me Mama.

And I'll thank you for coming back. And in time, maybe I'll tell you about today, about how I knew your face even though you didn't have one yet, and how I didn't cry when they took you away, because they'll never really take you away. About the drive home, alone, along the curves of Balboa Park, through the eucalyptus trees, how every woman on the street seemed to be pregnant but me. How I was all hollowed out like a jack-o'-lantern.

My little baby angel, my wink from God, if you come back to me, I'll be ready next time. I won't be white-knuckled teeth-clenched Mama anymore.

I'll sway when I walk and be breezy and drink lots of water and take naps and hum to myself. I'll know right away, and I'll have an air of wisdom about me, a beautiful secret. I'll talk to you, sometimes right out loud, and we'll catch up on time lost. How you've been, where you've been.

In the meantime, please don't pick a new Mommy.
And if you have to, if I'm taking too long to learn to sway and hum the right way, make sure she's got a sweet face, a good smile, a silly nature. Make sure she doesn't feed you Lunchables or make you color inside the lines. Make sure she'll light up when you walk in the room.

I love you, and I'm sorry that we got sick together. I'm proud that I got to be a part of you.


I know what you and your sister look like, because I can see your spiritual forms. You would have been my first, my eldest with hair that flamed bright crimson, like the autumn leaves.
You carry with you a bubblegum pink, or is it hot pink, blanket, and you're almost always sucking your thumb. unless you're running like mad through the apartment, chasing the cat that passed away, the kitty that you loved, and was your own.
Your sister would have been blond, with a blue dress and a purple blanket, and big china blue eyes the kind that momma couldn't have said "no" to. You play with your sister. You love her because you know her.
I would have been the mother who would have gritted her teeth, found a job, and gone to school. I'd have looked at adversity and spit in its eye. It would have been hard, but I'd have said "I will do this, for my daughters." I would not have given you any reason not to love me. I'd not have been the mother who gave you nutrasweet at birth. You'd have sugar, and natural things, and I'd have been careful. But you'd be allowed to run and play and get sick, but I'd not have let you get seriously hurt. There's a fine line between letting a child experience life and abuse, and I'd not have crossed that line.
You'd have had fresh bread, and fruits and vegies. I'd have loved you when I couldn't love myself. I'd have taught you to help each other and love one another.
I'd have taken you to the beach, and let you walk in the sand, but I would have had to have you on a baby leash so I wouldn't lose you. The ocean is mighty big. I'd have let us eat sandwiches sitting in the sand, and sleep under the stars. I'd have let you stay up to see what stars look like over the water, and you could see the moon and all Her glory. You would know from where shells come from, and feel digger clams burrow in a pile of moist sand I put in your hand. I'd carry you through a decommissioned aircraft carrier, letting you see all the neat things there. We'd experience life together, if you were here. I'd not feel so empty. I'd still not be searching.
I long to hold and rock you in my arms. I sit in a rocking chair and my arms fold up as though I'm holding a child. I hold a child and I want to cry. Sometimes I do cry because it isn't you. I've knitted you and your sister's blankets and put them away. When you come back, they'll be waiting for you. So will your stuffed bears. You can have Mommy's. I promise. Mommy's sorry for what Grandpa did to you.
Please come by often. It helps. I miss you both.

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