A “family picture”

I couldn’t wait for Nolan to be a big brother. He is by far one of the sweetest, kindest children I have ever met.  I know he is mine, but it’s so true. He’s a helper. And he love babies. He likes to kiss their tiny toes and rock their carseats back and forth.

We did everything we could think of to prepare him for the big change. We talked to him about his role as a big brother. We bought him a big brother book which quickly became his favorite. Brett and I talked to the baby and then he started to kiss my belly and talk to the baby.  We bought him a baby doll for Christmas which he would carry around everywhere he went. (He still does.) We even had him help get the nursery ready. He helped Brett paint. He helped Brett put the crib together. He helped Brett build the bookshelf.  No one thought to ask Nolan, but he even knew the boy and girl names which we had kept secret between the three of us. He went to every single doctors appointment with Brett and I so that he too could take part in our excitement for the baby’s arrival. He was as ready as we could make him.

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Today Nolan and I were drawing a picture of a activity that he has enjoyed this summer. He asked me to draw the kids river at Botanic Gardens, one of his favorite places. So I did, and I drew him with a little shovel in his hand.  When I asked him what else he wanted me to draw, he immediately said “daddy.” So I did. When I asked him, what else? He said “mommy!” I thought we were done.  I thought then I could add the sun and a couple of clouds. I asked him if he wanted anything else. He did. My stomach started to knot up.

He asked me to draw Simon. “Simon?” I asked.  My god. I didn’t know what to do. I hadn’t anticipated THIS family picture. Never in a million years would I have thought that my baby would die. Never did I think we would be the family of 3 but really 4. On one hand I was super proud of him for wanting to include his baby brother in our family picture. On the other hand, I felt like I just got punched in the gut. He was so ready. He is a big brother. He is showing me his love for his baby brother. The one he wishes so badly was here with us. But where do I put Simon in this family picture? Is he happy or sad? Do I draw him with the family? In the sky? What do I do?

I decided to draw him just as I would have imagined him being.  Just as I thought our family would look like this summer. I decided to draw him as if we were a happy. A happy family of four. With his big brother. Just how I had imagined our family would be right before he died.

I drew what I wished was our reality.

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