In late 2008/early 2009, I became very aware that many of my friends were expecting. I felt like I could throw a feather and hit someone who was either about to give birth, or due sometime in 2009. It was becoming aggravating as I wanted so badly to have a child, but just could not conceive. When I found out that I was pregnant, I stopped feeling so hurt, because I had joined the ranks of the parents-to-be.
In August and September of this year, I watched as many of those children posed for precious pictures of their 'First Day of School', and I felt my heart sink. Catelyn is a December baby, so she would be eligible for 4K in 2014, but seeing all of the little 'friends' with their backpacks and smiles was so crushing.
Something about Catelyn's 4th birthday has caused a shift in my pain that I wasn't expecting. I don't really know how to describe the pain, either. I imagine it's just a continuation of the giant void I am left with in her absence.
Most of it, I think, stems from the fact that I simply can't imagine what she would be like now.
She was 3 feet tall at 20 months, so I know she'd be tall. Perhaps she'd be mistaken for a Kindergartener. Would her hair be curly or straight? Would she want to wear dresses or jeans and a shirt? What would her favorite color be? What would she like to do? Would she like having a bare Christmas Tree, with white lights, ribbon, and a star on top; or would she want a brightly colored tree with lots of baubles? Would she be excited to visit Santa? What would our Christmas rituals be? What would our birthday rituals be for her?
It is devastating to know that another Christmas, another birthday, and another new year will all come without her here.
I can still picture her tasting that first birthday cake. It was unlike most children with their first pieces of cake. There was no mashing, spreading, or stickiness, and very little mess at all. She sweetly scraped a bit of frosting off with her finger, and sat smacking her lips together as she continued to daintily pick up tiny bits of cake and neatly place them in her mouth.
I wonder what she would do at her 4th birthday.