Uncelebrated Milestones :: Baby Big Sister

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Very soon my youngest and last child will reach another milestone. I’ve tried to hang on to each minute of all the cute, photo-worthy moments knowing they will be the final ones.
This milestone will be much different than the ones I’ve celebrated in the past. It’s not a milestone that has been printed on a sticker to use for pictures, there isn’t a baby book that references this benchmark. I won’t take her picture and share it to all of my social media feeds. I won’t send it in our family group text like I’ve done with the others. I won’t write it in her baby book as to remember it forever and I won’t give a “Yay, Bailey” in the typical high-pitched mom voice while clapping my hands.
I won’t celebrate this milestone at all.
Instead, I will attempt to hold back the inevitable flood of tears that have haunted me as I knew this day was coming.
My last born child will soon be older than my first born. My living children will be the oldest, but not the first born. They will have a baby big sister. And if that’s hard to comprehend, imagine having to explain it to small children.
 
No matter which way I say it, I cannot make sense of it.
Just before Thanksgiving, my daughter will have lived longer than her big sister, which makes her older. My first born, Emma, unexpectedly and without warning, died at 16 months, 20 days. My twin boys surpassed Emma’s age this same time two years ago. I can remember these same feelings of confusion and sadness. This time though, it’s final. All of my children will be older than their big sister. She is our baby big sister.
No matter which way I say it, I cannot make sense of it.
I knew this day would come just like all the other milestones that have come and gone before. This one, more than any other has affected me greatly.
It’s not unusual to hear, “That’s what Emma did” or “That was Emma’s toy” around my house. But soon, those phrases might become obsolete. That’s the scariest thing about this new normal. My frame of reference has expired. I have no comparison for kids number 2, 3, and 4. While most of the time I wing it as a mom, I’ve always had some similar experience to fall back on.
If I’m being honest, and quite vulnerable, I’m afraid the memories of Emma will stop like her age did. Does it mean that since her siblings have exceeded her age, that the memories die, too? While I know the answer seems obvious, these are real concerns for a bereaved mother.
I’m certain that it was no mistake that this milestone would happen over Thanksgiving break. It’s one of those subtle, wipe-your-tears-away reminder that I have so much to be thankful for. And I do!
I have three, beautiful children for whom each I whole-heartedly prayed for. They are the ones who keep me going.
With each passing day, I’m further away from what was, dreams and goals I had for her, for our future. I hope as I continue to make new memories with my children, that the ones of Emma are still spoken, still remembered.
“For as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.” This line from the children’s book, Love You Forever doesn’t say for as long as the child is living, it says for as long as I’m living. Today I am living!
Emma, my baby you are!
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