When your babies grow into kids and you look back on their baby days, you remember a lot of little snapshots in your brain, many of them are of day to day life and so many of them are of their firsts. Their first smile, their first step, their first taste of food. How they reacted to peas and carrots or how they stuck their tongue out when they first figured out how to pull up to stand. With Matthew, we didn’t get many of those moments. We had his first bottle, his first trip home, his cooing and his first Labor Day, but none of the big ones. When I look back, some of my most favorite times with him are when we were just cuddling and playing on the bed. I tried so hard to get a smile out of him, I sang, I played, I was silly. And it never happened.
We have plenty of pictures of Matthew. Over 600 in the span of his 70 days. But, not all great. And really, not close to enough to satisfy me.
Having Samantha here almost makes me miss him more. It is like a constant reminder of exactly what we missed out on, the holidays, the milestones, the memories, the growth. All of it. I can tell you how grateful I am for the time we had together until I’m blue in the face or my fingers bleed from typing it, but it doesn’t change how disappointed and saddened I am that we didn’t have more time. Saddened that we didn’t get to make more memories, take more pictures or share the joy of more holidays.
When Samantha was a bit smaller, I could hug her tight and remember exactly what it felt like to hug Matthew. But now that she weighs in a good 3 pounds more than he ever did, I have to go back to relying on my memories.
While nothing can ever take away the hurt of losing him or fill the gaping hole he made when he left, I am absolutely determined not to forget the lessons we learned from his short life. I don’t want to take any of it for granted, I want to have endless memories of us all cuddling, laughing and playing, I want to enjoy each and every holiday with my family, I want to have quality time with the people that truly love us, I want to be able to purchase a Baby’s 1st bib for every holiday and have a real live baby at home to wear it.
We have been blessed to have Samantha here with us for her first Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s so far. Next up is Valentine’s Day, and boy does Kaitlyn have a fun day planned for us. She began planning a couple weeks ago when our Family Fun magazine came in the mail (thanks again Mary!), she picked out all the crafts she wants to do, the appetizers she wants (hello heart shaped hot dogs) and what we can have for dinner. The only kink in the road is that she has to have her cavity (her first L ) filled that afternoon after school, but we’ll still be home in time to beat Daddy, and to get the appetizers ready and the cupcakes in the oven so we can decorate them while our personal pizza’s cook. Valentine’s Day is all about love, and what better way to spend it than making memories with the ones you love and celebrating Samantha’s 1st at home with quality time. While Matthew may not be with us in person, he is always in our hearts and he has a part in every decision we make. He is forever loved.