Yesterday, at the shop, I was reaching for a box on a shelf that was a little too high. No matter how far on my tip-toes I went, no matter how far I stretched my fingers, I just managed to push the box away, not to get it any closer. Frustrated, I gave up (rather than grab the ladder), and then didn't give much thought to it.
But last night, as I lay in bed thinking about something I rarely let myself think about during the day, it came to mind again. I thought about "Cookie" ... the younger sibling for Allen, the second pregnancy for me, our baby ... that almost was, but we couldn't reach. Funny, how something so simple, so silly even, could be associated with something so meaningful in my life, but it seemed like an awfully obvious metaphor.
Most of the time, these days, my life is full and complete. Walking in the door to see Allen's face light up, hear him say, "Hi Mommy!" and run to hug me; then to have him make sure I say "Hi Daddy too," watching as I lean over Brian's chair to give him a hug and a kiss ... I think that my life couldn't be much better. And in those moments of anxiety over Brian's work situation, our insurance situation, and our overall financial uncertainty, I almost relieved that it's just the three of us right now.
Then there are those nights when I can't fall asleep, and I think of what almost was -- an exciting pregnancy, a younger sibling, a new baby to love -- that was just out of reach. It makes me sad to think of all those things that couldn't be fulfilled. It makes me sad to have lost that little one. To have her with us one moment, and then gone the next.
But then I realize that "Cookie" will always be with me, in my heart. The joy that almost was, and the pain of losing her. The ways that she has changed my life. And that's something I can reach for any time I want.