with an empty wish

I’ve been watching this baby each morning and the two of us have found a rhythm now. It’s been years since my children were babies but I remember now how hard it was to just have dinner made and be showered by 5:30 each evening. I remember again what it’s like to take care of a baby: the lullaby and guess of it.

Some moments I think I should be washing the dishes but instead I jostle her against my chest and sing into the top of her head while we both stare out the window. Some moments we both laugh over the unpredictability of her feet. Some moments she cries and god knows why but what matters most now is how to make her coo again.

I have never stopped wanting the daughter I didn’t keep. And no matter how much I know it isn’t right for me to have another child, this yearning will be a part of me always, whether I”m holding a baby or writing or running or washing dishes.

For fourteen years now I’ve been trying to live with an empty wish.

In a few weeks, my sons will turn six and eight. Between the two of them, I will have fourteen years of parenting. I know that is just a mathematical moment in time, that my daughter’s age and my sons’ ages add up to the same, but it feels significant to me. It feels like the right time to learn how to heal as best as I can. I think the not drinking is helping. I think being and feeling loved is helping. I think I am going to figure out how to live this way at long last: with an empty wish but a fulfilling life.

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