We are painting fingernails. Hope has chosen a bright blue, one no one has used in months.
I hesitate, but only for a second, before saying, This reminds me of when we all painted our nails this blue for Calvin's memorial.
Yeah. I was thinking that too, Hope comments, her eyes watching every stroke on her nails.
Paige scoots in closer. Did I wear that color too?
Yes, honey. We all had our nails painted this color for Calvin's memorial.
What's a memorial? Paige asks, and I realize that even though she knows Calvin died, her memories of last year have the haziness of a three-year-old, and unless we talk about it, she probably won't remember.
I explain as best I can, that the memorial was a way to remember and say goodbye to Calvin, that our immediate families were there, we were in the little chapel at our church, the priest said some nice words, and we all were crying.
I didn't cry. Hope announces. I was bored.
Yes, Hope. I remember that, too.
Did I cry? Paige looks up at me, her hands cradling her face.
Some. I think that seeing everyone else so sad made you feel pretty sad too.
* * *
I am closing up the last of the polish, lining them up to be put away. Hope is waiting for her nails to dry and Paige walks in, her hands clasped together, her eyes searching mine.
Mommy? I miss Baby Calvin.
I pull Paige into my lap and squeeze her. Me too, baby.
I wish we had two babies.
She sighs and rubs my belly. This baby and Baby Cal.
I wish we had two babies, too.
Baby Calvin would be first. Then this baby. She declares firmly.
Yes. I confirm. Baby Calvin came first, then this baby.
She pushes on my belly button. I hope this baby doesn't die.
I hope this baby doesn't die too.
But Calvin was sick. Hope interjects with authority. This baby isn't sick.
You're right. So far she's been healthy, but we never know what might happen. But she is growing bigger and stronger, so hopefully we will get to bring her home. I don't want to upset them, but I also don't want to make a promise that gets broken, so I try to encourage hope without completely denying the possibility that we could lose her too.
* * *
When I am in bed, I think back to our conversations. I am glad that I brought up Calvin's name. I only wish I had reminded Paige that Calvin is always with us. That even though we miss him and wish he was here, he is always with us in our memories and in our hearts.
* * *
I have been feeling especially emotional and delicate lately. I think it is perhaps because this weekend marked the point in pregnancy that we found out Calvin had died and delivered him. Twenty-eight weeks and five days.
For the last four days or so, I have been wearing blue bracelets. I have several, collected throughout the years from various places and people. They are significant to my loss of Calvin only because just now I have decided to wear a blue bracelet (or two) as a way to remind me that I am a mother to a son, not just daughters.
(Even though I already know this. Even though I have his footprints tattooed on the inside of my wrist. The blue makes me feel happier about having a son. Not just the sadness of losing my son.)
I also light his candle most evenings. The smell is comforting, whether I am sitting and thinking about him, or just going about my usual evening routine. It is the candle we picked out to light on his due date, the smell having no similarity to the actual smells from the day of his delivery, but the scent has become "Calvin" to me. And I find it reassuring, that sweet blueberry aroma, wrapping around me like a cozy blanket.
* * *
I am sad about so many things surrounding losing Calvin. But I also want to feel the joy of having him with us, of remembering him. I guess, for now anyway, adding a little blue to my days makes that feel like a real possibility.