Two years ago on November 10, we had our 20-week ultrasound with Anja. That was the day we found out for certain we were having a girl and began to plan a whole life with our two little girls, our sisters. I remember walking out of the hospital holding hands with R and feeling giddy: sisters, another little girl, just as I’d secretly hoped. We went to a place we always go to and R had a beer and I ordered hot chocolate and they brought me a whole bowl full of whipped cream, and then we went to pick E up at daycare and told her, finally, that she would have a sister. ‘We can call her Balloon!’ E yelled, on hearing.
One of my best friends is pregnant now. Her baby is due March 26, so she is living out the exact same series of weeks I lived out 2 years ago. She had her 20-week ultrasound this week and found out she is having a girl. Today, we went over for brunch and brought bags and bags of baby clothes. We sat in her living room after eating and went through the bags, holding up the tiny little clothes, remembering when E wore them, or – not so long ago – M. I thought about how we never did anything like that with M. We never once sat around and celebrated the promise of him, never held up little onesies and imagined him wearing them. And I thought about the girl we were waiting for two years ago, the girl who was also supposed to wear these clothes. Two years ago, we helped the same friends move out of a different house, except I didn’t help, because I was 20 weeks pregnant. I sat on the same couch I sat on today, reading books to E and imagining how it would feel to snuggle two girls.
R showed me a picture on his computer this evening after E and M were in bed. A new baby, lying on the blanket we call ‘snail blankie,’ eyes wide, skin pink. I couldn’t tell, at first, if it was M or E. ‘Which baby is that?’ I asked R.
Of course, I knew without any doubt which baby it wasn’t.
‘Today is Remembrance Day so we should extra-specially remember Anja today, okay, Mommy?’
Okay. Yes. I remember you little Anja. I remember you, as you were two years ago at this time. Your vigorous kicks. The promise of sisters. A whole bowl of whipped cream. A baby named Balloon. Ours.