Yesterday, in Starbucks, I spotted a mother and her three young daughters, lined up in a row of window seats, sipping cool drinks and reading library books and filling out pages in what I assumed to be some sort of summer enrichment workbooks. Knowing another baby girl is on her way to our family, I watched them, watched the sisters in their sundresses squirm and occasionally squabble, watched the mother in her cute sandals manage them all calmly. I smiled, imagining my future as a mother of daughters, beginning to dream of our own similarly organized and educational adventures.
And then, when the mother turned to help the oldest with her workbook, I watched the youngest two girls talking, and it hit me suddenly that there were three. Three daughters: living, laughing, and interacting in a way that my three girls never will.
I watched the middle daughter, noted her dark bob and white sandals, and thought of Avaleen, wondered what she would have been like, if she would have made her sisters laugh or perhaps been the one to calm them with her steadiness.
This pregnancy has eased some of my griefs, but it hasn't changed these facts: there will always be one daughter missing, and there will always be one daughter missed.