That's right. I said number 67. That's because that's what this was for me. Today. This afternoon as I led my son into his elementary school to meet his fifth grade teacher I walked in to my 67th back to school meet and greet. My son, my little boy-who is now all grown up (or so he thinks) and will spend his final year in elementary school will be the last time I walk into an elementary school to meet a teacher for one of my babies. Not because he's the last baby I have.....because he's the last baby I have that's alive.
When your child/children die "they" tell you lots of things. They tell you it will be hard (it's impossible). They tell you there will be sadness and tears (try full blown depression and soul shattering sobs) at first (for years). They tell you the pain will get better with time and that your wounds will heal (the pain does NOT get better....ever.....the wounds are reopened with EVERY SINGLE missed milestone. We simply get better at carrying our scars with us.) But there are many more things they don't tell you.
They don't tell you that one day you will wake up and it will be what SHOULD have been their first day of kindergarten. And you will cry. You will be reduced to a heap of tears. You will lost your ability to form full sentences and to function in any real capacity as a human being. And you will-as you have so many MANY times before pick yourself up, dust yourself off and force yourself to continue....foward....to care for the children you have with you,relying on you for their care. Because you have to.
They also don't tell you that one day, you will walk into fifth grade with your child feeling all sorts of sentimental because this is your "last" baby. Your "youngest". Your "last" fifth grader meeting his last elementary teacher. Ever. Except....it's not. He is not your last baby. He is not your youngest. He shouldn't be your last fifth grader. There were two little girls born after him. They were your last babies. They are your youngest. They should be your silly, smart and rambunctious third graders. They should be your last fifth graders. But they died.
They don't tell you that this knowledge will cause your brain to count. How many first days? How many back to school nights? How many open houses, award ceremonies, concerts, science fairs, Christmas plays, winter festivals, school carnivals, book fairs, field trips and graduations have you attended? How many have you missed because your babies never got to be in them? How many years have you sent your children off to school and how many more years will you miss out on because your babies will never go?
67 . Sixty-seven back to school nights and first days of school since 1993 when I sent my very first baby off to his very first elementary school teacher. Lily will give me five more. Georgie will give me seven. And there should be two more little girls with nine more first days of school. But they aren't here.