Before I had AB, I would have described myself as somewhat "indifferent" to emotions.
My mom is the sort of mom who cries at a Hallmark commercial. I'm the sort of gal you come to when you need tough love. We both have our strengths and weaknesses.
While pregnant with AB, I'd say I was rather emotionless after the shock settled and I realized I'd be birthing a child. *cue nine months of pie and donuts*
Upon having AB my world changed... or I guess the way I see the world changed. With every coo and giggle from my little sweet potato, my heart expanded. My understanding of what the "innocence of a child" meant deepened. When people told me you'd love in a way you never knew possible, I thought that was nice, but it didn't connect. I guess it's one of those things that you just have to experience for yourself.
Since having AB, I'm constantly humbled by the amount of empathy I have for situations I once lacked. When I read of a family loosing their child to cancer, I grieve for those I've never met in a way I didn't previously. Not that I didn't think the situation was sad, just that I didn't/couldn't relate perhaps. Now, I see AB in that child. I see myself in those parents. How would I react if my heart were shattered in such a way? I'm amazed by the strength they display and upset that I can't offer them more. It's truly indescribable in some ways, but it's one of the core pillars of what I've come to appreciate in an often judgmental community. We may fight over vaccines, formula, baby-carrying, and carseats, but nothing brings us closer together than the cold, devastating reminder of our worst fear: the loss of a child. Of our child.
It is also this very primal reaction that gives me hope about the parenting community. That we can all come together when one of us is heartbroken. Needs us.
Today I've cried more than I can recall in recent memory for the loss of Bernard Moon. Not because I was personally close to Bernard. I won't claim that privilege; but because I remember his parents. And now I'm a parent. And my heart is shattered for a truly beautiful family -- the sort of family that reminds you of what family is about. Did I know Bernard? Was he one of the littles ones I babysat? Or was it his brothers? Maybe he was a bun in the oven back then. I remember his name, talking about him.. or maybe of him. I remember the family room. I remember coloring. Those details seem irrelevant. I remember Bernard's father's warm demeanor and his mother's kind smile. I remember their calm and encouraging manner with their boys. I remember liking them and being sad when the Moons were moving. I guess regardless of the details, what strikes me now is the feeling the Moons left me with: warmth.
And you never know how or when you'll be reminded of those who made an impact on you... whether you do or don't recognize the depth of that impact until it hits you like a punch in the stomach. I was reminded of that last night, when I read Bernard's name. AB was sick last night and I remember selfishly being happy when she woke up crying and wanted to come in bed with us. AB isn't snuggly. She never snuggles with me. But she did last night because she's sick. And I soaked it up. Soaked up the day's events-- the extreme high of the healthy delivery of a friend's baby girl, and the devastating loss of a neighbor's son... his whole life ahead of him.
Today I'm sad for the future Bernard could have had. For his family's loss. For the stark reminder once again, that life is not guaranteed. A family's life will never be the same again. They'll grieve, and heal with time, but they won't be the same again. Their joys will suffer that tinge of loss.
I will hug AB tightly. I will remember our time is precious. Once again, I'll be sobered by perspective.