It’s hard to believe that we should have a 6 month old at home. Not a day goes by that I don’t imagine what Brady would be like, and what milestones he would be hitting. I googled “3 month milestones” (with Brady being a micro-preemie, his adjusted age would be 3 months) and laughed when I saw that one of them was “supports upper body with arms while lying on stomach”. Our 4 day old micro-preemie did that… well, for at least a couple of seconds. Those other babies must be some serious slackers. (You can read that story here if you missed it) Maybe adjusted age wouldn’t have been much of a factor with our little badass. That’s just one of the many “maybes” that I’ll never be able to answer.
There are so many other questions. I wonder what kind of mom I’d be. Would I be writing down his every move in his baby book? Would I be too busy for that bullshit and just be soaking up every moment I had with our tough little man? Would I be allowing people to come over for visits or would I still have the little guy on lockdown to prevent illness? (Let’s be serious, it would the latter on that one. I know I would have been fiercely protective after a long NICU stay.)
Brady is so present in my thoughts, every day. He’s always on my mind and never slips far from being front and center. I’ve had a new realization lately though. I’m starting to feel his absence more and more. Anything I do now, I imagine what it would be like if Brady was there. I picture him in my arms, in that moment, bringing his absence to the forefront of my mind.
Standing in our driveway, watching fireworks on the 4th of July, I became acutely aware of how amazing it would have been to introduce Brady to his first fireworks show. I imagined every detail. A cute (and probably mildly inappropriate) 4th of July onesie he’d be dressed in. Think “Let’s Get Star-Spangled Hammered” or something along those lines. How I would have bought him noise-canceling earphones to wear so he wouldn’t have been frightened by the loud noises (picture Michael Phelps’ baby at the Olympics). Making Jeff take artsy photos so I could post them on Instagram. They probably would have been total fails and I would have posted them anyways.
It goes without saying that having him in my arms in any of these moments would make it infinitely more sweet. Each beautiful moment in my life is met with a heaviness from that one missing piece. I wish he was here so intensely.
I find my mind drifting often. Thinking back to the memories I have of Brady and trying to remember every detail. My latest obsession is Brady’s hands. I find myself staring at his hands in photos, studying every tiny line and detail. Every little bit of perfection.
I still spend a good portion of time in disbelief. I can’t believe that this is my life and our story. It’s hard to believe that I won’t be able to see my little man again in this life. That our life will be full of secondary losses, things we didn’t get to see Brady do and achieve. It’s the cruelest twist that life could’ve thrown our way. We have to live with a piece missing from our hearts for the rest of our lives.
I’m still visiting Brady on my way to work each day. Each day, before I leave, I tell him “I miss you every second of every day.” That will never change. I will never stop missing him or wondering what would have been.