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Revisiting that Rather

By now, we’d have a newborn. But we don’t.

This is what I wrote on February 29, 2008–Four years ago, today. The summer before, I lost a baby that had been due in February 2008. When I wrote the post, I focused on what the day actually looked like, rather than what the day could have been. Beatrix was 17 months old. There was no hint another pregnancy loss was a month away. There was no inkling of Archie and no premonition of Teddy. My two darling little boys would not be here now if it weren’t for the Rather of that summer and that February.

...Since Last Leap Day

“Time heals all wounds” is a cliche people trot out when they want to comfort the sorrowful. Considering the past four years, I can say the sting and sadness of that loss—and the others—has faded. I still think about those little ones, but it’s with the knowledge that astonishing blessings tumbled into place because our imagined futures were derailed. Flipping around the cliche, I’ve learned that time wounds all heels. You can’t escape life unbruised. Hurt happens but joy comes, big enough to make you leap with it, though it, letting it settle.

Today is a new Leap Day. I’ll have new Rathers ahead. Everyone will. One of the ways we can make this day into something more remarkable than it is to consider what has happened in our lives since the last February 29th. Four years isn’t an eon, but it spins enough sunrises and sunsets around us to observe the revelation of real change. As Archie and Teddy fill my days with diapers and laughter and the kind of havoc small boys generate, I’m amazed at what has unfolded since 2008. They are here. They weren’t then.

Or were they? I ended that post 4 years ago noting you couldn’t see me in the photos I took of Beatrix, but you could see me. I think you could see them, too. Because optimism and contentment house hope. They wouldn’t be here without it.

5 comments to Revisiting that Rather

  • Amy

    “Astonishing blessings tumbled into place because our imagined futures were derailed.”

    Witout a doubt, this is one of the most beautiful and thought provoking things you have ever written. It will be something I ponder and mull over in the days and weeks to come. You have such a way with words.

    May these next four years be filled with countless blessings for you and your family.

  • I just went back and looked. I was in my eleventh week of pregnancy with Ivy and very very sick. I totally hadn’t thought about that in a long time. For the record, after all these many years, your blog is still my very favorite, for so many reasons.


  • I wasn’t reading you back then, at least not regularly. So I’ll say it now: I’m sorry for your loss.

    I did have a 2 day old on the last leap day. Which is strange to me, even though we just celebrated her birthday on Monday. And I have this almost 2 year old playing beside me right now, more of a surprise than ever. I haven’t suffered loss, but I know that for all the surprise the presence of these last two kids brought us, I would be less if they weren’t here.

    totally unrelated: i love your word verification

  • You are so wise, Gretchen. Gifts and grief frequently mingle together, I think, until we can hardly tell the two apart. Life isn’t always fair or fun, but in hindsight, it would be hard to chose another path when we know the many good things on this one.

    I had one pregnancy loss, at 12 weeks. Three months later, I got pregnant with Teyla. I can’t imagine life without our little impish girl. That doesn’t mean I don’t mourn the what could have been. But somehow, in doing so, I am even more thankful for the what is.

  • I am so sorry for your loss. I am so grateful for this post, though. After 4 years of trying for a baby, my brother and sister-in-law lost their first child this past year at 35 weeks. It’s been rough. It’s good to hear from others who have come through it, who have known joy past that day.

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