Carrying laundry, rushing too and fro, I walked past my stairs and from the corner of my eye I caught the glimpse. I froze and stared.
Perfectly chubby yet somehow impossibly long toddler legs dangled off a stair. Round belly, sweet fingers wrapped around a toy, eyes the color of dark chocolate, wispy brown hair framing her face. She giggled as I passed, then paused with a "Mom?" when she realized I was staring.
Miss Tiny is Thirteen months.
The same age SHE was when she left. I feel it in my bones. The grief that seeps into my soul. The ache that is never quite abated.
Two do not replace the one. I love the two fully and completely, but one is still absent. Most days now I feel the joy of the memories and the appreciate of the gift of time together but in that moment, in that glimpse I remember what I lost. Who I lost.
The enormity and depth of the space in our family that was once her.
It's the familiar weight of two legs wrapped around my hip as I fill a bottle. The snuggle into my shoulder when a sleepy baby wants to rest. A fist that still can be completely wrapped in my grasp. The perfect acceptance in the eyes of a baby who loves you most.
I don't know if I want to wish the reminders away or wish them to stay.