It's hard to know how to talk about yourself once you've lost a child. You never realize how often you're asked how many kids you have until you lose one and realize the effort answering that takes. For those who have no surviving children, the question of "do you have kids?" is a painful blow as well. I think of myself of a mother of two. I think of Ethan as Wylie's big brother. I think of Wylie as Ethan's little sister. And, if one day I am fortunate enough to bring another baby home awake, they will be Ethan and Wylie's younger sibling. I will always have a son, I will always have a daughter. My parents have two grandkids.
The world won't always see that. I'll always have people -- even close friends -- who say "but you only have one." One, they mean. One to bathe, to clothe, to feed. One to stay up with and make lunches for and tend to on the playground. One to chase at the park or worry about at mommy and me classes when someone steals their ball away. But harder than juggling more than one in a physical way is spending your entire life without one.
That pain never leaves. It never takes a break.
I am a mother of two, even if the Target cashier only sees me with one.